It would be difficult to pick a player with more apparent natural talent than America’s Dustin Johnson.
The 32-year-old is blessed with the sort of athletic ability that is visible when he is doing something as simple as walking and the raw power he brings to the game is mesmerising to watch.
But the majors hadn’t been kind to ‘DJ’ over the years. A ruling debacle at the 2010 PGA, final round meltdowns at both the 2010 US Open and 2011 Open Championship and the disastrous three-putt on the 72nd green at Chambers Bay in the 2015 US Open were all opportunities lost in a career on which the clock was ticking.
2016, though, was destined to be Johnson’s year and the US Open at Oakmont was his time to make a statement.
One of the most difficult courses in the world, Oakmont demands that every element of a player’s game be on song, and despite all sorts of weather delays and interruptions, Johnson was in top form.
Driving the ball magnificently and wedging it better than at any time in his career, Johnson was on track for a coronation during Sunday’s final round. Until the USGA stepped in.
An incident on the fifth green became one of the most talked about in the history of golf when Johnson’s ball moved as he was lining up his putt.
He immediately called a rules official who determined the American wasn’t responsible for the movement and he was free to continue without penalty.
But officials watching on TV decided things weren’t so clear cut, and after several viewings, eventually made their way out to the course to tell the tournament leader he might have a one-shot penalty coming his way.
In potentially the most embarrassing rules debacle in history, Johnson played the final six holes of one of the game’s most important tournaments completely unsure what score he was on.
A birdie at the final hole eventually saw Johnson four clear of his nearest pursuers, although after being assessed a penalty for the incident on the fifth green, the official margin was only three.
It was a brilliant win by Johnson that will sadly forever be remembered instead for the clumsy actions of the USGA.
HOW THE WEEK IN GOLF SAW THE FINAL ROUND OF THE US OPEN: