ST ANDREWS, Scotland (Reuters) - Dustin Johnson refuses to get too downcast about his costly late blunder at last month’s U.S. Open and believes he has still “got what it takes” to land a breakthrough victory in a major championship.
The big-hitting American has been close several times and at Chambers Bay four weeks ago he had the trophy in his grasp before agonizingly three-putting the final hole to hand the title to compatriot Jordan Spieth.
“It gives me the confidence to know I have what it takes to win,” Johnson told reporters ahead of this week’s British Open at St Andrews.
”I think I showed that at the U.S. Open. Coming down the back nine I was hitting the shots I wanted to hit, unfortunately the ball wasn’t bouncing in the hole.
“I played really well that week. I was happy with the way I played and the way I handled myself coming down the last few holes,” Johnson said on Monday.
“It wasn’t too difficult to get over it. Obviously I was a little disappointed I didn’t get the job done but I was definitely happy with the way I played.”
Johnson has suffered a string of major championship near-misses, starting at the 2010 U.S. Open where he fell away after going into the final round holding a three-stroke lead.
Two months later he was again at the top of the leaderboard with one hole to play at the U.S. PGA Championship but incurred a controversial two-shot penalty for grounding his club while deemed to be in a fairway bunker.
Johnson also finished joint runner-up behind Britain’s Darren Clarke at the 2011 British Open and he feels it is just a matter of time before he captures the first prize in one of the ‘Big Four’ championships.
”I think every situation you learn from,“ he said. ”I try to look at them as learning opportunities.
“Each one helps me get closer to actually getting a major.”
Johnson will play alongside Spieth and Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama in Thursday’s first round at St Andrews.
Editing by Ed Osmond