Dustin Johnson is starting to demonstrate that he is the dominant player in golf, again. His 8 stroke win last weekend at the Sentry Tournament of Champions (and 65 on the last day) was a marvel. Everyone is talking about his near albatross on the 430-yard par-4 12th hole Sunday because of the power and accuracy he is able to generate. Without question, Johnson’s power offers him a distinct advantage over the rest of the field. However, I am not convinced that power is really why he won.
“On this course it’s tough, the way the wind was blowing today. He knocks it to a foot on 12 for eagle, and I’m having to lay up to 130 yards.”
– Brian Harman on trying to keep up with Johnson (PGATour.com)
I respect that Dustin Johnson has power and that does offer an advantage on most holes, but he still has to put the ball in the hole. They marvel at his long game, but I would contest that Dustin Johnson’s success is tied to his short game!
If you look at his PGA Tour Stats, his putting (except for last year) was always very good. He seemed to have a soft touch to match is power. And looking back through the years, he has really improved his percentages on the green.
The real difference in the past 3 years is his the improvement in his scrambling percentage. In the +60% range, if he misses the green he demonstrates a great ability to get up and down for par. His GIR has not change over the past 5 years, so improving his scramble percentage appears to be the real game changer for Johnson.
It is too early to tell if Dustin Johnson is going to win 3 tournaments again this year, but all indications suggest he will. If he does, many pundits will talk about his power as the deciding factor. I would have to disagree with them, if Johnson continues to dominate, I think it will be because of his short game!
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!