Dustin Johnson in the hunt after 3-under 67 at PGA Championship

Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Dustin Johnson in the hunt after 3-under 67 at PGA Championship

PGA Tour

Dustin Johnson in the hunt after 3-under 67 at PGA Championship

ST. LOUIS – It’s almost funny to watch Dustin Johnson play golf at these things because he’s so very different from a good number of tightly-wound PGA Championship competitors.

He’s different with his length of the tee, but also very much in how he reacts when one of those tee shots starts going the wrong direction.

A lot of guys slam their clubs, lean one way or the other, beg the ball to somehow get back on line.

Johnson just watches it soar off to the right, into the water hazard at the par-5 17th, as if he’s already made peace with the end result before the ball lands. The interviews are a little different too.

“Hit a lot of good shots,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of good putts. Made a few, missed a few.”

A brief but accurate assessment.

Johnson shot 3-under 67 Thursday in Round 1 of the PGA Championship and sits three shots back of outright leader Gary Woodland. The World No. 1 was 5 under and tied for the lead at one point late in the afternoon, finishing with a pair of bogeys to fall off pace.

“I just hit poor tee shots coming home,” Johnson said.

He was able to identify his ball in the water with some help from caddie A.J., playing partner Bubba Watson and a nearby marshall but still finished with a bogey.

Johnson was in trouble off the tee again at 18, missing right but with a decent look at the green. He threw a nice, easy swing at it and two-putted for par from there.

He was 1 over through 5 holes but regrouped with three straight birdies at Nos. 6-8. He added another birdie trio at 11-13, at which point the sun was becoming uncomfortable as the nearby buzz grew and fans wandered over to get a look at the current top dog.

It’s nothing new for Johnson – the galleries, tying for a lead at a major, banging out post-round interviews with impressive efficiency – who is looking for his second career major on a track that seems very suited to his game.

Johnson is back at it with Adam Scott and Bubba Watson at 8:28 a.m. ET Friday for Round 2, and he was asked if there’s a difference between playing in the morning or afternoon.

“It doesn’t matter,” Johnson said. “Hopefully it’s in the afternoon on the weekend.”

Latest

More Golfweek
Home