The PGA went through a year of changes in 2010, especially considering someone who was not named Tiger Woods finished at the top of the PGA money list. However other changes also occurred. Several younger players took advantage of the “year without Tiger” and made their own names for themselves. But none of them may have done it quite like budding PGA star Dustin Johnson.
Dustin Hunter Johnson was born on June 22, 1984 in Columbia, SC. Young Dustin took to the sport of golf early on, and after graduating from high, Coastal Carolina University came calling, and Johnson excelled at the sport during his collegiate career.
After winning the Northeast Amateur and participating on the Walker Cup team in 2007, Johnson turned professional, and earned his PGA Tour card by placing in a tie for 14 at the PGA Qualifying School tournament for the 2008 season.
It didn’t take long for young Dustin Johnson to make an impression on the PGA Tour. He posted his first victory at the Turning Stone Resort Championship in October of that year, and the following year he won the prestigious AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-AM in a rain-shortened 54-hole event by four strokes over Canadian golfer Mike Weir.
Johnson continued to play solid golf in 2009, placing 15th on the PGA Tour money list, but the 2010 season would prove to be Johnson’s coming out party.
Dustin Johnson successfully defended his AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-AM championship, with a birdie at the 72nd and final hole to defeat former British Open champ David Duval by one stroke.
At the U.S. Open in June, also at Pebble Beach, Johnson was on fire through the first three rounds, taking a three-shot lead into the final round over Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell.
However, the Sunday round was disastrous for Johnson, who lost six shots to par on holes 2-4 and ended with a final round 82 to finish in a disappointing tie for eighth.
Johnson brushed off the final round jitters at the U.S. Open and was again leading a major, this time at the PGA Championship. Entering the final hole, Johnson had a one-stroke lead. His tee shot however went astray, and was forced to take his second shot off of what appeared to be a hard-packed surface. Johnson took a practice swing, grounded his club, then hit his approach shot. He went on to bogey the final, which would have put him into a playoff with German golfer Martin Kaymer and Bubba Watson.
However, Johnson was assessed a two-stroke penalty, because the hard surface he hit his approach shot from qualified as a bunker, and he illegally grounded his club in the bunker. Kaymer would go on to defeat Watson in the playoff for the PGA championship.
Many golfers at this point would have been flustered beyond belief. But not 26-year-old Dustin Johnson. He broke his string of bad luck with a victory at the BMW Championship in September, capturing the third leg of the FedEx Cup and staying in contention for the FedEx Cup championship eventually won by Jim Furyk.
Johnson ended the year finishing fourth on the PGA Tour money list, and also participated on the U.S. Ryder Cup team that eventually lost to the European team at Celtic Manor Resort in Wales.
Dustin Johnson’s resiliency and ability to bounce back are clearly indicators of what lies ahead for the young PGA star. The 2011 PGA season may feature the comeback of Tiger Woods, and other stars will surely be poised to step up, but Johnson may well be the man to watch on Tour for several years to come.