A U.S. Open is never easy, and the challenge this week is largely up around and on the "turtleback" Donald Ross designed greens at Pinehurst No. 2. A good short game was hailed as the most important aspect of a player's arsenal at this Open, with chipping and wedge shots at a premium as approaches fall and roll off those greens and into collection areas.
That didn't bode well for the ridiculously talented Dustin Johnson, who should be America's top young player and challenged to the wire on Sunday at multiple majors in the past. Johnson can bomb it off the tee, is pretty solid with his irons, and doesn't have too bad a putting stroke. But he's pretty shaky with wedges in his hand, pulling off delicate shots around the green. He should be a regular on the first page of the leaderboard at majors, and should have a couple major wins in the future, but this week was might be tough.
But so far, it's DJ's putting stroke, and not short game, that's been so ghastly and prevented a major charge at runaway leader Martin Kaymer. He's just not looked comfortable, making all manner of putting strokes that ESPN's Paul Azinger even called "ugly" and "gross." None was worse than this little bunny at the par-3 6th, where Johnson ... did something -- slapped at it? I don't know, it was just bad.
He would make the comebacker, which was actually longer than that putt, for a bogey. And yet, Johnson is somehow in a tie for second place, but that's all relative considering that the one guy in front of him is ahead by eight shots.
One of the worst putting strokes I’ve ever seen in my life by a pro from Dustin Johnson right there. So so so so bad. Wow.— Shane Bacon (@shanebacon) June 13, 2014
He hit another shaky putt on the 8th green, just tentatively jabbing a birdie try right before Azinger said "You get the feeling that he needs to hit a good one here so he can get a decent night's sleep."
The driving and ball-striking are there right now for Johnson, keeping him under par and in the red for the week. But that putting is one reason why he's nowhere close to Kaymer as the morning draw wraps up on Friday.