Dustin Johnson silent after opportunity lost at U.S. Open

SOUTHAMPTON, NY - JUNE 17: Dustin Johnson of the United States reacts to a missed putt on the 12th green during the final round of the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club on June 17, 2018 in Southampton, New York. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Dustin Johnson silent after opportunity lost at U.S. Open

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Dustin Johnson silent after opportunity lost at U.S. Open

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. – This is not how it was supposed to work out for the 2016 U.S. Open champion.

Last week Dustin Johnson served notice to the golf world that he was ready to win another major by taking the title at the PGA Tour’s FedEx St. Jude Classic. He even punctuated his win in Memphis by holing out from 170 yards on the final hole for an eagle.

The win moved Johnson back into the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking, and he opened the 2018 U.S. Open by shooting 69-67 to grab a four-shot lead. From there, however, nothing clicked.

His Saturday 77 that included 38 putts left Johnson with a share of the lead heading into Sunday’s final round. Being paired with buddy Brooks Koepka should have brought out the best in Johnson’s game. Instead, Johnson shot 70, which included three three-putts, and he wound up having the best seat in the house to view Koepka’s march to victory.

Sure, when the birdie putt on the 18th green dropped, the crowd roared. DJ is loved by the fans, most of whom are in awe of his power, his athleticism and the way he usually makes golf look so easy. He acknowledged the cheers, shook hands with the caddies and Koepka after the champion made his bogey putt, then walked up the sandy path toward the clubhouse. Paulina Gretzky was waiting at the top of the hill, and the two kissed briefly before walking around the ninth green, past fans who were screaming Johnson’s name and into the scorer’s shack.

Jun 17, 2018; Southampton, NY, USA; Dustin Johnson walks off the eighteenth green after completing the final round of the U.S. Open golf tournament at Shinnecock Hills GC - Shinnecock Hills Golf C. Mandatory Credit: Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

Dustin Johnson left Shinnecock Hills Sunday without talking to reporters (Shanna Lockwood/USA TODAY Sports)

Five minutes later, with scorecards signed and everything official, Johnson opened the door, turned right and handed an autographed ball to the standard bearer, who had held his name aloft all afternoon. Then he quickly turned on his heels and bounded down the three steps on the left side of the building. He walked faster than he ever moves on the course, making a beeline past radio interviewers and reporters, with his cellphone pressed hard against his right ear and agent David Winkle in tow.

A media handler whispered in his walkie-talkie microphone, “DJ has declined flash,” which is code for “Dustin Johnson is not talking to the media.”

Before going into the players locker room tent, Johnson yelled across the short-game area at his caddie and brother, Austin, and pointed to the parking lot. “The car! The car!” he said.

Moments later, carrying a wedge, a bottle of wine that was given to players as a gift and a white plastic bag, Johnson briskly moved to the walking bridge, Winkle alongside him carrying two more bags and Johnson’s TrackMan.

Fans called out to him, but he did not acknowledge them this time, instead hopping up the stairs two at a time, crossing over the road and heading to his car.

Johnson may play golf with a poker face, rarely showing emotions, but it was clear this loss stung him. After blowing majors at Whistling Straits, Pebble Beach, Royal St. George’s and Chambers Bay, he now can add a missed opportunity at Shinnecock Hills to his resume.

It was not supposed to work out like this. Gwk

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