That 18th hole three-putt ultimately changed Dustin Johnson's career for the better, leading him to vindication at Oakmont in 2016 and earning him Golf's player of the year and an Alan Shipnuck profile.
There is a lot to take in--if you can pop some dramamine to deal with the jittery webpage--including where Johnson disappeared to instead of attending the trophy ceremony. He had to pack the family car for Gozzer!
That night, the family retreated to a rental home to gather their belongings; they'd be flying to Gozzer for a previously scheduled trip. Johnson insisted on carrying out all of their suitcases and loading them into SUVs. When Wayne expressed concern about Johnson's back, the golfer shot back, "After the way I played today, this is what I deserve."
The next morning, at 7 a.m., Wayne teed off at Gozzer with his cronies, a sprawling group that includes Mike Mattivi, a 16-handicapper who is also a part of the regular games at Sherwood. Johnson said he would join them on the first tee, but no one was surprised when he didn't show. They were in the second fairway when a ball whistled over their heads. "We all knew it was Dustin," Mattivi says. "He comes roaring up and says, "I told y'all to wait for me!" After what he had just been through at Chambers Bay, I was shocked. Most guys would spend a week in bed, hugging their pillow, but this kid loves the game so much he didn't want to miss out on the fun."
The second hole at Gozzer Ranch is a 589-yard par 5; Johnson smashed an 8-iron to four feet for an eagle try. "He's standing there waiting for us to give it to him," Mattivi says. "And one of our buddies goes, "Dustin, that would normally be good, but since you missed one about that length 12 hours ago, you're gonna have to putt it." Dustin laughed so damn hard. He knows we love him no matter how many 4-footers he might miss."