Dustin Johnson Made History on Friday at the PGA Championship but Not the Good Kind
There’s a wild weekend ahead at the 2021 PGA Championship but world No. 1 Dustin Johnson won’t be a part of it. The South Carolina native was one of many high-profile players to miss the cut at Kiawah Island on Friday as gusty winds proved difficult for everyone in the 156-player field and took the scoring average to 75.15 over the first two days at the Ocean Course. Only 24 players are at par or better heading into the final 36 holes and with leaders Phil Mickelson and Louis Oosthuizen (what year is this?) sitting at just 5-under, it’s anyone’s tournament to win right now.
But DJ will be watching on TV with the rest of us as the drama unfolds on Saturday and Sunday as he’s headed home early for the second straight major championship. Johnson also missed the cut at The Masters last month and this marks the first time in his career that he’s missed consecutive major cuts in the same year. What that also means is that he’s made a little major championship history but it’s not the good kind.
Dustin Johnson was one of many big-name players to miss the cut at the PGA Championship
Following a 4-over round of 76 on Thursday, Johnson started his second round on a positive note with a birdie at the par-4 10th. But over his next 14 holes, he shot 5-over, dropping him to 8-over for the week. With the cut line projected at 5-over, which is where it stayed, DJ did give himself a chance to make the weekend with an eagle at the par-5 seventh. But a bogey at the eighth essentially sealed his fate and while he did make birdie at the ninth to card a 74, he came up one stroke shy at 6-over.
Johnson certainly isn’t the only big name that will miss out on the fun (and a paycheck) this weekend as the world’s second-ranked player, Justin Thomas, missed the cut as well. JT made a late charge of his own but also finished at 6-over. World No. 4 Xander Schauffele is also headed home after following up an opening-round 73 with a 5-over 77 on Friday. Major champions Adam Scott and Sergio Garcia were bounced as well.
Johnson is the first top-ranked player to miss consecutive major cuts since Greg Norman in 1997
As mentioned, this is the first time in Johnson’s career that he’s missed consecutive major cuts in the same season. But it’s the first time overall as he missed out on the weekend at the 2016 PGA Championship at Baltusrol and then again at the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills. DJ missed The Masters in 2017 after that unfortunate fall down the stairs.
With his missed cut at Augusta last month combined with this week’s disappointment at Kiawah Island, Johnson became the first No. 1 player in the Official World Golf Ranking to miss consecutive major championship cuts since 1997 when Greg Norman missed out on the weekend at The Masters and the U.S. Open.
DJ hasn’t finished higher than 13th in his last seven starts
Following his victory at The Masters last November, Johnson finished 11th or better in each of his next three starts, including a win on the European Tour at the Saudi International. But here’s what he’s done in his last seven outings:
- WGC-Workday Championship: T-54
- The Players Championship: T-48
- WGC-Match Play: T-28
- The Masters: MC
- RBC Heritage: T-13
- Valspar Championship: T-48
- PGA Championship: MC
Johnson was also scheduled to play the Byron Nelson a couple of weeks back but withdrew due to knee discomfort. While this is purely speculation, maybe this is a bigger issue than we realize. Is this recent rough stretch the biggest deal in the world? Certainly not. But something’s clearly been off lately as we got used to seeing DJ in contention each and every time he teed it up. We’ll just have to wait and see how he responds.