Dustin Johnson did not look like the former number one player in the world in Sunday’s TaylorMade Driving Relief skins game.
In the interviews prior to Sunday’s TaylorMade Driving Relief skins match, Dustin Johnson admitted that he had not played much golf since the PGA Tour took a hiatus in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Sunday, Johnson proved that he had been telling the truth in the pre-match interviews. The former world number one looked like he had not played in quite some time during the match.
The signs of rust were there all day for Johnson. He struggled all day on the tough greens at Seminole Golf Club, never quite grasping the speed of the surfaces. The former world number one also had issues with his short game. There were chips that came up short and chips that went long. There were distance issues that, had Johnson been in mid-season form, never would have happened.
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Things started out fairly well for Johnson. He actually got his team on the board on the third hole, a par five. Johnson was greenside in two and his sand shot was beautiful, probably his best overall shot of the day, coming to rest about a foot from the cup. His birdie putt was conceded, giving Johnson and McIlroy three skins.
From there, it would be a struggle for Johnson. His drive on number four found a fairway bunker. His tee shot on five hit the green, then trickled off. On six, his drive found the waste area and on seven, Johnson hit his drive in the water.
It didn’t get much better from there. On nine, DJ hit a beautiful drive, but his second shot hit the green, then rolled off the back. On the 10th hole, DJ hit the middle of the fairway, then was the closest to the pin out of the foursome. However, he missed his putt to the left, unable to make his second birdie of the day.
Johnson would make just one more birdie, on the par-5 14th hole. However, all four players made birdie there, so DJ’s effort was for naught.
If the scores had played out, Johnson would have shot at least a 76 on this day, a far cry from the DJ that we are accustomed to seeing in PGA Tour events.
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The good news for DJ is that, having seen himself in competition with some of the best players in the world, he knows where he needs to improve. The time for him to do that is now, with the tour ready to return in less than a month.
The best news of the day for Johnson was that his partner was the world’s top-ranked player, who carried the team to an 11-7 victory in skins won. But DJ won’t have that luxury when the tour returns, so he’s got a few things to get in order before June 11.