The Palmetto Championship: Dustin Johnson looking to find a spark

DJ is struggling for form ahead of next week’s US Open and he’ll hope to build some confidence in the PGA TOUR’s new tournament in South Carolina.

On the face of it, everything seems normal: Dustin Johnson is the world number one and favourite to win this week's PGA TOUR event.

The tournament is a new one and takes place in Johnson's home state of South Carolina.

In a weak field, it looks like the perfect chance to bank a straightforward win and head off to next week's US Open at Torrey Pines on a high.

But plenty of punters are looking at Johnson's odds of 8/1 and thinking 'no thanks'.

Another clue that something isn't quite right in the world of DJ comes when perusing the odds for the US Open.

Johnson is 16/1 to take victory but scan through the betting and you'll find no less than seven players quoted at a shorter price on the Oddschecker price comparison grid.

While he doesn't have a great record at the course, the main reason is Johnson's wobbly current form.

Dustin Johnson's record since late February

PGA Championship: Missed cut

Valspar Championship: 48th

The Heritage: 13th

The Masters: Missed cut

World Match Play: Group exit

PLAYERS Championship: 48th

WGC-Workday Championship: 54th

That's seven starts without a top 10, missed cuts in both Majors and one finish better than T48 in six strokeplay starts.

At least the one reasonable result, T13 at Hilton Head, also came in South Carolina but this is a sustained dip in form.

Johnson's recent stats

While continuing to record strong Strokes Gained: Tee To Green numbers, the rest of DJ's game just isn't up to scratch.

  • In three of his last four measured events he's lost strokes on Approach
  • In each of his last four measured events he's lost strokes Around The Greens
  • In five of his last eight measured starts in 2021 he's lost strokes Putting

Last season, Johnson ranked 17th for Approach and 48th for Putting. In 2019 he was 38th Around The Green.

These are parts of his game where he's performed well in the past but, right now, it's not happening.

Quotes

Johnson spoke to the press ahead of this week's Palmetto Championship. He famously doesn't give much away or offer too many insights but here's the full interview.

On having a home game in South Carolina this week

"Yeah, it's great. I obviously don't get to play a whole lot in South Carolina, other than Hilton Head every year, but this year's been kind of cool getting to play so many events in South Carolina.

"Yeah, looking forward to it. Obviously, this is my first time coming here to Congaree. The golf course is really good. Played 18 yesterday and played 9 this morning. I obviously don't know the course very well, but it's in good shape. It's a fun golf course to play."

More thoughts on the course

"Yeah, after you play it kind of once, kind of get the lines off the tees, it's not -- obviously, the greens got a lot of undulation and some slope, but, yeah, with greens books and everything, it definitely helps. Especially for me, I like to use it on like hitting second shots, just kind of knowing where to hit the ball or, if you do miss it, like what side to favour on.

"Yeah, there's definitely a little bit of difficulty not knowing the golf course, but I played it yesterday. It felt like I got a pretty good beat on it, and then obviously nine holes today."

On what he likes about Congaree

"It's different, especially for a course in South Carolina. It's not really any rough, but there's fairways that's firm. The ball's running out pretty good. The course, it's just a neat course to play. It's something different. We don't really play golf courses that look like this very often.

On modest recent results

"Yeah, it's frustrating, yeah, for sure, just because I haven't -- I feel like it's close, and it's getting better, but for me, I feel like a lot of it just has to do with I just haven't putted very well. Augusta did not putt good at all. That's kind of been the trend or the reason why I've just been struggling a little bit is more just with the putting.

"I feel like it's getting better, starting to roll it down my line a little bit more and making some putts."

On what it would mean to win in South Carolina

"It would be great. Obviously, it's my home state. It's where I grew up. It's kind of where I honed my skills throughout my especially early days all through college. Yeah, it would mean a lot to win in South Carolina."

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