PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA | It’s possible, depending on how this weekend plays out, that any one of four players – Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Jordan Spieth or Justin Rose – could end Dustin Johnson’s 64-week run as the top-ranked golfer in the world.
They will have to go through Johnson and his new putt-reading technique to get there.
Johnson, who insists he’s not concerned about challenges to his seat upon golf’s ranking throne, debuted his use of the AimPoint green-reading method Thursday on his way to a first-round 66 that gave him a share of the early Players Championship lead.
Leave it to Johnson to boil his decision to use AimPoint to its simplest form.
“Just not making enough putts. It definitely helped,” Johnson said.
Simple as that.
“I’m a feel putter anyway,” Johnson said. “What you’re doing really is you’re just feeling it. It works.”
Here’s an elementary explanation of how AimPoint works for golfers:
A player stands near his ball facing the hole, using his feet to determine the slope. From there, the player uses his arm and fingers to determine how much break to play. It’s a little more complicated than that but that’s the rudimentary version.
It’s a method Adam Scott has used for a while and it got his attention when he noticed Johnson and his caddie/brother, Austin, using it during a Wednesday practice round.
“I had no idea and then I saw him doing it, so I stuck my nose in to see how they were doing it,” Scott said. “Not that I was going to tell them if they were right or wrong, but I just wanted to see what they have come up with.”
Johnson said he had tried AimPoint during practice sessions previously but only recently decided to bring it onto the course with him in tournament play. It may not be as bold a step as Phil Mickelson’s sartorial decision to dress like a man who slipped out of the office for a quick nine but it’s a change for sure.
The only thing Johnson doesn’t like about AimPoint, he said, is holding his fingers up to determine the slope. He rarely does that.
“I just don’t like it,” Johnson said in his succinct way.
“I’ll do it some. I’m going to start doing it if I keep putting the way I did today.”