It was a good weekend for Dustin Johnson, who finished tied for second in the RBC Canadian Open with three others.
Or was it?
Johnson was tied for first after he birdied the 16th hole in the final round. But instead of pushing hard on the final two holes and putting a ton of pressure on eventual winner Brandt Snedeker, Johnson lost his concentration and shot a triple-bogey seven on the 17th hole.
Johnson had been playing stellar golf until he got to the 17th. His consistency had put him in a position to mount a late charge.
Dustin Johnson's last 41 holes of the week: 1 eagle, 16 birdies, 0 bogeys, 1 triple-bogey.— Justin Ray (@JRayESPNGolf) July 28, 2013
Johnson blamed his driver for his problems on the critical hole. "I was playing really well," Johnson told CBS Sports. "Really confident, swinging the driver really good. So you know, it's a driver hole for me, and I just blocked it a little bit. Made a poor swing. ... Not too happy, but I felt really good with my golf game."
A critical error came at a critical time for Johnson. Unfortunately, that's nothing new for Johnson.
Snedeker wins the Canadian Open by 3 after finishing on -16. Dustin Johnson helped somewhat by trebling 17! #golf— Golf Predictor (@GolfPredictor) July 28, 2013
While Johnson is regularly a contender in nearly every tournament he enters, he has had difficulties finishing tournaments and coming home with the first-place check and the championship hardware.
While he can take some in spending his time away from the course with girlfriend Paulina Gretzky—which has made him fodder for TMZ, People and other gossip-oriented media outlets—Johnson has to stop slipping up at the biggest moments.
Johnson's biggest gaffe came in the 2010 PGA Championship when he was given a two-stroke penalty in the final round after he grounded his club in a very hard-to-distinguish bunker. Had he not been hit with that penalty, Johnson would have been in a playoff for that major championship with Martin Kaymer and Bubba Watson. Kaymer eventually won.
Johnson would rebound nicely at the end of the 2010 season, but he had problems again in 2011 when he shot a fourth-round 71 after shooting 69-69-65 in the first three rounds of the WGC-Cadillac Championship. That forced him to settle for second place.
In the British Open later that year, Johnson was again in position to win. But when the money was on the table in the final round, he could only come through with a 72 and was forced to settle for a tie for second as Darren Clarke took home the claret jug.
Johnson also made critical errors in the 2012 Deutsche Bank Classic. After firing 67-68-65 in the first three rounds, he shot a mediocre 70 in the final round and was forced to settle for fourth place.
Johnson had final-round mistakes this year prior to his problems in Canada. He shot 74 or worse in three of his last seven final rounds, including the U.S. Open and the British Open.
Few golfers have the ability to hit the ball for distance or hit brilliant shots under the most difficult circumstances, but Johnson has to do it with the consistency that has evaded his game to this point in his career.
Until he can do that, he'll be known for his near-misses and his notable girlfriend but not for his championship performances.