Paul McGinley believes that a red-hot Dustin Johnson is now undisputedly the man to beat ahead of the US Open in a fortnight’s time at Winged Foot.
Writing in his Sky Sports column, the former Ryder Cup winning Captain has identified the confidence oozing through the world number one’s play and hopes he can continue his unrivalled form for another two weeks and a shot at more belated Major glory.
“He had two guys chasing him down in Atlanta and both Justin Thomas and Xander Schauffele got off to good starts, but Dustin matched them and kept his nose in front,” said McGinley.
“Hopefully that will give him another boost in confidence because there’s no doubt he’s the clear favourite now for the US Open next week.Bottom of Form
“DJ’s last four events – second, first, second and first – against the best players in the world, that is some run of form he’s on at the moment. And rightly he’s the best player in the world, the FedEx Cup champion and the PGA Tour Player of the Year.”
Men’s golf has been crying out for a dominant force to take the bull by the horns in recent years. A conveyor belt of top dogs have traded lead ranking honours with five number ones already seated in 2020 alone.
By comparison, just six held top spot between 1996 and 2010 and while an era of dominance ala Tiger Woods might be a thing of the past, McGinley sees enough in DJ’s play to suggest he’s far from finished winning yet.
“The last few weeks he’s had that look about him,” McGinley added. “He’s had that bite, that vision, the sense of destiny and determination, the focus, the drive, and all that is the key for him at the moment and why he’s on top of the world rankings.
“It’s not always going to be there, but he has it at the moment and the big thing for now is holding onto all that for a couple more weeks and going on to win a second US Open.”
“It’s significant that he’s now won something he’s never won before, and we all expect so much from Dustin Johnson because he is such a talented player.
Can he take this form to the next level now, with the US Open coming up? Of course he can. The “X-Factor” we’re all searching for is confidence, and after two wins and two runner-up finishes in his last four starts, against high-quality fields, there’s no doubt he’s got that confidence.
But he’s also got a good track record on difficult golf courses, and Winged Foot is an incredibly difficult course. I understand that it’s being set-up really tough, with very heavy rough for the US Open, and Dustin has excelled in the past on an examination of golf like that.
So yes, he’s going to be the clear favourite but, most importantly, he’s got the form going into the US Open and that confidence is vital heading into a major.”