After a second straight disappointing weekend at a major, the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational couldn't have come at a better time for Dustin Johnson. It's taking place at one of his favorite courses, TPC Southwind, former host of the FedEx St. Jude Classic, which Johnson won in 2018 and 2012 and finished fifth and T-10 on two separate occasions. This week presents a great opportunity for the former World No. 1 to get back to his winning ways. (He's now on a FULL five-month drought—gasp!)
Unfortunately, Johnson's quest for a sixth career WGC victory got off to an ominous start in Memphis on Thursday. Well, actually, he birdied the par-4 10th, his opening hole of the day, but two holes later he ran into some big trouble. After hitting his approach shot at the 12th about 30 feet right of the hole, Johnson left the ensuing birdie putt four feet short, setting up a testy par putt. He walked off the green with double bogey. Watch if you dare:
Yikes. Should have labeled that NSFW. In a matter of seconds Johnson went from one under to one over, and it's only gotten worse from there. At the par-3 14th, Johnson missed a seven-footer for par to fall to two over, then missed another seven-footer for par at the 15th to drop to three over. Hope you didn't bet on him this week (crawls in a hole and hides).
Despite ranking 29th on tour in strokes gained/putting, it feels like Johnson's flatstick woes have been the story of his season, at least in the last two majors. It was rough at Pebble Beach specifically, where Johnson put on a ball-striking show and finished 14 shots back of Gary Woodland because he simply could not make a putt. Of the 79 players who made the cut that week, Johnson ranked 78th in strokes gained/putting. It wasn't much better at the Open Championship, though we don't know where Johnson ranked because the Open doesn't keep strokes-gained statistics. What we do know is that when he does get it going, he's a hard man to beat. Speaking of, he did make a 12-footer for birdie after two bogeys on Thursday. Johnson doesn't seem like the type of guy to let a short miss linger.