While 2010 has been a "breakout" year of sorts for Dustin Johnson, he will mostly be remembered for a couple of Sunday blunders at two of the four majors.
The infamous Sunday "blowup" at Pebble Beach not only was tough for him to swallow, it was hard for fans and other professionals to watch. You don't wish that sort of day upon any professional golfer, especially an emerging talent trying to establish his name in the large list of talented golfers.
But at Whistling Straits, we saw a different Johnson than the one who walked around Pebble trying to figure out why exactly "Murphy's Law" decided to visit him on such an important day. After playing brilliantly the first three rounds of the PGA Championship, he looked confident and played smart for 17 holes yesterday.
Unfortunately one bad drive left him with a tough shot, lying in a bunker which was hard to determine. However, according to the numerous local rules sheets, any portion of sand that resembles anything like a bunker is deemed to be one. And, unknowingly, Johnson grounded his club.
It was hard to watch as the events unfolded: his shot over the green, followed with a brilliant shot, yet missing the putt for par and seemingly the win, all the while still believing he would have a chance to win in a three man playoff.
The rest will be forever remembered as one of the biggest blunders in the history of major championships, already being compared to the infamous Roberto Di Vincenzo signing an incorrect scorecard, costing him the 1968 Masters.
But if you know anything about Johnson and what he has overcome in his personal life, you can be assured that these blunders will be rectified by his play in the coming years.
Living in South Carolina, I have heard many of the stories about Johnson that are past: the good and the bad. However, through each of the stories there is one constant: his character is never put into question. The mistakes he has made have always been attributed to a lack of judgment in a short time from the people who know him better than anyone else who can pass judgment on the situations. What stands out about the young golfer is that every mistakes he has made, he has taken responsibility and has done what he can to right his wrong.
He has always been somewhat of a legend around South Carolina golf courses, and it has been interesting to hear the stories since I was in high school, and seeing him rise where he is today by working hard and focusing on his goals.
These mistakes will fuel the fire Johnson uses to prepare his game, and in 2011, I would be surprised if one major championship trophy is not engraved with the name Dustin Johnson.
While the consensus may be that Johnson's 2010 campaign was disappointing, he might not view it the same. If anything this has been a bittersweet year for the 26 year old. He knows that he has propelled himself into the ranks of some of the most respected touring professionals, but he also realizes how close he was to putting himself on the fast track to a "hall of fame like" start in his career.
He can rest easy realizing that in 2010, he finished in the top 14 in three majors, successfully defended his AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am title, and has earned himself his first Ryder Cup appearance. He also ranks 11th on the money list with just under $2.77 million for the year.
If this is chalked up as a disappointing year for the rising star, I cannot wait to see what the future holds for him.