In his first media appearance since the night of his tragic 72nd-hole U.S. Open loss, Dustin Johnson spoke at St. Andrews Monday about recovering from his three-putt finish.
“I played really well that week. I was happy with the way I played and the way I handled myself coming down the last few holes,” Johnson said. “It wasn’t too difficult to get over. Obviously I was a little disappointed I didn’t get the job done, but I was definitely happy with the way I played.”
Johnson reached the par-5 green in two and was just one 12-foot putt away from his first major victory. His eagle putt cruised four feet by the hole, the birdie putt coming back slid left and Johnson fell one stroke shy of Jordan Spieth.
“I hit two great shots and unfortunately, my ball—I don’t know how it stayed where it did, above the hole up there—unfortunately it stayed there and was just a tough putt,” he said. “I was trying to make it, but if it went in I wanted it to barely go in, and it still went four feet by. I hit a good putt on the way back but it just bounced and missed left.”
It all happened in a matter of moments for Johnson, who quickly exited the scene to see his family. He would eventually talk with a few reporters, but skipped the champion’s ceremony that is normally attended by the runner-up finisher(s). Louis Oosthuizen, who stormed up the leaderboard to tie Johnson at 4-under, attended the ceremony.
“I didn’t know … It was time to get out of there,” Johnson said. “I had had enough. It was time to go.”
Though Johnson seems to have moved past yet another major championship shortcoming, he will undoubtedly be reminded of it this week as he is paired with Spieth for the first two rounds of the British Open at St. Andrews.
Johnson and Spieth will play alongside 23-year-old Hideki Matsuyama at 9:33 a.m. local time (4:33 a.m. ET) Thursday and at 2:34 p.m. local time (9:34 a.m. ET) Friday. While Spieth chases the third leg of his 2015 Grand Slam, Johnson confidently joked that Spieth’s chances depend on others in the field, including himself.
“I’m playing in the next two,” he said, “so we’ll have to see.”