OAKMONT, PENNSYLVANIA | It has always seemed as if Dustin Johnson has kept the world a forearm away.
Whether it’s because he’s shy or guarded or just uncomfortable in the glare of the game he plays, Johnson has been viewed from afar, letting the gasps and gaffes define him more than his words.
At Oakmont on Sunday afternoon, with a social media storm raging about a potential one-stroke penalty that hung like a guillotine over the final nine holes of a forever off-kilter U.S. Open, Johnson rode more than his brilliant golf game to the biggest win of his career.
Wronged in the past by fate, by bad swings and by his own absent-mindedness, Johnson was wrapped Sunday afternoon in a blanket of emotion that charged Oakmont’s warm summer air.
He won more than the U.S. Open. He won the people.
Ultimately, it didn’t matter that Johnson was assessed a one-stroke penalty on the fifth hole for causing his ball to move on the green, but it felt like it did as the holes dwindled and the margin stayed close. Fans, cued into the uncertainty through on-course radios plugged into ears across the property, adopted Johnson as their cause.
When Johnson made an 8-foot par putt on the 16th green to maintain a two-stroke advantage, the roar was felt as much as it was heard, the way a bass beat thumps off your chest at a concert. They were cheering a purpose, a pursuit, a proper ending to an improper day.
After Johnson screamed another rocket shot down the 18th fairway, fitting it between the gaping bunkers and dream-drowning rough, he marched down the hill as fans chanted, “D.J, D.J, D.J.”
And if you listened between the lines, you could almost hear a refrain of “No justice, no peace.”
After all Johnson has been through and, to be fair, all that he has put himself through, to think that this U.S. Open might be lost due to a controversial ruling that took more than two hours to deliver just felt wrong.
It meant playing the final nine holes of the U.S. Open in need of two scoreboards. One if there was no penalty. One in case there was.
For days, weeks, maybe years, this U.S. Open will be about how the USGA handled the Johnson situation.
It should be about Johnson, who invisibly carries more baggage than a New York City bellman…..READ FULL ARTICLE