Johnson aims for Major step up

18 December 2017 22:44:04 GMTPlus11

After derailing his 2017 Major championship bid with a fall down the stairs ahead of the Masters, Dustin Johnson will be hoping to avoid further accidents in 2018.

The 33-year-old American's preparation for his eighth visit to Augusta National could hardly have been more perfect than this year, not only winning three tournaments on the bounce, but claiming the world number one spot along the way.

But that errant trip in his rental home proved costly. He withdrew from the Masters, missed the cut in the US Open, made little impression at The Open when T54th and only a final round 67 earned him T13th in the PGA Championship.

A summer that had promised to see him add to his major tally of one (the 2016 US Open) instead saw him complete a run of four major appearances without a top-ten finish, only the second time that has happened to him since 2009.

The better news is that immediately after the PGA Championship he won again in the Northern Trust Open and yet doubts remain of a golfer who, although he owns 13 top tens in the majors, has a history of fluffing the wins.

He took a three-shot lead into the final round of the 2010 US Open before shooting an 82, should have won that year's PGA Championship but for incurring a bizarre 72nd hole two-shot penalty, and threatened to win the 2011 Open before hitting a ball out of bounds on the back nine.

That capacity to self-destruct was again in evidence when leading the HSBC Champions, his last start of 2017, by six strokes after 54 holes before Justin Rose defeated him by two.

Having finished sixth and fourth in his last two visits to Augusta National the South Carolinan is 12.00 to win the Masters in April.

He is 12.00 for The Open and 10.00 for the PGA Championship when both hosts (Carnoustie and Bellerive) will be new to him.

His strongest major record is in the US Open, this year played at Shinnecock Hills. Again Johnson will be a course debutant, but he boasts three top-five finishes, including the 2016 victory, in his last four tournament starts and is 10.00 to win again in 2018.

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