It is the dream scenario for any golfer, anywhere, anytime…and perhaps the biggest nightmare finish as well.
Sunday afternoon down at the spectacular, yet treacherous Chambers Bay, Dustin Johnson played the 602 yard, par 5 eighteenth hole like few on this planet can. Johnson hit his drive nearly 400 yards, leaving 216 to the hole. His second shot to the duplicitous green needed just a five iron for the powerful South Carolinian, and he delivered a symphonic five that towered over the thousands that gathered at the green and the millions watching on the television. The ball came to rest a mere 10 feet from the cup. Victory was ten feet away.
In the scoring tent, Jordan Spieth awaited his fate. In the group before Johnson’s, Speith missed his 20 foot eagle putt and tapped in for birdie to take a one stroke lead.
Johnson would line up his putt, and as he did you saw his family gathering around the green. His brother was one the bag as his caddy. His fiancée Paulina Gretzky and her family stood nearby, including the Great One, Wayne Gretzky. It wasn’t 99’s moment, it was DJ’s.
Johnson’s putt trundled towards the cup and ever so gently kissed the edge, before sliding past and four feet away. Now Johnson was four feet away from making a putt and securing the first US Open playoff in eight years…and in the US Open, the playoff is 18 holes, the next day.
As Johnson leaned over his putt for the tie, if you were flashing back to earlier in the day, he missed about three of these putts from just four feet or less away.
Make it four…Jordan Spieth won the US Open, but Dustin Johnson also lost it.
Now will determine the true test of Johnson’s character…will he bounce back or fade to the abyss.
Only time will tell.