If you caught any of the golf in Mexico City last weekend, I’m sure you saw something out of the ordinary. Well first of all it was the inaugural World Golf Championship in Mexico, so that made it something special.
Mexico City is the fourth largest city in the world and sits 1700 feet above sea level. Its altitude made for some scary reading with regard to the distances being covered by one mighty blow. The thinner air helping the ball move fifteen percent further is one part of the equation, but when the player is called Dustin Johnson at the other end of the club, you start to get the full picture.
When one of the locals in the crowd, being treated to the strongest field of the year, gasped, “Is this man human?” You start to get the idea how idolised the players were. Mind you if I had just seen a two iron go 322 yards I might start to question what planet I was on. You did just read that right; a two iron went 322 yards.
In winning the Championship, ‘DJ’ as he’s affectionately known, secured his spot as World Number One. But this is only part of the story. Of all the courses you would expect Johnson to strong arm his opponents into submission, this was not it. This was a tree-lined, tricky-greened course which could not be overpowered. Instead he hit lots of irons off the tee leaving his newly acquired wedge game to pass muster, which it most certainly did.
This is the point which has now caught the attention of his playing compatriots; Mr Johnson doesn’t have a weakness. Not only is he one of the most gifted athletes on the Tour, he has shown time and again that he doesn’t flinch when circumstances go against him. For example, the fiasco of a ruling, mid final round at the US Open last year, which would have flustered the most hardened poker player. Instead he birdied the last hole to win by a margin which made the ruling irrelevant.
Another example of him being able to shut things out and move on, was on the 16th on Saturday. He hit a slightly skewwhiff approach shot into a tree. Where it stayed. So back he went, to play another ball, which he duly dispatched onto the green. Then the original ball fell out of the tree, almost mocking him saying here I am. The timing could not have been crueller because the ball lying on the green was now in play, leaving the ball now beneath the tree surplus to requirements. Keeping his cool when most around him would let go of club, á la Justin Thomas, he holes the putt. Minimising his misfortune to just a single dropped shot.
Some less generous observers may comment that he might not operate on a level where he realises what has happened. Yet he has the foresight and discipline to understand that if he strengthens his weaknesses he will become more efficient. Dispatching a two iron 322 yards is impressive but it’s only one shot in the armoury. It didn’t even make DJ’s highlights reel. His 127 yard, “kind of a dink” wedge out of the bunker on the last he called ‘fantastic’. It made it possible for him to win the tournament.
I think there are two points to be made here; firstly, the wedge game is hugely underrated, secondly the diligent work spent on ironing out weaknesses only makes you stronger. Apparently Dustin Johnson has been almost inseparable from his Trackman (Launch Monitor) for the last year. He now knows exactly how far his wedges go, he has names for each one too, he has become so familiar with them.
When looking down at the grass area of my Academy, I am always impressed when I see a player working on their short game. And even more impressed if they book a short game lesson. It shows that the person understands how important 0-100 yards is. This area is very easy to coach, the improvement is almost immediate and the results can last a lifetime.
It looks like Dustin Johnson is ready for the season, are you? We are happy to help, 912 263 555!