We might be in the middle of what will be known as the summer of DJ. Over the past two years, we've seen transcendent talents own an entire season with a couple months of dominant play. The Summer of Rory gave way to the Spring of Spieth, and now another player known for his immeasurable and not fully realized talent may be taking over during the most condensed schedule these players will ever go through.
Dustin Johnson backed up his first major championship win two weeks ago with his third WGC title, taking the Bridgestone Invitational from Jason Day with an all-world Sunday 66. That 4-under round was good enough to edge Scott Piercy by a shot and Day, who was up on DJ by three at the start of the round, by three.
Johnson has always had as much talent as anyone in the game and has put up extremely impressive numbers over his career. But you always felt like he was still leaving a lot on the table given his ability. That first major will probably not "open the floodgates" -- DJ probably doesn't care or operate like that, but it's a narrative you'll get over the next month with two more majors and the Olympics in a manic sprint through the second half of the summer.
In that same vein, that U.S. Open win two weeks ago probably didn't impact him or his approach much this week. Sunday was just trademark DJ stuff -- bombing away, strong wedge game, and then getting some putts to fall to capitalize on those two big aforementioned advantages. DJ went out in 33, made the turn, and then didn't make a mistake until the last hole of the tournament. A birdie on the 17th would end up being the difference between he and Piercy, as DJ poured one in from 16 feet to send a roar through Firestone.
He drives for show AND putts for dough.— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) July 3, 2016
That's tough to beat. https://t.co/HiJgFV86Os
DJ is not a bad putter, by any measure. He's above average. It's just that nothing in his game compares to watching him rip it off the tee, so somehow the other parts are framed as "weaknesses." It's facile and inaccurate and a little too common. In addition to several clutch birdie putts on Sunday, DJ was damn near perfect from inside 10 feet all week -- the distances where a weak putter is supposed to "choke."
.@DJohnsonPGA: 29-for-30 on putts inside 10 feet over final 2 rounds— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGC) July 3, 2016
The world No. 1 aided DJ's back-to-back quest, to say the least. Day threw up on himself on the back nine, which is completely out of line with everything we've seen from him this season. It got especially ugly on the par-5 16th, a monster 667-yard hole where Day should have a bit of an advantage thanks to the driver. But the Aussie instead pulled a 3-wood, a club he said back at The Players was the one in the bag with which he was "uncomfortable."
Day yanked the 3-wood way left, punched through a thick pine tree across the fairway, and then ran one into the water in front of the green. The end result was a double bogey, which is an inexcusable score for a player with Day's length on any par-5, even one of the longest on Tour.
DJ had already made his move and might have won it even without that Day mess, but that made it academic in the final 20 minutes at Firestone.
Now DJ heads to Troon in two weeks for The Open, and then Baltusrol for the PGA Championship two weeks after that. He was already one of the three or four elite talents in the world, and it's, uh, not a bad time to be on a hot streak and closing at the game's biggest events.
Here are your final results from Akron:
|Place||Player||Score||Round 1||Round 2||Round 3||Round 4||Total|
|T36||Billy Hurley III||6||69||75||69||73||286|