Bob MacIntyre: Dustin Johnston is man to beat in US Open

Scot would love to be going down the stretch with world No.1 on Sunday
Dustin JohnsonDustin Johnson
Dustin Johnson

Scottish star Bob MacIntyre reckons golf’s man of the moment, Dustin Johnson, will be hard to beat in this week’s US Open after turning from hacker to cracker in the build up to the event at Winged Foot.

Johnson, the 2016 winner at Oakmont, looked to be in complete and utter disarray when he shot back-to-back 80s to miss the cut in the Memorial Tournament on the PGA Tour in the middle of July.

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He then withdrew from the 3M Open the following week after an opening 78, but his form since then has been simply scintillating.

Johnson has won two of his past five events, finished second in two others and is a combined 74-under-par for 20 rounds.

That blistering run of form has taken him back to world No 1 and he’s also heading into this week’s second major of the year as the newly-announced PGA Tour Player of the Year.

“He has been unbelievable,” said MacIntyre of the American and fellow TaylorMade player. “Since the start of August, after the Memorial where he had a nightmare, he has just flicked a switch and he’s gone from one DJ to another.”

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Referring to Johnson having capped his blistering run with victory in the Tour Championship in Atlanta to claim the FedEx Cup for the first time, the Scot added: “He was unstoppable. Nothing fazes him.

“I watched the highlight reel of all his hole-outs on social media, and how he reacts. If I’m holing out to win a golf tournament, I’m going to be going mental.

“He just waves his hand and then saunters up and picks the ball out of the hole as if it’s what he does. He has been through it all.”

MacIntyre is making his US Open debut at the Mamaroneck venue, which is located about an hour from Manhattan, along with compatriots Connor Syme and Sandy Scott. But, having finished in a tie for sixth when he was in the same position in last year’s Open at Royal Portrush, the 24-year-old left-hander from Oban is hoping he can make his presence felt on the leaderboard.

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“I would,” he said in reply to being asked if he’d welcome going head-to-head with Johnson down the stretch on Sunday. “It’s about being uncomfortable when I don’t have a choice. If I’m playing great golf, I’m in that position because of my golf, whereas I don’t have to feel uncomfortable when I’ve got a choice.

“I don’t need to go and put my name in a hat with [Phil] Mickelson and Tiger [Woods] to play practice rounds when I don’t know these guys, and they don’t know me. I have looked up to these guys.

“I can’t control who I come down the stretch with, but all I know is if I’m coming down the stretch with DJ on a Sunday I’m doing something right. It’s about almost going to war.”