The Long Pitch Is a Key Weapon in DJ's Arsenal
Dustin's win at the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in November, his eighth in his seven seasons on Tour, was a career-defining moment. Going against what was essentially half of the European Ryder Cup team, Johnson faced some final-round adversity before sealing the win with a 20-yard pitch-in for eagle on the par-4 16th hole at Sheshan International in Shanghai. As Dustin prepares to return to action next week at the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass, we asked him to share how he executed that critical shot at a critical moment.
Just walking up to it, it appeared to be a pretty normal shot as far as being one of my stock pitch shots where I'm going to fly it onto the green, and it's going check and then release. I saw the read, and I had an easy read. You obviously have a lot of things that have to go right, but if you hit it correctly, you've got a chance for it to go in. It becomes a putt once it gets on the green.
I had the face pretty square, maybe slightly, slightly open. I think it's important to use your shoulders and your body when executing this shot. You've got to have some movement. If you watch the pros, they don't use just arms on this shot. You've got to have some rhythm, and getting your shoulders and body involved gives you that rhythm.
Butch Harmon says:
You saw the beautiful flight, spin and control when Dustin pulled off that shot. Most amateurs keep their body perfectly still, but you have to have a little body rotation.
And this is important, too: There's no divot. He merely brushes the ground.
Here is the shot that gave Dustin the most prestigious win of his career thus far: