Who is Dustin Johnson?
Dustin Johnson is an American professional golfer, who has been playing on the PGA Tour since late 2007. Born to a golfer father, he was introduced to golf early in his life. He learnt the game mostly from watching others and soon developing a passion for it. He won the state junior championship at the age of fourteen. Aspiring to play on the PGA Tour, he entered Coastal Carolina University because playing at college was a precondition for joining the Tour. Dustin Johnson began his professional career soon after his graduation at the age of 23. He earned his 2008 PGA Tour card by finishing in a tie for 14th place at the 2007 qualifying school. He won his first PGA Tour event in the following year. Since then, he has been on a winning spree, bagging twenty-four PGA Tour and six World Golf Championship victories. He is the first player to win each of the four World Golf Championship events.
Childhood & Early Years
Dustin Johnson was born June 22, 1984 in Columbia, South Carolina, USA. His father, Scott Johnson, was the head professional golfer at the Mid Carolina Club and ran a pro shop with his wife, Kandee nee Whisnant. Born eldest of his parents’ three children, Dustin has two younger siblings; Austin and Laurie.
Dustin Johnson was introduced to golf by his father when he was six years old. Very soon, he developed a passion for the game and turned into an amateur golfer. He made it to the Irmo High School varsity team while studying at seventh grade.
At the age of fourteen, he shot a pair of 64s on consecutive days to set records at both Coldstream Country Club in Irmo and Golden Hills Golf & Country Club in Lexington. Also in the same year, he won the state junior championship.
His parents divorced sometime in the late 1990s. While Dustin and Laurie stayed back with their father, Austin moved in with their mother. Although they moved between the two establishments, the break affected Dustin very badly and he took transfer to Dutch Fork High School.
Dustin Johnson started skipping school while studying in his sophomore year at Dutch Fork. He also got involved with an older teenage group, by whom he was coerced into joining a burglary attempt, helping them to pawn the stolen goods. He was later arrested; but was set free once the restitution was paid.
In his senior year, Dustin realized that if he wanted fulfill his goal of playing on the PGA Tour, he must study because tradition required that one must play in the college before one could play on PGA. He therefore decided to rectify his course and work hard.
After graduating from school, he entered Coastal Carolina University with Sports Management. Here he had Allen Terrell as his coach, who made sure that Dustin not only practiced hard, but also attended his classes.
Under Terrell’s guidance, Dustin Johnson began to blossom, earning All-Big South honors at the Big South Conference Championship in his freshman year. Later, he also won the Monroe Invitational and the Northeast Amateur. He also played on the winning 2007 Walker Cup and Palmer Cup teams.
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In late 2007, Dustin Johnson began his professional career, appearing on the PGA Tour, finishing in a tie for 14th place at the 2007 qualifying school in December. Ten months later on October 5, 2008, he won his first PGA Tour event, the Turning Stone Resort Championship.
On February 15, 2009, he won his second event at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. In April 2009, he participated in the 2009 Masters Tournament, becoming the second person to eagle consecutive holes in the Tournament history, finishing the season ranked 15th on the PGA Tour money list.
On February 14, 2010, he successfully defended his AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am title. Thereafter, he suffered a string of loses, eventually winning the BMW Championship on September 12, finishing the season ranked 4th on the PGA Tour money list.
In July 2011, he traveled to England to take part in the 2011 Open Championship in Kent, earning his the-then best finish, tying for second place alongside Phil Mickelson, three strokes behind champion Darren Clarke. As a result, he moved to the seventh spot in the Official World Golf Ranking.
On August 27, 2011, Dustin Johnson won his fifth PGA Tour title at The Barclays, a win that took him to the second highest American rankings. But because he failed to record further win that season, he finished fourth in the final ranking.
In early 2012, Johnson incurred a back injury, as a result of which he had to miss number of tournaments. In May he returned to the competition with the Memorial Tournament in Ohio, making his first seasonal win at FedEx St. Jude Classic in Memphis, Tennessee on June 10.
He began 2013 with a win at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions on January 8.� On November 3, he won the WGC-HSBC Champions, held at the Sheshan Golf Club in Shanghai, China, finishing three strokes ahead of the defending champion Ian Poulter.
In 2014, Dustin Johnson took leave of absence from competitions due to “personal challenges”, returning to professional golf in February 2015. On March 8, he won the WGC-Cadillac Championship.
In 2016, he claimed his first major title when he won the 2016 United States Open Championship on June 19. Later in the same year, he also won WGC-Bridgestone Invitational (July 3) and BMW Championship (September 11).
On February 19, 2017, he moved to number one position in the Official World Golf Ranking with his win at the Genesis Open. Continuing to win, he claimed the WGC-Mexico Championship on March 5, WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play on March 26 and The Northern Trust on August 27.
He began the 2018 by winning the Sentry Tournament of Champions with an eight-stroke victory over Jon Rahm on January 7. It was followed by two more wins; FedEx St. Jude Classic on June 10 and RBC Canadian Open on July 19. He also represented the US team in the Ryder Cup.
On February 3, 2019, Dustin Johnson won the inaugural Saudi International on the European Tour, beating Li Haotong by two strokes. On 24 February, he won the WGC-Mexico Championship and played on the U.S. team at the 2019 Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Australia under Tiger Wood’s captaincy in December.
He began 2020 by winning Travelers Championship on June 28. Continuing to win, he claimed three more titles in the same year; The Northern Trust on August 23, Tour Championship on September 7 and finally the Masters Tournament on November 15.
On February 7, 2021, he won the Saudi International for the second time in three years. It was a tough fight and the win extended his lead at the top of the world rankings. It was also his 9th victory on the European Tour.
Family & Personal Life
Dustin Johnson is in a long time relationship with model and singer Paulina Gretzky, with whom he has two sons, Tatum Gretzky Johnson (born in 2015) and River Jones Johnson (born in 2017). The couple has officially been dating since early 2013 and got engaged in August 2013.