Dustin Johnson launches drives from home plate
For most players, the Wednesday before a major offers one last opportunity to complete preparation for the tournament. Even so, players employ different strategies. Some play and practice hard while others, such as Phil Mickelson who played at San Francisco GC instead of Olympic Club on Wednesday, seek to get away from it all. For Dustin Johnson, it meant taking a few cuts at AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants.
Not with a bat, however. As part of a promotion by TaylorMade-adidas, Johnson's equipment sponsor, DJ was to hit tee shots using his R11S driver from home plate, over the right field wall and into McCovey Cove, the body of water behind right field. Only some 150 yards, the task of reaching the water was no major feat. Still, Johnson had several members of the hometown Giants and visiting Houston Astros mesmerized with his powerful blasts, one which measured 344 yards.
After the exhibition (which included similar attempts by former major leaguer J.T. Snow and Giants starting pitcher Matt Cain, the latter showing plenty of game with a trio of impressive drives), Johnson fielded questions in the Giants dugout, including one about why he was doing something such as this on the eve of a major.
"I played baseball in high school and I thought it would be pretty fun," said Johnson. "It's the first time I've been to the stadium and not everybody gets to see it like this. I have an afternoon tee time tomorrow so it's no big deal. Plus if you're doing a lot of work on Wednesday you're really not prepared."
Johnson, who threw out the ceremonial first pitch (bouncing the ball short of the plate; check out the video, below), can only hope his prep at AT&T Park brings the same results as it did for Cain, who went on to pitch a perfect game against the Astros.
--E. Michael Johnson