Dustin Johnson took part of 2014 off to deal with personal challenges and now that he’s enjoying his best season ever, the US Open champ is looking to end the USA’s misery at the Ryder Cup.
The accolades and achievements are piling up this year for the 32-year-old American, who earned his first major in June at the US Open to go with victories at the BMW Championship earlier this month and the WGC at Firestone in July.
“Every achievement is very important to me,” Johnson said Thursday on the eve of the 41st Ryder Cup at Hazeltine.
“Representing my country is different. But it is right up there with all of them. It means a lot to me.”
Johnson was named to Team USA two years ago but skipped the Ryder Cup in Scotland to work through some personal problems.
“I can see it paying off tenfold right now,” he said.
“It was definitely hard to watch (Ryder Cup) because obviously I made the team, elected not to participate, but to work on myself.
“It’s paid off a lot as you can see over the last couple of years how well my performance has been. It was the best thing for me at the time.
“This year I come in playing really well and got a lot of confidence in the game. I am really looking forward to this year’s Ryder Cup.”
Johnson is the first player since Tiger Woods to win at least once in each of his first seven PGA Tour seasons.
So he has always been able to win a few events on the Tour but he has never had a consistently good season quite like his current one.
– First major –
“I played really solid all year this year,” Johnson said. “I had a lot of great finishes in a lot of tournaments and finally got the first major.”
Johnson is one of the frontrunners for the PGA Player of the Year award, and on Wednesday he was named the PGA of America Player of the Year and captured the Vardon Trophy for the best scoring average on the PGA Tour.
The long hitter is also one of the few players on the 12-man Team USA who has a winning record in the event. Johnson is 4-3 in Ryder Cup play, 2-0 in singles, from 2010 and 2012.
The USA is looking for redemption after suffering a heartbreaking loss at Chicago’s Medinah in 2012 when they fell victim to the greatest last-day rally in Ryder Cup history, Europe’s 14 1/2-13 1/2 win.
Europe is seeking an unprecedented fourth win in a row over the Americans in what would also be the seventh victory in eight outings.
If there is heightened pressure for the Americans to deliver a victory this year, Johnson isn’t showing it.
“We are looking forward to this week and these matches and the first session tomorrow morning,” Johnson said. “Drive it in the fairway that is my key always.
“If I am driving it well, I am going to play well and my team is going to do well.”
Despite his career season, Johnson doesn’t see himself as a leader. He will leave that role to team captain Davis Love, veteran Phil Mickelson and assistant captains Jim Furyk and Woods.
“We got a lot of leadership there. I just kind of try to do whatever I can,” Johnson said.
© 2016 AFP
Article source: http://www.france24.com/en/20160929-johnson-brimming-with-confidence-going-ryder-cup