04 April 2017
The Men behind DJ’s Game
Behind every successful player, there is always a team of people who play an integral role in supporting them and helping them to reach their best. Dustin Johnson’s team certainly seem to have got it right.
When Dustin ‘DJ’ Johnson claimed his first major trophy last year, one of the happiest people was undoubtedly his coach, Butch Harmon. The 73-year-old coach once again proved he has the ability to shape his students into champions. Harmon’s undeniably greatest accomplishment is being the coach who helped Tiger Woods with his 683-week reign as World No. 1, and before him, there was Greg Norman, who held the spot for 331 weeks.
When 32-year-old Johnson tapped in for a success in the Genesis Open in Los Angeles on February 19, his ranking jumped to number one, but Harmon was not surprised. He knows a potential golf king when he coaches one and DJ’s talent was something he’d witnessed since they began working together in 2010.
“Dustin is the one player out there that I believe will be able to hold No. 1 for a long time,” said Harmon, as quoted by the Guardian. “He has so much confidence in all parts of his game and also he is happy with his life.”
Before Johnson won the 2016 US Open, Harmon had been working hard with him to train his mental instinct to win. Harmon believes that the closer the ball gets to the hole, the more it is about the mind than the body. In the past, Johnson has faced problems entering the final two rounds, with his weekend scores usually being higher than the first two days.
“He’s got to learn to close on Sundays a little better,” said Harmon, as quoted by Golf Digest. “He’s a very aggressive player and sometimes on Sunday, he’s too conservative. He’s trying too hard to make it happen too much sometimes. “It’s more a mental thing than it is a physical thing.”
Alongside training his game, Johnson works with fitness coach Joey Diovisalvi. He gives Dustin simple exercises in the gym that help him explore areas of his swing and hit it farther. Many of the movements he practices help improve the transition from backswing to downswing.
Diovisalvi, who met Johnson a few weeks after the 2015 season ended, manages the exercise schedule, and DJ follows it to a T. "Beginning that morning, we worked out seven days a week for three months straight, and he didn't miss a single workout. And not once did he give less than maximum effort. People think Dustin coasts on natural talent, but he has chased greatness really hard."
While Harmon and Diovisalvi shape Johnson off the course, on the golf course it’s his caddie who helps him to finish with the best result possible. This is a task for Austin Johnson, Johnson’s younger brother who has caddied for him since 2013. Austin takes on the responsibility for yardage, wind, and conversation. That’s it.
“I know when to step in and say something, and when he wants to do his own thing. I know his game. I just try to keep him in a good mood and focused,” said Austin, as quoted by Golf.com.
Austin is optimistic about the year ahead for Dustin and the rest of the team. “He drives it great, is a great ball striker, and now we've got the wedges going. If we get more consistent on the greens, I don't know what would stop him from having another great year.”
So far, it looks like Dustin’s doing just that!