Thirty-two year-old Dustin Johnson will tee it up in the 117th U.S. Open at the Erin Hills Golf Course on Thursday looking to do something that hasn’t been done since 1989.
That was the year that Curtis Strange followed up his 1988 U.S. Open victory at “The Country Club” in Brookline, Mass with a second U.S. Open title at Oak Hill. Strange’s one shot win over Chip Beck, Mark McCumber and Ian Woosnam saw him become the first back-to-back winner of the USGA’s premier event since the great Ben Hogan accomplished the feat in the 1950/1951 seasons.
In fact, Strange and Hogan were two of only five players who were able to win this event that began in 1895, in consecutive years. Ralph Gudahl won in 1937 and 1938, Bobby Jones 1929/1930.
Only Willie Anderson pulled off the three-peat back in the early days before the world was full of great players. 1903/1904/1905.
If Dustin Johnson is going to follow in these huge golf shoes, he will need to bring his PGA Tour leading 312 yard driving average to the second longest course in U.S. Open history, as well as improve on his 58% Driving Accuracy.
He is 160th on TOUR in that measurable.
At 7693 yards, Erin Hills is only slightly shorter than Chambers Bay in 2015.
Dustin Johnson was the hottest player on the planet before he suffered a fall in his apartment rental at the Masters and had to withdraw before he was able hit his first shot.
His 2016 assault on the record books started at the U.S. Open where he overcame another bungling by the USGA at Oakmont Country Club. He was able to sustain a two-stroke penalty(the aforementioned bungling) to beat Jim Furyk, Shane Lowery and Scott Piercy by three shots.
He followed his first major championship with wins in July and September at the WGC Bridgestone Invitational and BMW Championship before winning three times in his first three 2017 outings.
Before missing the cut at the Memorial two weeks ago, Dustin had not finished any tournament this year out of the top 15. In his first start after the back injury, he finished T2 at the Wells Fargo Championship with T12 and T13 at the Players and Byron Nelson respectfully.
Even after the missed time, he holds on to the number one rankings in both, the Official World Golf Rankings(OWGR) and the FedEx Cup.
If anyone has the demeanor and game to overcome what appears to be another brutal test for players at Erin Hills, it’s Dustin Johnson.
The actions begins at 11 am(Eastern) on Fox!