There’s much more to the World No. 1 than meets the eye ‚Äď especially when it comes to his golf equipment, writes James Savage
Dustin Johnson may seem like he hasn‚Äôt a care in the world. He doesn‚Äôt get too excited and doesn‚Äôt throw clubs when he hits a bad shot.
But that doesn‚Äôt mean he‚Äôs not a perfectionist who is constantly¬†tweaking his equipment to get dialled in for each event he plays.
He added a new Project X Hzrdus Black driver shaft to match that in his 3-wood and driving iron.
Not many players would dream about tweaking their gear after such a comprehensive win but taking a bit of spin off the driver heading to a windy US Open just seems like common sense to me.
Admittedly, Johnson hadn‚Äôt even seen the course at Shinnecock Hills before he arrived at the start of the week.
‚ÄúIf I can‚Äôt figure out a golf course in three days, I need to find a new job,‚ÄĚ is his way of thinking according to swing coach Claude Harmon III.
Can‚Äôt argue with his logic there either.
And roll the clock back to the start of the year where he dominated at the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.
Why? Basically because it was a long and straight golf course and he didn‚Äôt need to shape the ball as much as would at somewhere like Riviera or Augusta.
Johnson switched to the M3 for those two venues where he deployed one of the moveable weights in the heel to help him hit his trademark fade off the tee.
It highlights how DJ helps himself by picking the right equipment for the right events. It‚Äôs not rocket science.
He is a supremely talented athlete and golfer. Jordan Spieth described him as a freak. And he meant it in a good way.
But you don‚Äôt rack up 18 wins including a US Open title without putting the hours in on the practice ground.
Earlier this year at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship I watched him spend the majority of his time hitting 100-yard wedge shots while those around him pummelled drivers into the back fence.
There are more than a few players missing the cut this week who could learn from that.
His bunker play has been nothing short of sensational this season ‚Äď again, not something that happens by accident.
Johnson has an interesting wedge set-up with a 52ňö gap wedge before a 60ňö and a 64ňö. If his name was Phil Mickelson we‚Äôd be lauding the genius of it all.
And let‚Äôs not forget that his irons the DJ Proto/P730 were made specially for him by TaylorMade.
We asked their head of irons Tomo Bystedt what Johnson was like to work with through the process.
‚ÄúHe‚Äôs very opinionated about his clubs and has very specific requirements,‚ÄĚ Bystedt said.
‚ÄúHe‚Äôs a very visceral player and will make decisions based on the ball flight he wants to see. He‚Äôs very results orientated.
‚ÄúWhen asked who is the best ball-striker from all our staff players it‚Äôs very hard not to say Dustin.‚ÄĚ
So yes, Johnson is a laid back character. But just because he doesn‚Äôt like to over-think things, doesn‚Äôt mean he‚Äôs not a thinker.
And his success over the first two rounds hasn‚Äôt all been about power and skill. Strategy has played a huge part.
‚ÄúI feel like, if I can get a look at par and not make any doubles, you know, I‚Äôm going to make a couple birdies. But limit the mistakes, especially limit the big numbers.
‚ÄúI know I‚Äôm playing well, so as long as I can do that, then I‚Äôm going to shoot a pretty good score.
‚ÄúWhen I do get out of position, I‚Äôm just trying to do everything I can to get it back into position, not try to push it, and just give myself a decent look at 4 ‚Äď whether that‚Äôs a 5-footer or a 25-footer, just something on the green where I can have a look at par.
‚ÄúI want to make things as easy as possible, even though they don‚Äôt get any easier, but just easier on myself.‚ÄĚ
If Johnson continues to keep things simple, he‚Äôll be lifting a second US Open trophy on Sunday afternoon.