Dustin Johnson Q & A
September 28, 2015
By Kenneth Quillinan, Special to, PGATOUR.COM
- September 28, 2015
- Dustin Johnson of the U.S. Team hits his tee shot on the second hole during the Day Two Four-Ball Matches of the 2011 Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne Golf Course. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
As the countdown continues to The Presidents Cup, one of the key players on the U.S. Team will undoubtedly be current World No. 9, Dustin Johnson. To say that 2015 has been an eventful year for the 31-year-old South Carolina native would be quite an understatement. He shared his thoughts recently on the year gone by, family life and his excitement for his return to Korea next month.
Q: You have been to Korea before to compete in the 2013 Ballantine’s Championship. How was that experience and how excited are you to return here in October?
Johnson: I had a great experience during my previous trip to Korea. Seoul is a great city and the Korean people were very friendly and supportive. I am very excited about my return, especially under the circumstances.
Q: Having competed in The Presidents Cup before, but missing out in 2013, how determined were you to make this year’s team?
Johnson: My goal was to make the team on points and leave nothing to chance. It was definitely painful to not be on the 2013 Presidents Cup team, but there is no question that it motivated me this time around. I hope to make every team going forward, as there is nothing more rewarding than representing your country.
Q: You must have fond memories of the 2011 Presidents Cup, especially being on the winning team? Any particular moment stand out for you?
Johnson: Just the whole week, really. I always enjoy Australia and Royal Melbourne was a great venue. Unfortunately, I didn’t play my best golf, as I was having some knee trouble at the time. I actually had it surgically repaired just days after returning home. Otherwise, it was a great week and a fun experience.
Q: Looking back on 2015, after your break from the game, are you pleased with how you have returned?
Johnson: Honestly, I am very pleased. I did a lot of really good work while I was away and learned a lot about myself. I truly believe I returned as not only a better player, but also a better man.
Q: And this year’s majors- a feeling of frustration or optimism from your performances?
Johnson: Obviously, I wanted to win a major championship this year. However, I view my “near misses” as positive reinforcement that I am really good at playing major championship golf. Sure, I’m anxious to win one, but I am more confident than ever that I will do so.
Q: Do you look at the extra belief/confidence and current form of Jason Day since winning the PGA Championship and think this is potentially what awaits you too after you pick up your maiden major victory?
Johnson: I suppose so, but again, I have always believed I would win major championships. I am very happy for Jason, as he’s a really good guy and has played some great golf this year.
Q: What goals have you set for the rest of the year and looking ahead to 2016? Is Rio on your mind?
Johnson: I prefer to keep my goals to myself, but I am always trying to put myself in a position to win, no matter where I’m playing. Of course, it would be an honor to make our Olympic team, but I’m not fixated on it. I know if I play my best golf, everything will take care of itself.
Q: How has family life changed your mindset both on and off the golf course?
Johnson: Mostly, it’s just changed my overall perspective. My golf will always be important, but I now understand that nothing is more important than being a good husband and father. I am reminded of that every time I walk in the door and see Paulina and Tatum. Parenthood is a real blessing.
Q: Still no date set for what will be the wedding of the year?
Johnson: To be determined, but it will be great!
Q: Any discussions about the possibility of your son Tatum swinging a golf club or hockey stick first?
Johnson: It will be his choice, but he will be more exposed to golf for obvious reasons...
Q: Is it safe to say that Wayne Gretzky has been like a father figure to you over the past few years?
Johnson: Wayne is a special guy and someone I look up to in a number of ways. It’s nice to observe how he has handled fame and wealth, and especially, how he treats people. It’s pretty cool to have the greatest athlete that’s ever lived as my future father-in-law. I learn from him every day just from being around him. He’s an amazing husband and father and a great role model for me.
Q: What’s it like having your brother Austin on your bag for the past couple of years? Has he ever beaten you on the golf course?
Johnson: He would probably tell you he has, but not recently! All kidding aside, it has been great having him as my caddie. He takes the job very seriously and has worked hard to learn what it takes to be successful. We have great chemistry on the course and enjoy being around one another. We also push each other from a fitness standpoint, which is an added bonus.
Q: Can you tell us more about the Dustin Johnson Foundation and its progress?
Johnson: The Dustin Johnson Foundation was established as a way for me to give back to those who are in need. Specifically, our focus has been on underprivileged children and animals, both of which are near to my heart.
Q: You seem to be a very laid back person. How would you typically spend a day away from the course?
Johnson: If I’m not playing, practicing or working out, you’ll likely find me on the water. I love being on my boat and just relaxing, which is a real advantage we enjoy living in South Florida.
Q: Having already been through so much so early in your career, what words of advice would you offer up to the next generation of golfers?
Johnson: First and foremost, work hard and follow your dreams. It’s important to remember that “the game owes you nothing.” Also, play “golf,” and not “golf swing.” Too many young players today are overly focused on technique and lose sight of actually playing the game. At the end of the day, your score is the only thing that matters. Lastly, don’t ignore your fitness. Today’s players are stronger and more athletic than ever, and a proper fitness regimen will prolong your career and help you avoid injury.
Q: Finally, you have experienced them before, but what message do you have for the Korean fans awaiting your arrival in a few weeks?
Johnson: Thank you for your hospitality and support. It will be an honor to compete in front of the Korean fans and enjoy the beauty of Seoul. It’s going to be a great and exciting week!