US Open

Johnson proves be belongs at the top

2016-06-20 21:05
golf, us open, dustin johnson
Dustin Johnson winning the US Open (Getty Images)

Oakmont - Dustin Johnson is up to a career best third in the world rankings on the back of his US Open win, passing Rory McIlroy and to all intents and purposes turning the 'Big Three' into the 'Big Four'.

At 31, the American belongs to a different decade than the three others -- world number one Jason Day is 28, number two Jordan Spieth is 22 and McIlroy 22 -- but he is close enough to them in age to be considered as their peer.

Long seen as one of the finest talents in golf, his brittleness at the majors, where he had 11 top 10 finishes dating back to 2009, was a black mark against his name.

Now with Sunday's superb, battling win at Oakmont, when even a contentious rules fiasco down the back nine could not derail him, his resolve and nerve cannot be called into question.

Many, like Ryder Cup partner Jim Furyk, believe that great things lie ahead for Johnson in the next 10 years.

"I love the talent and skills," Furyk said prior to Oakmont. "Dustin is explosive. It's been a lot of just not knocking in putts at the right time. It could happen soon, and when it does, he could be off to the races and win three majors in four or five years."

The player himself is known as being one of the less expansive in terms of communication skills, but his relief at overturning a four-stroke deficit to win by three was palpable.

"I think it's well deserved. After everything that I've been through in the majors. I've knocked on the door a bunch of times," he said.

"To finally get that major win, it's huge. It gets me a lot more confidence going into every major to know that I can win.

"So it's definitely a start to becoming a great player."

For Day, Spieth and McIlroy, Oakmont was clear proof that they have competition at the uppermost levels of golf.

McIlroy missed the cut and he has not really threatened to win a fifth major title since he took the PGA Championship in 2014.

The Northern Irishman was bitterly disappointed with the way he played at Oakmont, opting not to talk to the press after his dismal 40 back nine showing in the second round.

It was the first time he had missed the cut at a major since the 2013 British Open and he later tweeted: "Disappointing week to say the least. Fighting my swing a bit at the minute but working hard to get back on track."

Spieth has shown that mentally he is over the disastrous collapse he endured at the Masters when he blew a five-stroke lead, but he had another disappointing final day at Oakmont, a 75 leaving him well down the field.

With the loss of his two major titles now complete, Spieth says he is turning his attentions towards the rest of the year.

"Just go home this week, and then I'll look forward to the World Golf Championship in Akron to try to gain some momentum for the next couple of majors," he said.

Day, meanwhile, must work at dealing with the stress he says he feels every time he tees off as the world number one.

"I've never been more stressed in my life than right now," he said at the start of the tournament.

"It's just because being number one in the world, having a lot of expectations on you, having to practise so hard to keep that number one spot, trying to win as many tournaments as I can puts a lot of stress and pressure on your shoulders."

Read more on:    pga tour  |  us open  |  dustin johnson  |  golf

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