(Editor’s be aware: This is Part V in a seven-part series on the life and profession of reigning Masters champion Dustin Johnson. Check again to Golfweek.com every day for the subsequent a part of the story.)
Dustin Johnson wasn’t in search of a brand new caddie when he discovered the perfect bagman within the Land Down Under: his youthful brother, Austin.
“He knows me better than anyone,” Dustin mentioned. “And I can trust my brother 100 percent. Besides myself, no one wants me to win more than him. It’s cool to have that trust and that type of relationship out there with me.”
While Johnson turned professional in 2007, it wasn’t till the autumn of 2013 that Johnson & Johnson grew to become a staff. The Johnsons have been on a working trip in Australia and Dustin’s fiancée, Paulina Gretzky, prompt that Austin take up the position of caddie for the Perth International. So Austin caddied for the primary time and Johnson tied for twelfth.
After per week of R&R, they headed to China for the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions. Johnson determined towards flying out his common caddie, Bobby Brown, and rolled to victory in Shanghai with Austin.
“He’s been on the bag ever since,” Johnson mentioned.
The two have been working mates now for greater than 30 years. While Dustin, 36, is three years older, they have been not often separated on the fields of play rising up. Both have been excellent athletes and fell in love with golf when their father, Scott, a membership professional, took them to golf programs and driving ranges every day throughout the summer season, the place the 2 would spend most each minute of daylight after which typically even after dusk hitting golf balls.
“It was pretty normal, the older brother, younger brother relationship,” Dustin mentioned. “We hung out a lot when we were younger. He was a pretty good athlete but I always beat up on him playing sports because I was bigger.”
Austin wouldn’t have wished it another method.
“I guess not all brothers are close, but we’ve always been close,” he mentioned. “We fought like crazy when we were growing up. You could always tell he was way better than all the kids in our area. I was one of the best golfers in my age so it didn’t bother me with him being better than me. It drove me more than anything.”
Colt Knost, who gained the 2007 U.S. Amateur and was Dustin’s roommate all through a lot of his latter days in novice golf and his first yr as a professional, mentioned the 2 Johnsons are a perfect match – calm, collected and chill personified.
“Dustin doesn’t need a guy that’s going to jump on him or be intense,” Knost mentioned. “They’re both just like, ‘All right, no big deal, we made a bogey.’”
To Joey Diovisalvi, DJ’s coach, the 2 are mainly one.
“AJ has an amazingly high golf IQ,” he mentioned. “AJ has this unbelievable sense of dedication to Dustin and himself, the place he takes this sense of delight in every part he does on the golf course. As does DJ.
“There is a camaraderie that exists between the two that is sort of an unbreakable bond. They’ve gotten into it a few times but the uniqueness of both of them is they know how to move on from that.”
The caddie change, nevertheless, was met with criticism. The pondering was that the change from an skilled caddie made no sense for the carefree Johnson, whose mishaps on the golf course had began to pile up. He wanted a steadying, veteran affect, it was mentioned and written.
But DJ does what DJ does. And the 2 have teamed for 18 titles, together with main triumphs on the 2016 U.S. Open and 2020 Masters.
“I definitely heard all the noise about it being a bad decision, so I just put my head down, forgot the noise and accepted the highs and lows and went to work,” Austin mentioned. “And I knew Dustin had my back.”
AJ grew to become a sponge throughout apply and event rounds, gathering up as a lot info by watching his new caddie colleagues akin to Joe LaCava, Jim “Bones” Mackay, John Wood, Scott Vail, Mike “Fluff” Cowan and Mark Fulcher.
“I just learned from the best,” Austin mentioned.
And grew to become among the finest.
“Conservatively, he’s tied for the best on the PGA Tour and he very well may be the best at reading greens,” Mackay mentioned. “That’s a huge thing. It’s so obvious that Dustin relies on him a tremendous amount. Dustin is winning more and he looks way more comfortable doing it with his brother out there.”
Austin has finished far more than simply learn greens. Along with a number of others, Austin satisfied Dustin to work tougher on his wedge play and his older brother discovered the sunshine in 2016 when he found TrackMan, a launch monitor that delivers exact analytics for ball seed, spin fee, carry distance and far more.
“When he first got out there, he was always aggressive, hitting driver on every hole and going for every par 5 in two no matter what,” Austin mentioned. “He didn’t actually work on his weaknesses.
“I don’t wish to take credit score for it however once I acquired on the bag, I regarded on the stats and he was the perfect driver within the sport however he was driving it into his weak spot – the wedges. So he began engaged on his weak spot. And he’s gone from again of the pack to center of the pack and towards the entrance of the pack with his wedges.
“Now we have a putting system and that’s been working. Now he has a chance to win every week. It’s not rocket science. It’s pretty simple. Attack your weakness.”
The two each say their relationship has strengthened since Austin began carrying the bag and gained’t fade anytime quickly.
“Our relationship is stronger than when we were kids,” Dustin mentioned. “Having my brother on the bag has been unbelievable. Just to expertise all these experiences with him, to journey the world with him, we play golf on a regular basis, it’s simply been actually cool to spend a lot time with him.
“He’s my best friend and he’s become one of the best caddies on Tour.”