Dustin Johnson – The Majors he contrived not to win, including three US Opens

The American is famous for finding ways not to win golf’s greatest championships.

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Dustin Johnson is to the first two decades of the 21st century what Greg Norman was to the final two decades of the 20th century.

That is, a golfer who finds remarkable ways of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

Johnson's career at golf's highest level began in 2008 and it has witnessed many highs and lows. He's won two Major Championships - the US Open (2016) and The Masters (2020), but it could have been more.

Planet Sport looks at the seven Majors which he contrived not to win, including three US Open - and he'll hope to atone for those errors at Torrey Pines this week.

The 2010 US Open

Johnson's golf at Pebble Beach has always been as spectacular as the views of the California coastline and the Pacific Ocean.

"The first time I walked out there I loved the place," he said and proved it, finishing seventh on his debut at the PGA Tour's annual AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and then winning the tournament in both 2009 and 2010.

Unsurprisingly, he was immediately considered one of the favourites for the return to the Pebble Beach course for June's US Open.

When he carded pre-cut scores of 71-70 he had backed up that notion and he gave himself a fine chance of completing a hat-trick of course wins with a third round 66 that left him three shots clear of the field.

Unfortunately his advantage over the field disintegrated with a triple bogey-7 at the second hole.

He went out of bounds from the next tee and carved his tee shot at the fourth over a cliff.

His hopes of victory went with it. Johnson shot 82 and finished tied eighth.

2010 PGA Championship

A lesser golfer might have shrunk away for the rest of the season, but Johnson was stronger than that.

Indeed, less than two months after the Pebble Beach meltdown he found himself heading into the final round of the PGA Championship tied second, three shots behind the lead of Nick Watney.

Johnson did not repeat his error this time.

Watney did instead. He shot 81 and disappeared from the leaderboard.

Johnson, meanwhile, got himself involved in a cavalry charge for the finishing line, being one of seven players who shared or owned the lead throughout the final round.

Bubba Watson and Martin Kaymer set the clubhouse target, but they were well aware that behind them Johnson had lit the blue touch paper.

Indeed, he made birdie at both the 16th and 17th holes to lead by one. The tournament was in his hands.

And then he had his first genuine Greg Norman moment.

Initially his bogey at the 18th seemed to have left him stuck in a play-off with Watson and Kaymer.

But the truth was horribly worse than that.

Asked if he had grounded his club in sandy scrub when playing his second shot he freely admitted that he had.

Host course Whistling Straits has vast amounts of bunker and sandy scrub, and the question of which counted as official bunkers had been something of a mystery throughout the week, but never in such sensational style.

Johnson had been in a bunker and was therefore penalized two shots.

In one fell swoop he had fallen into a tie for fifth.

"It never once crossed my mind that I was in a sand trap," he said, adding with characteristic understatement: "But, you know, that's how it goes."

The 2011 British Open

Following an opening lap of 70 with a pair of 68s Johnson moved through the field into second, just one shot behind his Sunday playing partner Darren Clarke.

He'd slipped four shots behind the Northern Irishman after seven holes of the final round, but a pair of birdies after the turn had him back in the game.

The par-5 14th hole seemed the ideal opportunity for him to pounce.

His length from the tee gave him a big advantage over Clarke who was struggling to find par breakers.

However Johnson's 2-iron approach not only failed to miss the green, it also missed the course itself, careering over the boundary fence.

He made a double bogey-7 and never recovered, finishing tied second.

"It was a definite go situation," he said of the 14th. "Bit if I had to do it over again, I'd hit 3-wood."

The 2015 US Open

Played at new venue Chambers Bay the story at the start of the week was the poor state of the greens.

It was a tale which would come back to haunt Johnson.

First, however, he raced from the blocks with an opening day 65 that claimed a share of the first round lead.

He remained in that position with 18 holes to play, albeit now alongside three others.

"I know what it takes to get it done," he said. "We'll see what happens."

Late in the day Jordan Spieth held a three-shot advantage, but he made a double bogey at the 17th before completing a birdie at the last.

Johnson had spent the back nine going backwards until a birdie at 17 - and Spieth's error - offered hope.

Moreover, he smashed his approach at the par-5 601-yard final hole to 12-feet.

Hole for eagle and he'd win the tournament. A two-putt would force a play-off.

Instead, Johnson three-putted and shared second with Louis Oosthuizen.

"I was trying," he said. "Just didn't work out."

The 2015 British Open

Ahead of the week everyone said Johnson was among the favourites because the host, The Old Course at St Andrews, is made for his length.

A Johnson did card opening rounds of 65-69 to claim a one-shot halfway lead.

And a Johnson did lift the Claret Jug.

However it was Zach Johnson, not Dustin who limped home with a pair of 75s for T49th.

The 2017 Masters

The previous year Johnson had finally rid himself of the bogey and won a Major, claiming the US Open by three shots.

He opened 2017 in stunning style, winning three in a row through February and March.

Two of those were World Golf Championship titles, lifting his victory tally in them to five, a total only surpassed by Tiger Woods.

He was an imperious World No. 1. And, having had early struggles at Augusta National, he arrived having made the top ten in each of the two previous Masters.

He was favourite to win a first Green Jacket.

Whereupon he fell down the stairs at his rental home in Augusta and never even made it to the first tee.

Dustin Johnson in reflective mood at the 2018 US Open
Dustin Johnson in reflective mood at the 2018 US Open

The 2018 US Open

Johnson opened with rounds of 69-67 to leave the field in his wake heading into the weekend.

They were four shots back and apparently playing a different course.

But DJ's Moving Day saw him travel in the wrong direction. A 77 left him in another four-way 54-hole tie for the lead.

"I'm in a good position," he insisted. "Need to putt a little better."

Alas, he didn't.

He three-putted four times and yet still finished only two back of winner Brooks Koepka.