Highlights on Off The Ball

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Highlights on Off The Ball


What is Dustin Johnson really like? | His coach tells Golf Weekly

Dustin Johnson made Masters history at Augusta National last weekend, becoming the first player e...


What is Dustin Johnson really like? | His coach tells Golf Weekly

Dustin Johnson made Masters history at Augusta National last weekend, becoming the first player ever to reach 20-under par – the score he eventually finished on to win his first green jacket.

But who really is Dustin Johnson, the golfer who claimed prior to last week that his favourite thing about the Masters was the sandwiches?

To give an insight into the now two-time major winner, Golf Weekly were joined this week by Johnson's coach Claude Harmon III.

Harmon, whose father, Butch, previously coached both Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson to victory at Augusta, detailed how the weekend was a dream for both himself and the world number one golfer.

"I think every golfer wants to be Masters champion and DJ's always wanted that," Harmon told Joe, Nathan and Fionn on the podcast.

"If you're a golfer, to win your first Masters and have Tiger Woods put the jacket on you, you could never dream of something like that happening, so it was pretty cool."

Johnson's path to Masters win

It wasn't always an easy path for Johnson to Masters victory, though.

During the summer of 2014, Johnson took a leave of absence from the PGA Tour due to personal issues, while at the 2015 US Open, he fumbled the opportunity to win a first major championship by three-putting on the final round 18th.

However, as far as golf is concerned, those issues appear to have been sufficiently eradicated enough to make 2020, Johnson's best year on the course.

Harmon explained that despite the perceptions people may have, it's his attitude and mindset that makes the 36-year-old so strong right now.

"Everybody that doesn't know DJ thinks he's not bright and aloof and doesn't really care. None of that is actually true," Harmon noted.

"If you look at how he handles himself on the golf course, he is the living embodiment of what every sports psychologist will tell you.

"'Play one shot at a time, the only thing you can control is the shot you're hitting right now.' And he does a great job of that."

Even when he plays a bad round, Johnson doesn't get bogged down on his mistakes.

Instead, Harmon explained, Johnson insists there are positives to take, even if it didn't look that way for everyone else.

"He'll play bad, he'll shoot over par 73, 74 and he'll come off the golf course and I'll see him and I'll say, 'Do you want to hit some balls?'

"And he'll say, 'No, I didn't really hit it that bad today.'

"And AJ, his brother [and caddie], is looking at me whispering: 'Dude, it was bad, so bad today.'

"But in DJ's mind, he never thinks he's lost it. He never has this panic mode that I think a lot of golfers have when they play bad."

Johnson's 'great' mind

Equipped with that positive thought process, Harmon made the point that Johnson had matured into one of golf's great minds.

"I think, other than maybe Jack [Nicklaus] and Tiger [Woods], he's got the greatest golf mind in the game – and maybe in the game's history," Harmon added.

"He just has this ability to not have any sort of rearview mirror. He just doesn't seem to let this stuff bother him.

"He's made mistakes, obviously, in tournaments and major championships. He's had crazy stuff happen to him, and he's done some crazy stuff to himself but I've been saying this for years: if you could design a golfer, you would design Dustin Johnson.

"He's a freak athlete. He can do things other people can't, very similar to what Tiger was like when Tiger was in his heyday, very similar to what Rory's like, and some of the things he can do."

"I said Sunday after the round if we had of told everybody after the night of Chamber's Bay [the 2015 US Open] when he triple putt the 18th that he would win all the tournaments that he did, win the Fedex and do all this stuff.

"Everybody would say, 'I just don't believe it, the scar tissue is too big.'"

However, as the green jacket shows, Johnson himself certainly did believe it.

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Augusta Augusta National Claude Harmon Iii Dustin Johnson Golf Weekly Jack Nicklaus The Masters Tiger Woods