Non-golfers won’t care that the US Open is being played and Dustin Johnson is leading…while playing through the wind this morning. He’s dominated and if these other guys can make up ground, I’d be shocked. Stroking his ego though is not the intent of this post. Whether Paulina Gretzky knew that Dustin was going to be a stud is what I’m investigating.
Before we dig into the numbers, let’s understand that Paulina is the offspring of Wayne “The Great One” Gretzky. With the NBA finals finishing, you hear a lot of LeBron vs MJ talk. With hockey, there is no question who the greatest player of all time is. It’s Wayne. It’s not even close. That 1.92 points per game says it all.
So now we know that Wayne is the greatest of all time and Paulina is his offspring… and she chose Dustin Johnson who is now the #1 ranked player in golf and establishing himself as the clear “best player in the world”. So when did she know he was great?
Let’s start with this, “In August 2013, she became engaged to professional golfer Dustin Johnson after seven months of dating“. So we’ll benchmark the very start of 2013 where she saw Dustin becoming a star. Let’s look at pre 2013.
Dustin’s first win came in 2008 when he won the now defunct Turning Stone Resort over Robert Allenby. He won two more times in 2009 and 2010 at the same lame AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am with one year being cut down to 54 holes. He had a chance to win his first major at the 2010 US Open when he shot a final round 82 after being the leader by 3 strokes after 3 rounds.
His next shot at a major also occurred in 2010 where he is best known for carrying a lead into the 18th hole of the PGA Championship only to ground his club and take a 2 stroke penalty.
More major history developed for DJ in 2011 when he went into the final round of the British open 1 stroke behind the leader and couldn’t close the deal losing by 4 to Darren Clarke.
It wasn’t all bad though as he won 2 BMW championships in 2010 and 2011, albeit in reduced fields of superior players. His 6th PGA victory game at the FedEx St Jude Classic in 2012 with a win over some guy named John Merrick. You’re getting the drift that this guy couldn’t close the front door.
To this point Dustin’s Players ranking since 2009 to 2013 were 52nd, 14th, 14th, 7th, and 22nd. Nothing to sneeze at, but no where near the world’s best. In 2013 he did manage to win another tournament, but it was once again shortened to 54 holes which doesn’t feel like a “real” win to me. Let’s remember that at this point, he had married Paulina.
In 2014, he developed “personal challenges” which everyone assumed was coke related because he was suspended by the PGA for reasons unknown. He was the year’s 22nd ranked player.
He came back in 2015 to win the WGC Cadillac and his first win since his leave. What happened next was the 2015 US open where he hit an UNBELIEVABLE 5 iron on a par 5 that gave him an eagle putt for the win, or a birdie for a playoff. This clip doesn’t even show his shot to get to the eagle op, but he was right there.
Getting Back On Track
Dustin was close, but he seemed like a choke artist who couldn’t win a major. He finished as the 8th ranked golfer in 2015 and I’m pinpointed this is where the Paulina Effect flipped a switched.
In June of 2016, DJ won his first major, the US Open at Oakmont. He won by 3 strokes but there was a curious controversy that the PGA assessed a penalty to DJ after the round because of this:
He won by 3 strokes so it didn’t matter. This was when DJ became DJ. He went on to win the WGC Bridgestone a month later and then the BMW Championship 3 months later. He finished the season as the #2 golfer and full steam ahead.
He won an absurd 4 times in 2017 and finished as the #1 ranked golfer. It would be remiss not to add the peculiar Masters withdraw when he fell down some stairs and people automatically assumed he was binging again. This was more of the same questions of what the hell is up with this guy.
Dustin has regained the #1 ranking and his win last week as St Jude’s in blow out fashion by 6 strokes is not an every occurrence at a professional golf event… except when he did it earlier this year with an 8 stroke victory over John Rahm in the Sentry Tournament. This guy is not messing around and if you watched him play the last 2 days, he’s leading the field, WHILE PLAYING THROUGH THE WIND. Chalk it up!
All that being said, Dustin Johnson only has 1 major victory in his belt. I always had him pegged as a choke artist, but that pendulum is swinging. He BOMBS the ball off the tee. The sound the ball makes off his club is smashing. Here’s him Happy Gilmoring par 4’s.
He holds the record for longest drive this year at 430 yards. His average driving distance on tour is 313.9 yards. His adjusted round score (an average of difficulty of course and strength of field over 75 rounds) is 1st place at 67.7 which is a full .4 ahead of Justin Rose and Justin Thomas. He is without a doubt, the best golfer on the planet right now and we are watching it.
Once he went away in 2014, he came back rejuvenated as a family man who got clean and started a family. His transformation occurred with her in his life. I personally think it’s all Wayne. When you read that history there isn’t a time where you’re like, “this guy is going to be the best golfer on the planet.” He wasn’t winning majors at 22 like Spieth. He wasn’t closing out tournaments like Tiger. He wasn’t doing much of anything aside from being an above average tour player and blowing majors. Now he’s the best in the world.