Dustin Johnson (Getty Images)
American Ryder Cup star Dustin Johnson aims to prove his credentials on European soil at this week’s BMW International Open.
The four-time US PGA Tour winner celebrated his 27th birthday on the eve of the event in Germany, and believes he has what it takes to succeed away from the home comforts of America.
Johnson comes into the event on the back of a 23rd-place finish at last week’s US Open Championship, where he had a front-row seat for Rory McIlroy’s golfing masterclass as the two of them played together over the opening two rounds.
“It was a good week, obviously I struggled a little bit,” said Johnson. “I hit it poorly with the irons, and around that course, if you're not hitting it close to the hole, you're going to have a tough time. I just really struggled, but I hung in there and had a good weekend. You know, went from barely making the cut to tied 23rd, so it wasn't a bad week.
“Well, I played with him the first two days, and he just played, you know, really solid golf. He drove it in the fairway, hit it close to the hole, and he putted pretty good. He didn't putt great, but he holed the putts he was supposed to. From tee to green, he just hit it beautifully. I knew if he kept playing like that, then no one was going to beat him.
“I've played a bunch of golf with him, so I know he's good. And so you know it was just - it was good to see him continue his brilliant play through the weekend - he didn't make really any mistakes except for on 18 on Friday. But I mean, you're going to make a mistake. That was the only one he made though, I think, pretty much all week. When you have four rounds like that, I mean, especially at a US Open, you're going to win.”
Johnson revealed that a chat with US PGA Championship winner Martin Kaymer shaped his decision to travel to Munich, in what will be his last appearance before The Open Championship.
“I've known him for a while,” he added. “I mean, we're friends, so we talk a lot whenever I see him at tournaments or wherever, we always talk or chat.
“The first few years on Tour, I didn't really travel. This year, I wanted to travel and play a little more international, so I'm going to do that and I'm going to probably continue to play a few events every year overseas.
“I just want to travel. Wanted to play in other places other than just the US - I like travelling, I like playing for people everywhere, and I like visiting different countries. It's good that I can do that and come and play golf.
“Obviously I've got a lot of international friends. They talk about tournaments and when they fit in the schedule, because right now, I was going to have three weeks off after The US Open, but obviously I come here so now I only have two weeks off.
“This is a great event and I think they do a great job. I'm very happy to come here and play.”