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SPRINGFIELD, N.J. (AP) – Dustin Johnson apparently had high expectations after winning his first major at the US Open.
He didn’t win the next major at Royal Troon and got rid of his beard.
“I finished ninth at the British, so I shaved it,’’ Johnson said Wednesday, the big smile indicating he went with a clean look for no specific reason. He’d like to leave the PGA Championship with a new ranking – No. 1.
While his back-to-back victories at the US Open and the World Golf Championship at Firestone rightly get most of the attention, it’s easy to overlook that he has been playing better than anyone all year.
He has finished out of the top 10 only five times in his 16 starts this year, including his last six tournaments.
With a tie for second last week at the Canadian Open, the 32-year-old Johnson arrived at Baltusrol with a mathematical chance to replace Jason Day at No. 1 in the world.
Johnson would have to win the PGA Championship and have Day finish third or worse, or he could be the sole runner-up and reach No. 1 if Day were to finish 28th. However you do the math, it’s a possibility.
And typical of Johnson, he won’t give it much of a thought.
“It won’t be on my mind,’’ he said. “I’m going to go out and try to focus on what I’ve got to do. The rest of the stuff, I try not to worry about – or actually I don’t worry about. I just go out and play golf and try to shoot the best score I can. At the end of the week, if I’m on top of the leaderboard and I get to No. 1, obviously that would be great and be a big accomplishment.’’