Remembering Dustin Johnson's 2010 US Open Meltdown

The big-hitting 25-year-old looked set for Major glory at Pebble Beach, until it all went wrong...

The big-hitting 25-year-old looked set for Major glory at Pebble Beach, until it all went wrong...

Remembering Dustin Johnson's 2010 US Open Meltdown

Dustin Johnson is one of his generation's greatest players, with 20 PGA Tour victories including a Major and six WGCs by the age of 34.

He has also spent 91 weeks as the World's Number One player, which is the fifth-longest reign.

However, go back nine years to the 2010 US Open and DJ was a young 25-year-old big-hitting prospect who looked set to win his national Open and capture that Major nice and early in his career.

Back then, DJ was known purely as a huge hitter and was by no means a household name like he is now, with just three PGA Tour titles to his name.

Two of those titles had come at Pebble Beach and it looked like he was on his way to lifting the US Open at the famed California venue after building a three stroke lead with just 18 holes to play.

DJ was in the driver's seat with 18 holes to play. (ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

“In those situations, you just have to remind yourself to be patient,” he said the night before.

“That’s what I’m going to have to do.”

Was he patient the next day? Anything but.

What followed was shocking to watch and went down as one of the worst final round meltdowns seen in a Major this century.

DJ was playing with eventual winner Graeme McDowell and gave up his three stroke advantage after just two holes when he made a triple-bogey 7 at the 2nd.

(ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

After striping his drive some 340 yards down the middle of the fairway, he was left with 165 yards and a 9 iron in to the par-4.

He pushed it right into deep rough atop the greenside bunker and chunked it some three yards out left-handed into the rough closer to the green.

(Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

This was by no means a nightmare just yet, as he could still get it up-and-down for bogey. But he quickly hit his next and went straight under the ball in an attempted flop shot that travelled less than a yard.

A decent pitch followed, leaving him a four footer for double which he missed. Disaster.

(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

It wasn't to get any better, as he then tugged his drive left on the par-4 3rd and had to re-load, with his third going into a fairway bunker.

Needing an up-and-down for bogey, he hit a lovely wedge shot to some 10ft and lipped out. Double.

Suddenly, after starting the day three ahead of G-Mac, DJ found himself two behind the experienced Northern Irishman who was playing the best golf of his career under the most intense pressure at Pebble.

Johnson had the short par-4 fourth ahead of him and a birdie chance and bounce-back beckoned, but he would send his drive out right and over the cliff face.

DJ pushes his tee shot on 4. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

He dropped out left and then hit a sublime wedge shot to five feet but his downhill left-to-right putt agonisingly lipped out.

Four holes after holding a three stroke lead, he was six over par for the day and three back of the lead.

(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

There was still plenty of golf to play though, but unfortunately for DJ it didn't really get any better.

Pars at five and six were then followed with another bogey at the short par-3 7th and then further dropped shots at 11, 12, 16 and 17 dropped him to five over par, 11 over for the day and five behind Graeme McDowell.

It was his first real taste of being in the hunt at a Major, but he was back again in contention just a couple of months later at the USPGA Championship at Whistling Straits.

That is remembered for when he grounded his club in a 'sandy area' on the 72nd hole and after believing he had made a playoff, he was then penalised a stroke to miss out by one.

He was the T2nd at the 2011 Open Championship where he fired a long iron well out of bounds right at Royal St. George's whilst chasing Darren Clarke.

Four Major top 10s later he found himself with a 12ft putt to win the US Open at Chambers Bay, five years after his disaster at Pebble Beach. Three putts later and he was once again being called a choker.

Luckily for DJ, he was smiling in 2016 after closing out the US Open in emphatic style to finally lift his Major Championship.

It has been a rollercoaster ride for the American in the Majors so far in his career, with no fewer that 17 top-10s in Majors throughout his career.

He has finished 2nd and T2nd in the opening two Majors of 2019 and there is definitely a feeling that he'll win more - won't he?

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Elliott Heath
News Editor

Elliott Heath is our News Editor and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016 after graduating with a degree in Sports Journalism. He manages the Golf Monthly news team as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. He covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as five Open Championships on-site including the 150th at St Andrews. His first Open was in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, when he walked inside the ropes with Jordan Spieth during the Texan's memorable Claret Jug triumph. He has played 35 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Western Gailes, Old Head and Turnberry. He has been obsessed with the sport since the age of 8 and currently plays off of a six handicap. His golfing highlights are making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, shooting an under-par round, playing in the Aramco Team Series on the Ladies European Tour and making his one and only hole-in-one at the age of 15 - a long time ago now!

Elliott is currently playing:

Driver: Titleist TSR4

3 wood: Titleist TSi2

Hybrids: Titleist 816 H1

Irons: Mizuno MP5 5-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Srixon Z Star XV