Dustin Johnson comes into the Tour Championship at the tail end of one of the most tumultuous years in golf history, a year that's not over yet. On the plus side, he's won on tour, he's qualified for the Ryder Cup team, he's been in the hunt for majors all season.
Tuesday at East Lake, Johnson discussed what he's learned from his two meltdowns. And if he can carry through on what he says he's learned, he's going to be a serious threat this weekend.
"After the things that happened on 2 and 3 [at Pebble Beach], I definitely started moving very fast, and I maybe didn't take my time or wasn't really thinking things through very much," Johnson said. "So then at the PGA a couple weeks later, I was there and had a chance to win again, which I did everything that I was supposed to do. I birdied 16 and 17 coming down the stretch to give myself a one-shot lead, and then obviously the unfortunate situation on 18. But I still did everything I was supposed to at the PGA. I played well, I played good golf, I gave myself a lot of looks at birdie on the back nine. But, you know, still even not getting it done."
The problem? He was rushing himself. Always a fast golfer, Johnson was cranking his game to a new, hummingbird-on-caffeine level of speed. "Sometimes in those situations, you know you're doing it, but you just can't slow down and you can't stop yourself from doing it," Johnson said.
So how's he going to compensate this week? By trying to calm his head, slow his speed and focus on the task at hand. "Sometimes I get a really fast walk going and then I'll do everything really fast," he said. "So I already move fast, so I've got to feel like I'm moving really slow, and I'm probably moving at a normal pace." Keeping that normal pace -- keeping his head about him -- will be essential this week, where Johnson won't be able to uncork his driver and will instead be working the 3-wood for precision most of the weekend.
But as for why he plays fast, Johnson had an easy answer. "There's only two things that can happen, you hit a good shot or a bad shot," he laughed, "so why waste time doing it?"