At a Ryder Cup any tiny fact becomes an obsession, from a pleats in a golfers’ pants to how a pin positions preference a common turn flights of a home team. No minutia is considerate … unless you’re Dustin Johnson and his brother-caddie, Austin, golf’s many concise characters. During final year’s eventuality during Hazeltine, Dustin faced a tilted mid-length putt that seemingly had dual or 3 feet of right-to-left break. After consultation with his brother, he started his turn a yard left of a hole, blank a putt by during slightest 6 feet. Had a tragedy short-circuited his cadence or maybe dim his vision, even yet this was usually a use round? In his soothing South Carolina drawl, Dustin offering his caddie a opposite explanation: “Awwwww, man, we had a [green-reading] book upside down.”
Then there was a alternate-shot compare with Matt Kuchar opposite Europe’s Thomas Pieters and Lee Westwood. On a par-5 6th hole, Kuchar gathering into a severe and afterwards walked forward toward a cranky bunkers that splash a layup area. The Johnson brothers spent an lavish volume of time staring during their yardage books and deliberating a shot. Were they calculating a risk/reward of going for a immature or determining how assertive to be with a layup? Finally, Dustin bunted a shot into a fairway approach brief of a cranky bunkers, withdrawal Kuchar a 7-iron in when he simply could have had a wedge. The Johnsons wore humble smiles as they walked adult to Kuchar. “We weren’t certain we had a right [sprinkler] head,” Austin said. In other words, they couldn’t figure out a widen they indispensable to strike a shot, indirect in a discreet play.
“With anybody else, that could have combined a lot of tension,” says John Wood, Kuchar’s caddie. “With those guys it was like, Hey, no large deal. We were still in a fairway, Kooch knocked his shot on a green, and we halved a hole [and went on to win a compare 5 and 4]. That put a suspicion in my conduct we haven’t forgotten: Why get so worked adult over something that has already happened, ya know? Those dual never persperate a tiny stuff.”
One vital champion compares a Johnsons to Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne, a charmingly honest protagonists of Dumb Dumber. Let us not forget that Lloyd and Harry thwarted a difficult abduction tract while scoring some snazzy tuxedos, usually as DJ and AJ in their possess artless character have taken over a golf world. In a final 12 months a Johnsons have won a U.S. Open underneath a many fatiguing circumstances, led a cathartic U.S. delight during a Ryder Cup and piled adult 5 other big-time victories to put a stranglehold on a tip mark in a World Ranking. As Dustin, 32, prepares to urge his Open pretension this week during Erin Hills in Hartford, Wis., a opening between him and No. 2 Rory McIlroy is incomparable than a widen between McIlroy and No. 23 (Phil Mickelson). That Dustin was respected as PGA Tour Player of a Year in 2016 was not a surprise; his nonsensical child brother’s winning caddie of a year honors, as voted by his peers, was some-more of an upset. How did Austin, 30, turn a copilot on a Tigeresque widen of dominance?
“I had always wanted to see Australia and Thailand,” he says. This was in late 2013, behind when Dustin was still deliberate an generously gifted conduct case. In a preceding years he had blown, in slapstick style, a U.S. Open, a PGA Champion-ship and a British Open. His caddie was mild-mannered Bobby Brown, who pronounced unequivocally tiny during Johnson’s crunch-time follies. The required knowledge on Tour was that Dustin indispensable a hard-ass to foreordain devise and keep him in line. Days from apropos a father, Brown didn’t wish to transport to Australia for a Perth International, so Dustin asked his hermit to fill in. Austin had graduated from a College of Charleston progressing that year, carrying eliminated there after 3 seasons as a sharpened ensure during Charleston Southern. He was usually unresolved out, introspective a pursuit in sales. Following a plain finish in Australia, a Johnsons had a week to kill before a World Golf Championship in Shanghai, so they vacationed in Thailand. Lying on a beach, Dustin started using some numbers: “I was gonna have to fly Austin behind to a States and afterwards fly Bobby out to China. I’m like, Why am we spending all this additional money? So we called Bobby and told him to spend some-more time with his baby. And then, unfortunately for him, we won in China. After that, we went to AJ and was like, Yo, we wanna do this?”
In fact, Dustin shot 24 underneath to break a WGC-HSBC Champions competition record. The dual cut utterly a figure on a course—Dustin is 6’4″, Austin 6’3″, and both lift themselves with a loose-limbed jock swagger. They had a tangible camara-derie in a Far East, and for Dustin a delight felt opposite with Austin by his side. Afterward he confided to his agent, David Winkle, “No approach we was gonna let those guys kick me and my tiny brother.” The winner’s check was $1.4 million; given caddies traditionally get 10%, Dustin was utterly happy to keep all that income in a family. There were other reasons for seeking Austin to stay on a bag. “You transport with your caddie, eat with your caddie, spend all day with your caddie,” Dustin says. “It needs to be someone we like, someone we trust. I’m never gonna have with anyone else what we have with him.”
Dustin and Austin come from jaunty stock: Their 6’4″ maternal grandfather, Art Whisnant, is in a South Carolina Hall of Fame for his basketball exploits, and their father, Scott, was a high propagandize timber who lettered in football, basketball, turn and soccer before going into a career in golf as a training pro. (He was a boys’ initial pitch coach.) Along with their sister, Laurie, a Johnson boys grew adult outward of Columbia in a tiny city of Irmo. They lived on Shortbow Court, a cul-de-sac that became a proof belligerent for any sports-minded child in a neighborhood. The Lew family lived opposite a street; Matt is Dustin’s age, Justin about as aged as Austin, and they were all good athletes. “I don’t consider we played one video diversion flourishing up,” says Justin. “We were outward compartment dim any night, customarily battling DJ and AJ. Those guys were a handful. They were good during any sport.”
Shortbow Court was a site of epic tussles in travel hockey, tackle football, Wiffle ball, constraint a dwindle “and any other diversion we can consider of,” says Austin. The boys used to strike golf balls off a Lews’ front lawn, over a residence and into a woods beyond. They played pickup basketball during Cornerstone Church, with Austin raining in jumpers and Dustin winning in a paint. Both were all-stars in baseball, Austin as a skinny shortstop, Dustin as a pitcher with a sizzling fastball. They honed their attack strokes personification home run derby with a tennis turn in a Lews’ yard. That led to a hapless arise when a line expostulate cracked Cheryl Lew’s favorite lamp. “My mom came out so mad, and we all forked fingers during any other and wouldn’t contend who did it,” says Justin. All these years later, is he prepared to exhibit a culprit?
After a prolonged postponement he says, “Austin.”
Unlike his awfully chill brother, Austin was a bit of a hothead. “I was customarily a one tellin’ him not to kick some kid’s ass,” says Dustin. Of course, it’s easier to be lippy when we have a soaring large brother. Says Justin, “Dustin picked on Austin, like all brothers do. But if anyone overwhelmed Austin, he was a initial one there to settle it. They always had any other’s back.”
This enclosed entertaining for any other during girl tournaments, where they played in opposite age groups. “We suspicion Austin was going to be a pro golfer,” says Justin. “I’ve never seen a child vanquish a turn like he did during age 12.” But Austin gravitated toward basketball, generally after removing harm personification football during his beginner year during Dutch Fork High. Dustin had begun focusing on golf in a seventh grade, when he played varsity for Irmo. (In ninth class he eliminated to Dutch Fork.) Some of a deeds from his girl have a ring of myth, solely they’re true. There was a 64 he shot during Golden Hills Golf Country Club in Lexington. It would have been a march record, yet a bar refused to commend it given he had supposed a gimme on a brief putt early in a round. Dustin returned a subsequent day, putted out all and posted another 64. In eighth grade, on a day of a end-of-season banquet, he and his teammates played 9 holes during a Club during Rawls Creek in Irmo. He shot a sporty 28. “Coach told me to forget about a party and try for a march record,” says Dustin. He tweaked his behind on a second 9 yet still got home in 35 for a course-record 63. Because DJ has always done it demeanour so easy, there has prolonged been a arrogance that he coasts on healthy talent. “That ticks me off given they have no thought how tough he’s worked,” says Kevin Britt, who ran a Weed Hill Driving Range in Irmo when Dustin was a youngster. Britt says Dustin spent 6 days a week there. Weed Hill had a disagreeable use immature for heightening crowd play, and a trickery was illuminated until 10 p.m. Dustin mostly sealed a place down. About 30 kids were regulars, and Britt estimates half of them went on to play college golf, yet nothing have sniffed Dustin’s maestro success (though Wesley Bryan is a heading contender for Rookie of a Year on a PGA Tour). “He was a gifted kid, yet to be honest, what Dustin had that nobody else did was that he knew he would make it,” says Britt. “Two months ago we was during a cooking with his eighth-grade embankment teacher. She says, ‘That tyro of yours, Dustin Johnson… ‘ we start rolling my eyes given we know this is gonna be good. She tells me how she was giving Dustin a tough time about a exam class and he says, ‘Miss Kennedy, we don’t need to know where that place is, given when I’m on a PGA Tour, I’ll have a private jet and a commander will know how to get me there.'”
While Dustin was starring during Coastal Carolina and afterwards carrying evident success on reaching a PGA Tour in 2008, Austin was posterior his hoop dreams. For his comparison year he eliminated to Charis Prep in Wilson, N.C., to play for a eminent manager Carlos Peralta, who has had 104 players land Division we scholarships. Austin started any diversion and averaged 16.8 points while sharpened 56.4% on three-pointers and 92.3% from a line. “He competence be a best outward shooter I’ve ever coached,” says Peralta. He still recalls a diversion opposite North Carolina’s jayvee team, in a Dean Dome. Charis was down dual points in a shutting notation when Austin strike a three, keying a victory. What done it so gratifying for a longtime manager was that his organisation had been practicing how to review a defensive greeting to a turn shade and Austin executed a step-back perfectly.
“He has a unequivocally high basketball IQ,” says Peralta. “He has a healthy ability to review people and situations, and he has an inherited bargain of strategy. And he stays unequivocally cold underneath pressure.”
Similarly, Britt says of Dustin, “He never stopped seeking questions, never stopped seeking me to work with him, and he built adult a extensive bargain of a golf swing. He has a unequivocally methodical mind.” This squares with a story from a maestro Tour caddie who once watched Dustin play 5 hands of blackjack concurrently for a plain hour. With all a bursting of cards and doubling down, twice a play unsuccessful to compensate out a scold amount. “Dustin held it instantly,” says a caddie. Perhaps there’s some-more than meets a eye to these down-home Johnson boys.
On a 5th hole of a final turn of final year’s U.S. Open, on a frighteningly quick and sloped Oakmont green, Dustin’s turn twitched as he addressed it with his putter. He talked it over with a manners central in a group, and it was dynamic he had not caused a turn to pierce and so was spared a chastisement stroke. Dustin continued to fight with a nastiest march in championship golf; he had begun a final turn tied for second, 4 strokes behind Shane Lowry, yet by a time he arrived during a 12th hole, Johnson had seized a two-shot lead. Waiting on a tee was a phalanx of persnickety USGA officials, who sensitive Dustin and Austin that after reviewing video of a occurrence on a 5th green, there was a good possibility a chastisement would be assessed. But in a cruelest and many confounding of twists, a final integrity would not be done until after a round, when Dustin would be given a possibility to see a replay and beg his case. The competition was plunged into chaos, with nothing of a players meaningful accurately where a personality stood. On Twitter, Dustin’s colleagues (and a rest of a golf cognoscenti) were losing their minds. The usually dual people who seemed mellow about a whole thing were a Johnson boys. They sauntered along, selecting a scold clubs and attack a right shots, capped by an now classical kick-in birdie on a 72nd hole. Dustin was indeed assessed a chastisement stroke, yet he still won by three.
Looking back, he gives copiousness of credit to his caddie: “That whole week, we felt like we were usually groovin’. We concluded on all we were doin’. We had a good diversion devise for a golf course, so it felt flattering easy. And we were executin’. When all that things happened on Sunday, we usually stranded to a diversion plan.”
Says Wood, who has caddied on Tour for 21 seasons, “I was in astonishment of how they rubbed it. They were a ideal twin to bargain with that situation. It didn’t matter to them. Or, they done it not matter. There are as many mistakes done on Tour from overthinking as anything else. They didn’t get inept overthinking; they usually went out and took a trophy.”
After that breakthrough a floodgates opened, as Dustin won a 3 indirect World Golf Championships—lifetime, usually Tiger Woods has claimed some-more of these marquee events—and a five-stroke laugher during Riviera in February. Heading into a Masters he had won 3 loyal starts and was a restricted favorite. Then came a unequivocally Dustin-like development: a behind damage from a weird brief on a staircase that forced a last-minute withdrawal. Still, he has once again been creation it demeanour so easy that some are retiring to give Austin any credit. “Dustin hits it so distant and so straight, he doesn’t need a lot of help,” says Tour maestro Cameron Tringale. “Austin usually gets him a yardage and gets out of a way. That’s all Dustin unequivocally needs.”
In fact, Austin is a voice of reason when Dustin is perplexing to assimilate a golf march whole. “Usually I’m perplexing to speak him into personification some-more conservative,” he says.
“Never works,” says Dustin.
It’s loyal that there are rounds when Austin’s primary charge is to make certain he has packaged adequate nipping tobacco for a dual to share, yet folks like Tringale don’t grasp a incomparable purpose played by a chairman Dustin calls “my best crony for life.” During off-weeks they mostly hang out off a South Florida seashore on Dustin’s boat, Just Chillin. (In a unavoidable Instagram posts, it can be tough to heed Austin’s blonde girlfriend, Samantha Maddox, a former all-conference tennis actor during a College of Charleston, from Dustin’s fiancée, Paulina Gretzky.) Part of what has fueled Dustin’s ascent is a low joining to diet and fitness, and Austin’s zealotry about purify eating has been an influence, to a indicate that Dustin imports a cook to all of a large tournaments. “I had cooking with AJ final night,” says DJ’s trainer, Joey Diovisalvi. “He had dual duck breasts, sautéed spinach and a salad. we see Dustin this morning and ask him what he had for dinner, and he says dual duck breasts, sautéed spinach and a salad. It’s removing scary with those two.”
Dustin trains 6 days a week, mostly twice a day, and Austin roughly always serves as a wingman and foil. If they’re on highway bikes, they competition until it feels as if their thighs competence combust. If they’re paddleboarding, both are digging tough to be a initial one behind to a beach. The competitiveness carries over to their sessions in a weight room and a swimming pool. “Neither one can mount not being a best,” says Diovisalvi. “They feed off any other, they pull any other, they maintain any other. They’re murdering themselves for a common goal. Dustin loves to be improved than everybody else. He is not calm usually to be No. 1; he wants to be No. 1 by even more. And he knows that Austin is all-in. There is a clarity of organisation that is so authentic. These dual are going to grow aged together, their kids are going to grow adult together, and they’re going to spend a rest of their lives articulate about all a tournaments they won together.”
It is not usually this adore yet also a mutual indebtedness that creates Dustin and Austin such an effective team. Says Diovisalvi, “This is given Austin is a ideal caddie for Dustin: given DJ respects him as an equal. He knows AJ is a baller, usually like he is.”
This raises a elemental question: Which Johnson is a higher athlete? Clearly, Austin is a improved basketball player; in a pickup diversion of Tour pros and caddies a integrate of years ago, “he threw down some dunks that were unequivocally impressive,” says Bill Haas. Then again, Dustin can asperse in unclothed feet and once kick Shane Battier in a three-point contest. Dustin apparently has a corner on a golf course, yet a few years ago Austin clipped him on their initial 9 during TPC Myrtle Beach by eagling both par-5s. “It didn’t last,” says Dustin. “He started chirpin’ too most instead of personification golf.”
So, boys, what’s a answer?
“It’s tough to contend you’re a improved contestant than a No. 1 actor in a world,” says Austin.
“He usually doesn’t wish to get fired,” cracks Dustin.
“Put it this way: It’s unequivocally close,” says Austin. “The problem is that these days we don’t unequivocally play many sports opposite any other, ’cause I’m frightened one of us would get hurt.”
“We play basketball in a pool,” says Dustin. “It gets serious.”
“Anything goes,” says Austin.
Meaning we can reason any other underwater?
Dustin looks during his child hermit and smiles. They’ve been battling given their days on Shortbow Court. Now they’ve cowed a grand aged game. But that doesn’t meant Dustin will ever stop being a large brother.
“Yeah, we mean, we reason him underneath for a reasonable volume of time,” Dustin says. “I don’t wish to drown him. we usually wish to learn him a doctrine any now and then.”