Before the week began, people were critical of Dustin Johnson's chances in this major championship.
Sure, he'd won the last two PGA Tour events at Pebble Beach, and seemed to be in complete control on the famed track, but this event was going to be different. It's a U.S. Open! They play from different tees! It's not the same course!
After 54 holes at this "different" tournament, Johnson is quietly showing people with his long drives and deft touch, that no matter the setup, Pebble Beach will continue to be Pebble Beach.
Johnson's five-under 66 was good enough for a three-shot lead in the U.S. Open and was all the more impressive coming well after Tiger Woods had completed his own 66, something that usually makes the young guys fall off the map.
Johnson, a friend and frequent practice round companion of Tiger, has done everything right this week, save a double-bogey seven in his first round, and made a good round great when he closed with two birdies on 17 and 18 in the third round. If people were doubting him before the week started because of the aforementioned reasoning, they sure have to believe now that the 25-year-old can take down this event just like any other at Pebble.
If Johnson does win, it would mean that we finally got a young major winner out of the pack of big names. While people always speak of Anthony Kim and Rory McIlroy when they want to chat about the youth in golf, Johnson has three wins over the last three seasons, and has missed the cut in only one major championship since 2008.
While we can all agree that closing out the U.S. Open is different than closing out a Pebble Beach Pro-Am, it can't hurt to be teeing off on the first hole on Sunday with those positive memories Johnson will bring to the course.