Dustin Johnson will not open the 2013 season with back-to-back victories.
Johnson, who won the weather-shortened Hyundai Tournament of Champions on Tuesday, withdrew from the Sony Open in Hawaii midway through his second round on Friday in Honolulu.
Golf Channel reported that Johnson was suffering from flu-like symptoms.
Johnson opened with a 70 in Round 1.
Beginning with this week's Sony Open in Hawaii, each FedExCup tournament will provide a special bib for the FedExCup points leader’s caddie to wear during competition rounds. This bib will be used only if the leader of the current FedExCup standings is in the field.
The bib will have orange accents on the shoulders and pocket.
After winning the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions, Dustin Johnson came to Waialae as the FedExCup points leader. That meant his caddie, Bobby Brown, became the first caddie to win the special orange bib this year in Thursday's opening round of the Sony Open (photo below by Chris Condon/PGA TOUR).
By Travis Fulton, Director of Instruction, PGA TOUR Academy
The first tournament of the year is finally in the books and Dustin Johnson is back on top after capturing the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
You get the feeling that with Johnson fully healthy again this could be a very special year for the long-driving young American.
Not only does Johnson display great power, he can be extremely accurate. One of the positions that sets the stage for this potent combination is when the club shaft gets halfway back during the backswing and parallel to the ground. At this point, Johnson’s club shaft sits relatively parallel to his stance line. This alignment and relationship to the stance line is important for accuracy as he is able to get the entire shaft on plane immediately.
One of the most common errors for amateurs at this point in the swing is to get the clubhead too far behind the hands. This gets the clubhead under the plane and requires more compensation to re-establish the proper swing plane.
With the club shaft on-plane early in the backswing, Johnson also fully assembles his wrist hinge. At this point, his right wrist is bent towards the back of the wrist with the left wrist towards the top of the wrist. In addition, you will also notice how his right elbow is bent to support the wrists, creating significant angles between the club shaft and both forearms. These angles are critical in the creation of power.
This position during the backswing is one that most all of us can learn from and achieve. With a solid wrist hinge and the club shaft on-plane, you, too, can get off to a good start in the swing to produce power and accuracy.
Travis Fulton is the Director of Instruction at the TOUR Academies at TPC Sawgrass and the World Golf Village. For more information on the TOUR Academy, click here.
By Ann Miller for PGATOUR.COM
KAPALUA, Maui — Dustin Johnson went from wire-to-windy-wire at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions on Tuesday, winning the PGA TOUR’s first event of 2013 by four shots over defending champ Steve Stricker.
Johnson closed with a 5-under 68 at the Kapalua Plantation Course, which was blown into submission the first three days. Gusts of more than 50 mph forced officials to start the tournament Monday with 36 holes and end it Tuesday with 18 more.
It was an ideal situation for Johnson, who has now won the TOUR’s last three 54-hole tournaments.
“I’ve got a long way to go,” grinned Johnson, 28, “but I will be ready for the Champions Tour.”
His three-round total of 16-under 203 was four shots better than Stricker, who closed with a 69. Johnson has now won TOUR events in six straight years, since coming out of college.
Tiger Woods is the only other golfer who can make that claim. And only Phil Mickelson, who has won events the last nine years, has a longer annual streak. That is fast company.
“He’s very athletic and he’s just going to continue to get better,” Stricker said. “That’s going to be the fun part watching is what he’s going to do from here on out, because he looks unflappable out there. He hit a couple wayward drives and opened the door for me a little bit, and then he stepped up there with a driver again, and I’m like, OK. But then he piped it and chips it in.”
That came on the 14th hole. Stricker was five back after seven, but cut his gap to two at the turn with a couple birdies and Johnson’s bogey on the ninth, where he drove into a hazard.
Johnson padded his advantage with a birdie on the 12th, blasting his drive more than 400 yards and sinking a 12-foot birdie putt. He made just two putts that were longer all week, aside from a 25-footer from the fringe Tuesday that counted as a chip-in.
His next chip-in was the most decisive shot of the long week.
Johnson hit into another hazard on the 13th, found his ball but hit it just four feet, leading to double-bogey. Stricker missed a 25-foot birdie putt that could have tied it there, but Johnson’s advantage was down to one with five holes left.
He grabbed his driver again on the next hole, blasted the ball 267 yards through the wind about 50 feet short of the hole, and nearly knocked over the weather-whipped pin for eagle.
“The chip on 14 was definitely the biggest shot,” Johnson said. “Maybe the drive; the drive set it up all. I hit a great drive right at the flag, which came up just short, and I had a really easy pitch. Fortunate to hit a great pitch and it went right in the middle.”
Johnson won $1.14 million and 500 FedExCup points to take the early-season lead. Kyle Stanley finished last in the 30-man field and collected $61,000.
They now head to the Sony Open in Hawaii, which tees off Thursday. Johnson has top-20 finishes at Waialae Country Club in both previous starts.
How bright is his future?
“I don’t really look ahead that far,” Johnson said. “I kind of go week-to-week. I’m looking at next week where I want to go in and play three good rounds and then contend on Sunday for another victory. That’s my goal.”
Then he fired a shot heard ‘round the PGA TOUR.
“If I keep playing golf like I’m playing right now, then, you know,” Johnson said, “obviously there is no limit.”
Dustin Johnson hits his final drive on the par-5 18th on Tuesday at Kapalua. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider
Dustin Johnson’s four-shot win at the season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions earned him a return trip to Maui next year for the winners-only event.
But Johnson wasn’t the only winner on Tuesday -- TaylorMade Golf also picked up a big win as Johnson notched his seventh PGA TOUR victory using the company’s R1 driver, which was released on Jan. 3.
Johnson employed a 10 degree R1 with a neutral face angle and an 8-gram shot shape weight in the toe and 2-gram shot shape weight in the heel for the 54-hole tournament. He averaged 275.9 yards off the tee and recorded a 405-yard drive during the final round, which was the longest in the field during Tuesday’s final round.
He also became the second player to win with TaylorMade’s RocketBladez Tour irons, joining Sergio Garica, who captured the Johor Open in December.
Even though Johnson spent some time working with the irons during the offseason, he felt his irons were a bit too upright and had the entire set bent 1 degree flatter prior to the first round.
Dustin Johnson’s bag at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions:
DRIVER: TaylorMade R1 (10°) with a Fujikura Fuel 2.0 X shaft
FAIRWAY WOODS: TaylorMade R11S (15.5°) and R9 (19°) with Aldila RIP Series X shafts
IRONS: RocketBladez Tour (3-PW) with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts
WEDGES: TaylorMade TP xFT (54°, 60°) with with KBS Back Nickel shafts
PUTTER: Scotty Cameron for Titleist Newport prototype
BALL: TaylorMade Penta TP5
Dustin Johnson won the 54-hole Hyundai Tournament of Champions on Tuesday for his seventh career PGA TOUR victory. With this victory, Johnson ...
Dustin Johnson has won six PGA TOUR events. Two of them have come in weather-shortened 54-hole tournaments.
Now he stands on the verge of adding a third 54-hole win as he takes a three-shot lead going into Tuesday's third and final round of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
But the long-hitting Johnson doesn't consider himself the "54-hole King." He just plays to win until they tell him to stop. That's what he did at the 2009 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and the 2011 Barclays.
And that's what he'll do today at Kapalua's Plantation Course.
"Just happened to win those two events," Johnson said of his 54-hole wins. "You know, I've still got 18 more holes of golf. It wouldn't matter if it was 72 holes or 54.
"(Tuesday) is still the last round and there's 18 holes to play, so got to get the job done."
He certainly got the job done on Monday when the 30-man field played 36 holes. He shot a 4-under 69 in the morning and followed with a 7-under 66 in the afternoon, leaving him at 11 under, three shots clear of defending champion Steve Stricker.
Bubba Watson, Johnson's playing partner on Monday, is in third place at 7 under.
Although the Plantation Course is one of the toughest walking courses on the PGA TOUR, Johnson used his peak physical condition to play better in the afternoon.
"This course is a tough walk and it's really windy out there," Johnson said, "but I'm in pretty good shape. I can handle it."
He'll need to walk only 18 holes on Tuesday. His distance off the tee, along with his accuracy with his irons -- he hit a career-best 33 of 36 greens in regulation on Monday -- will make him tough to beat.
Add in the fact that he played six practice rounds at Kapalua with new equipment, and no one may have been more ready to start the season.
Tuesday could be something special for Johnson. In fact, 2013 might very well be a special season.
"Obviously it's the first event of the year, but I think for sure that I'm due for a big year," Johnson said. "I haven't achieved everything that I can. I haven't played to my full potential yet.
"So you know, maybe it will happen this year. I still have got a lot of things I need to work on and improve, and if I do that, then I think I'll have a very good year."
Tuesday's round begins at 12:10 p.m. ET (7:10 a.m. Hawaii time). Dustin Johnson and Steve Stricker, playing in the final group, tee off at 1:20 p.m. ET (8:20 a.m. Hawaii time).
Steve Stricker celebrates with his caddie after holing out for eagle on No. 18. (Stan Badz/PGA TOUR)
By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM
KAPALUA, Maui -- The PGA TOUR got very fortunate to complete 36 holes on Monday. Both the golf course and the wind were right on the edge for most of the day. Just as the second round began, two golf balls moved on the greens during wind gusts. TOUR officials were ready to halt play but the winds subsided just enough for the tournament to continue. A brief morning rain injected just enough moisture into the greens, which rolled out at 8.6 in the stimpmeter. The course, the wind, the rain and the green speed were all just marginal enough for competition to continue.
Winds: Just because 36 holes were completed and just because Dustin Johnson is 11 under, don’t think Monday was an easy day of golf. The wind blew between 20-25 miles an hour and gusts hovered in the upper 30s. The conditions allowed for some strange yardages. Johnson hit a couple 9 irons 100 yards into the wind and hit one sand wedge 160 yards that he described as, “not quite a full wedge but close.”
Nerves: It was far from a walk in the park for Steve Stricker. It was more like a long limp home. Stricker walked 36 holes with a nerve problem in his upper thigh that shot pain down into his leg. He was in obvious discomfort and would lie down in the fairway between shots to stretch. He was able to shoot 6-under 67 in the second round by putting well. Stricker took just 26 putts. He said the nerve issue started in December and cautioned officials he might withdraw at the start of the opening round. There is nothing like shooting 6 under to alleviate some of the pain.
Driving: Dustin Johnson put a new TaylorMade driver into his bag and leads the tournament in driving distance at 307.6 yards. He attacked the Plantation Course even in the high winds with phenomenal drives. Johnson putted for eagle on four different occasions on the back nine alone, shooting 5 under on the quartet of holes. The distance off the tee also enabled him to hit 33 of 36 greens despite finding just 15 of 30 fairways.
Conflict: Amanda Dufner faced a decision. Would she watch her husband Jason play his second round of golf or would she sneak off to the clubhouse to watch football? Her alma mater won. Amanda is a University of Alabama graduate and she enjoyed the National Championship game and outcome. Roll Tide.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here.
By Ann Miller, for PGATOUR.COM
KAPALUA, Maui — A jaw-dropping matinee performance blew Dustin Johnson to the top of the windblown Hyundai Tournament of Champions leaderboard on Marathon Monday.
After six practice rounds and three days of watching brutal winds wipe out the start of the 2013 PGA TOUR season, Johnson got revenge on Kapalua’s Plantation Course in Monday’s first two rounds.
He shared the first-round lead with Mark Wilson and Nick Watney at 4-under 69 in the morning, despite a trio of three-putts. When he sank a five-foot eagle putt on the 36th hole of the day, Johnson had a 6-under 66 and a three-shot lead over defending champion Steve Stricker.
The 66 looked uncommonly easy. The longest putt Johnson made was eight feet and that was for par. He two-putted for birdie on three holes and chipped within four feet three more times. On the final hole, he launched a 6-iron 243 yards and the eagle had nearly landed.
“I thought it was going to come up a little bit short, but it ended up fine, just perfect,” Johnson said. “It was rolling down there pretty close to the hole and I made it.”
Johnson’s scintillating performance, in winds that still were some 30 mph at times, was no surprise. At 28, he is trying to become the first TOUR player since Tiger Woods (1996-2001) to win a tournament six straight years out of college.
He had nine top-10s last year, including a win at the FedEx St. Jude Classic that got him the Hyundai invitation. He ranked fourth in driving distance (310 yards) and finished eighth in the final FedExCup standings.
“He’s such a good player and he’s got length on his side and he’s got a lot of talent,” said Stricker, who was suffering from a “shooting pain” down his left leg and limping noticeably. “It’s going to be tough to make up three shots on him here. I wish I was feeling 100 percent.
“I could be feeling better tomorrow, who knows? But you know, we never know, either. That’s why you play. I mean, three shots, two shots can be erased really quickly, one hole.”
Stricker turns 46 next month and has decided to cut his schedule “in half” this year. He is ranked 18th in the world, and the last time he did not break par at Kapalua was in 2002. He is 86 under in his last 19 rounds here.
Twenty of these players head to Oahu after Tuesday for the first full-field event of the year. The Sony Open in Hawaii starts Thursday at Waialae Country Club.
Johnson Wagner, who won at Waialae last year, has a share of 10th going into the final round. He was ninth at Kapalua a year ago.
Dustin Johnson seized a three-shot advantage at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions when he eagled the par-5 finishing hole to close out his second round at Kapalua.
Johnson, a six-time PGA TOUR winner who punched his ticket to this event by winning last year’s FedEx St. Jude Classic, posted rounds of 69 and 66 on the par-73 layout Monday to take the clubhouse lead at 11 under.
A few groups of players, including defending champion Steve Stricker (-8), are still on the course.
Bubba Watson, who played alongside Johnson Monday is third at 7 under.