ERIN, Wis. – The World No. 1 missing out on the year’s first two majors? Dustin Johnson admitted it crossed his mind.
Johnson withdrew at the last minute from the Masters after a fall down a flight of stairs a day before the tournament started. The tumble led to an injured back, and Johnson valiantly tried to play before officially withdrawing from the event right at his Thursday tee time.
For the U.S. Open, there was the complication of an impending baby. Johnson and fiancee Paulina Gretzky were expecting their second son earlier this week.
The birth was expected Sunday or Monday, and the baby indeed arrived Monday evening. (Johnson officially announced Wednesday his new child’s name: River Jones Johnson.)
But with just a few days of leeway between the expected due date and the start of the U.S. Open, any complications could’ve smooshed that timeframe even closer.
Johnson, 32, said that prior to the birth, the possibility that he would have to miss the U.S. Open to be there when his second son was born did cross his mind.
“It depended on when (Paulina) had the baby or when we could have it,” Johnson said. “Yeah, it was definitely a thought (I would have to miss the U.S. Open).”
Of course, as we noted above, it did all work out. After River’s Monday night birth, Johnson got to Erin Hills on Tuesday afternoon and has been preparing for the year’s second major championship since.
Johnson is the defending champion at the U.S. Open, a tournament that hasn’t had a repeat winner since Curtis Strange in 1989. The World No. 1 enters the proceedings in Wisconsin off a missed cut at the Memorial Tournament and not in the form that saw him win three consecutive tournaments leading to the Masters.
And then add on his lack of Open preparation due to that early-week birth.
But Johnson did play Erin Hills last week. He isn’t worried about only getting two days of work in this week at a first-time U.S. Open venue.
“I didn’t feel like I was behind the 8-ball at all because I got to prepare ten days ago or so,” Johnson said.
Johnson’s first son, 2-year-old Tatum, now has a younger brother. How does becoming a father feel the second time around? It’s still pretty special.
“The last 48 hours have been awesome,” Johnson said. “Having a new son has been fantastic. Everybody is healthy. So it’s been great.”
If Johnson can bring home another U.S. Open trophy, this will be a very tough week to top.