It’s been a long time coming for Dustin Johnson.
After going 0 for 28 at the majors since turning pro in 2007 many in the world of golf wondered if the laid back South Carolinian would ever manage to make the breakthrough and ditch the tag of golf’s most talented ‘nearly man.’
He finally answered the doubters on Sunday, holding his nerve in controversial circumstances to claim the 116th US Open at Oakmont while those around him faltered.
At 6’4”, 190 pounds and one of the game’s longest hitters, Johnson’s string of near misses when in contention on the final day of a major had caused pundits to question whether he had the mental conditioning to match his physical prowess.
There was the final day 82 to lose a three-shot lead at the 2010 US Open, the two-shot penalty for grounding his club when leading by one shot on the final hole of the PGA Championship just two months later, as well as a couple of near misses in the Open Championship.
Then, the one that everyone remembers. The 2015 US Open, when a 12-foot eagle putt to win outright turned into a three putt and handed the title to rival Jordan Spieth.
Johnson’s nonchalant attitude when quizzed about his final green failure at Chambers Bay only added to the theory that he just didn’t have what it takes to be a major champion.
A year later and Johnson has blown that theory out of the water in spectacular fashion
The ‘toughest course ever’ in tournament golf, if we are to believe Johnson’s fellow pros, and a ridiculous on-and-off penalty stroke controversy on the back nine that would have seen many other players crumble failed to upset Johnson as he single-mindedly closed out his first major with a final hole birdie.
Now that he has that first major under his belt, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the 31-year old reels off a few more major wins over the next few years.
And who could begrudge the likeable Johnson more success? For if anyone has, he has truly earned it.