HAVEN, WISCONSIN | As Dustin Johnson stood on the first tee Sunday awaiting his Ryder Cup singles match against Paul Casey – who will be seeing Johnson in his dreams for a while after facing him four times in three days at Whistling Straits – the bleacher creatures found their voice.
To the tune of ‘Olé, olé, olé,’ the American fans inserted Johnson’s initials instead, serenading the 37-year-old with a couple of choruses of ‘DJ, DJ, DJ … ’
On a team of young stars, Johnson stood out at Whistling Straits, playing like the second-ranked player in the world and accomplishing what few ever have. He didn’t so much look like the oldest player on the U.S. team but a seemingly timeless talent.
With his 1-up victory against Casey in their singles match, Johnson became just the fifth player in Ryder Cup history to post a 5-0 record.
He joined Arnold Palmer and Gardner Dickinson (1967), Larry Nelson (1979) and Francesco Molinari (2018) in that most exclusive Ryder Cup club.
“I had good partners,” Johnson said in the team’s rollicking post-Ryder Cup news conference that offered a hint of the celebration to follow.
“I saw classic Dustin. He played great golf. Tip my cap.”
After a season that felt flat by Johnson’s elevated standards – he has not won in 2021 but he did have four top-10 finishes in his past six starts – the Ryder Cup showed again why Johnson has spent 135 weeks ranked atop the Official World Golf Ranking. He’s had seven separate stints in the No. 1 spot, the most recent ending this July.
“I saw classic Dustin,” said Casey, who missed a 10-foot putt on the 18th green Sunday that would have given him a tie with Johnson. “He played great golf. Tip my cap.
“Disappointed I didn’t make a putt on the last to tie that match. I know he wanted 5-0 for the week.”
Normally reticent, Johnson was in an understandably playful mood after the matches ended. At one point, he found himself with two hand-held microphones in the team’s interview session. When Johnson answered a question, Collin Morikawa followed it by saying, “That’s 5-0 ladies and gentlemen.”
“5-0,” Tony Finau chimed in.
“You’re joining … I think maybe the fourth man in history,” Morikawa said.
When Johnson tried to deflect the praise, Morikawa persisted.
“No, no DJ, that was unbelievable,” Morikawa said.
“Collin and Xander, very good partners,” Johnson said. “Thank you for making my record.”
“No,” Schauffele said, “thank you.”
When it was suggested Johnson and Morikawa had developed a bromance at the Ryder Cup, neither denied it. Perhaps a bit like Tommy Fleetwood and Francesco Molinari did at the 2018 Ryder Cup in Paris.
That duo ended up in bed together for a brief video skit involving the Ryder Cup.
Would Johnson do something similar?
“If you want me to, absolutely,” Johnson said. “I ain’t scared.”
Ron Green Jr.