There’s a reason John Daly still makes the news, which he did this week, playing a shot from a water hazard without removing his shoes.
We can all admire Jason Day’s game, but the Aussie lacks a bit of the excitement you want from the best. He’s the family man, all smiles and no danger.
That’s why Dustin Johnson is a great fit as the new world number one. He’s good for the game on so many levels: he’s a cool guy, he doesn’t make a scene, and he has a weird swing. (It’s not Jim Furyk, but those hands will never be textbook).
On top of that, he smacks the ball a mile and led driving distance in all four rounds at Riviera Country Club last week.
It’s exciting to have no idea what’s coming next, it’s part of what makes golf such a fairytale.
Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth were the child prodigies to reach world number one, but Johnson has turned back the clock.
Six foot four, with a beard and South Carolina drawl, he’s an icon from the old school.
The golfers of yesteryear enjoyed casinos, had gorgeous WAGS, had run-ins with banned substances. They lived life to the fullest and we envied their god-given abilities. Johnson fits the mould, right down to his classic surname.
There’s another side to the reigning US Open champion, who makes sure that PGA Tour tickets are sent to a family that hosted him during a college tournament. He’s a good guy at the bottom of it all, someone you want to root for.
His golf over the last two years has been incredible – five wins and 30 top-10s in 24 months. Butch Harmon, one of the best coaches around, summed it up.
‘Dustin is the one player out there that I believe will be able to hold number one for a long time,’ Harmon said. ‘He has so much confidence in all parts of his game and also he is happy with his life.’
Take note of that last part, because Johnson was definitely not happy when he chose ‘voluntary absence’ in 2014 after testing positive for cocaine twice.
Times have changed and this weekend his fiancee Paulina Gretzky announced that they’re expecting a second child, a sibling for two-year-old son Tatum.
Johnson is likely to be a dynamic world number one, on and off the course. He knows what not to do in the majors, like ground a club in a bunker (2010 PGA Championship), shank it OB on the stretch (2011 Open Championship) or three-putt on the 72nd hole (2015 US Open).
Those are all mistakes that golfers can relate to, but don’t have the chance to make. At least not at the majors.
Johnson bounced back in admirable fashion to win the US Open last year, on Fathers’ Day. He’s enjoying life and is a tremendous golfer, so it’s satisfying to see him at the top. He’s earned the driver’s seat and we have no idea where he’s taking us in 2017. Can’t wait!