Erin - World number one Dustin Johnson says fatherhood has
made him a better player as he prepares to defend his US Open title just days
after the birth of his second son.
The 32-year-old arrived at Erin Hills on Tuesday after a
hectic 24 hours that saw him and wife Paulina Gretzky celebrate the arrival of
baby River on Monday.
Johnson, who has been installed as the favourite for this
week's title in Wisconsin, described his unusual major championship build up as
an "awesome couple of days."
"Everybody's healthy. Mom is healthy. The baby is
healthy. So that's good," Johnson said.
The big-hitting American star has begun to deliver on his
talent in recent seasons after a series of major near-misses.
A second-place finish at the 2015 US Open at Chambers Bay
was followed by last year's victory at Oakmont, his first major, while in
February he claimed the world number one ranking.
Johnson believes being a parent has helped him ascend to the
top of the golfing heap.
"It just gives you a whole new perspective on
things," he said on Wednesday. "Where before kind of golf was the most
important and now my family is the most important.
"At the end of the day whether I'm having a good day or
bad day, when I either see my family or talk to them, whatever, if I was upset
or even if I was happy with the way I played, none of that matters.
"Just I'm always happy and excited to be with
Johnson is still smarting from the freak accident that
deprived him of the chance to challenge for the Masters in April, when he
slipped on stairs and hurt his back on the eve of the tournament.
"Obviously it was very disappointing not to be able to
play, kind of with a freak accident," he said. "I'm excited to come
back and defend this week."
Johnson ended up watching the Masters on television as a
"I couldn't really do much else, I was laying on the
couch," he said.
"Leading into the Masters I was playing the best golf
that I've ever played. I've still got some work to do to get back to when I was
playing that good."
After missing the cut at Memorial earlier this month,
Johnson headed to Erin Hills last week to play a practice round on the
7,741-yard par-72 course. Despite the intimidating layout, Johnson said the
course holds no fears for him.
"I think it sets up very well for me," Johnson
"It's a difficult championship to win. It always plays
very difficult. You've got to play good, every part of your game has to be