First Rory at the Open and now DJ! Dustin Johnson didn't quite reach his best at the Open at Royal Portrush, but was one of the hot favourites to win the WGC FedEx St. Jude Invitational this week, as he seeks his first win in five months.
The WGC FedEx St. Jude Invitational takes place at one of Dustin Johnson's favourite courses, TPC Southwind in Memphis. Johnson has won there in both 2012 and 2018, as well as finishing fifth and T10 on two other occasions.
It seemed the perfect place for DJ to claw his way back to the world No.1 spot, but things didn't get off to a very good start on Thursday. Johnson birdied the 10th which was his starting hole for the day, but two holes later what looked like a simple par turned into a double bogey.
Johnson's approach shot on the 12th finished about 30ft from the hole and left his birdie attempt a little short. Four feet isn't usually a distance that causes many problems for a player of DJ's standard, but he managed to three putt and walk away with a double bogey. Watch the video below and see for yourself...
golf is hard pic.twitter.com/RwbFIv0NYI— Eric Patterson (@EPatGolf) July 25, 2019
It then got even worse for DJ, as he missed a few more short par putts to finish his front nine three over par. Johnson's putting was so bad that he actually decided to change his putting grip during his round.
Johnson usually putts with a conventional grip, but after the shocking putting show on his front nine, DJ switched to a cross-handed grip (left hand low).
The strange decision seemed to pay off for DJ though, as he made five birdies during his back nine, with just one bogey coming on the 7th (DJ's 16th), to finish his round one under par and just seven shots off the lead.
“It couldn't get any worse, so I figured I had to try something,” said Johnson. “It was, yeah, not very good and so going to the back, I don't know, I didn't decide to do it until I was literally about to hit the putt on [the first], which was my 10th hole. But sometimes you just need a little bit of change.
“Even when I've just done it on the practice green messing around, I've always stroked it really well. These greens are really fast, so it's actually a good time for me to do it, because when I've got to hit it, it's not as easy. We'll probably see it again tomorrow.”