2016 US Open: Johnson Gets That First Major Win

Dustin Johnson of the United States celebrates with the winner's trophy alongside Jack Nicklaus after winning the U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club on June 19, 2016 in Oakmont, Pennsylvania
Dustin Johnson, with the US Open trophy, gets a hand from Jack Nicklaus, who won on the same course (Oakmont) in 1962. Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Dustin Johnson had been in position to win a major before, and didn't get it done - sometimes falling short in odd ways. At the 2016 U.S. Open, Johnson did get it done. But not without another odd incident.

Quick Bits

  • Winner: Dustin Johnson, 276
  • Dates: June 16-19, 2016
  • Golf course: Oakmont Country Club
  • U.S. Open number: This was the 116th time the championship was played.

How Dustin Johnson Earned the Trophy

Johnson played well through three rounds, shooting 67, 69 and 71.

But it was Irishman Shane Lowry who led by four strokes over Johnson and Andrew Landry entering the final round.

Johnson had two birdies and a bogey on the front nine, but Lowry carded no birdies and three bogeys on his first nine of the final round.

By the time Johnson reached the 12th tee, he was in the lead. But that's when a USGA official informed Johnson that rules officials would speak with him after the round about an incident that happened on the fifth green. The implication was that a penalty stroke might be applied - but nobody, not Johnson nor his competitors, would know until after the round.

That meant the leaders had to play the final holes not knowing for sure what Johnson's score was.

And it also brought to mind several of Johnson's failures at previous majors when he had been in position to win:

  • At the 2010 U.S. Open, Johnson led by three going into the final round, then shot 82.
  • At the 2010 PGA Championship, Johnson led by one when he teed off his final hole. A bogey appeared to drop him into a playoff, until rules officials gave him a 2-stroke penalty for grounding his club in a bunker on that final hole.
  • At the 2015 U.S. Open, Johnson was tied for the lead as the final round began, and trailed by one as he played the final hole. He had a 12-footer for eagle that would have won him the tournament, but missed it - then also missed the 3-foot birdie putt and finished second.

    What happened on that fifth green? Johnson, after taking several quick practice strokes next to the ball, lifted his putter and was placing it behind the ball, when the ball moved. There was no indication (even on high-definition replays) that Johnson touched the ball. And Johnson immediately called over a rules official. After conferring with Johnson at the scene, that official ruled there was no infraction. But officials reviewing the incident on tape thought a penalty might be necessary because, in their view, there was no other plausible cause for the ball's movement other than something Johnson had done.

    Many of the golfers on the leaderboard seemed affected by the uncertainty of the possible penalty to Johnson hanging over the proceedings. Or maybe it was just the typical U.S. Open pressure.

    Either way, Johnson bogeyed the 14th. Lowry bogeyed the 14th, 15th and 16th. Jason Day, playing well ahead of the leaders, mounted a charge before sputtering late. Sergio Garcia was in the mix deep into the final round, but had his own string of three consecutive late birdies. Scott Piercy got within one before bogeys on 16 and 18.

    When Johnson reached the 18th tee, he led by three. Then he pounded a massive drive down the middle, hit a beauty of an approach to just a few feet from the cup, and rolled in the closing birdie putt.

    He finally had that elusive major, and his 10th overall PGA Tour victory. Following the round, the USGA did assess the 1-stroke penalty, but Johnson's margin of victory made that academic.

    After shooting 76, Lowry wound up tied with Piercy and Jim Furyk for second place. Lowry was the first golfer since Payne Stewart at the 1998 U.S. Open to start the final round leading by four or more and fail to win.

    2016 U.S. Open Scores

    Results from the 2016 U.S. Open golf tournament played at Oakmont Country Club in Oakmont, Pa. (a-amateur):

    Dustin Johnson67-69-71-69--276$1,800,000
    Scott Piercy68-70-72-69--279$745,270
    Jim Furyk71-68-74-66--279$745,270
    Shane Lowry68-70-65-76--279$745,270
    Branden Grace73-70-66-71--280$374,395
    Sergio Garcia68-70-72-70--280$374,395
    Kevin Na75-68-69-69--281$313,349
    Daniel Summerhays74-65-69-74--282$247,806
    Jason Day76-69-66-71--282$247,806
    Zach Johnson71-69-71-71--282$247,806
    Jason Dufner73-71-68-70--282$247,806
    David Lingmerth72-69-75-67--283$201,216
    Kevin Streelman69-74-69-72--284$180,298
    Brooks Koepka75-69-72-68--284$180,298
    Bryson DeChambeau71-70-70-74--285$152,234
    Andrew Landry66-71-70-78--285$152,234
    Brendan Steele71-71-70-73--285$152,234
    Sung Kang70-72-70-74--286$120,978
    Adam Scott71-69-72-74--286$120,978
    Gregory Bourdy71-67-75-73--286$120,978
    Graeme McDowell72-71-71-72--286$120,978
    Marc Leishman71-69-77-69--286$120,978
    Derek Fathauer73-69-70-75--287$82,890
    Charl Schwartzel76-68-69-74--287$82,890
    Yusaku Miyazato73-69-71-74--287$82,890
    Louis Oosthuizen75-65-74-73--287$82,890
    Russell Knox70-71-73-73--287$82,890
    Andy Sullivan71-68-75-73--287$82,890
    Chris Wood75-70-71-71--287$82,890
    Byeong-Hun An74-70-73-70--287$82,890
    a-Jon Rahm76-69-72-70--287 
    Billy Horschel72-74-66-76--288$61,197
    Rafael Cabrera-Bello74-70-69-75--288$61,197
    Justin Thomas73-69-73-73--288$61,197
    Ryan Moore74-72-72-70--288$61,197
    Lee Westwood67-72-69-80--288$61,197
    Daniel Berger70-72-70-77--289$46,170
    Harris English70-71-72-76--289$46,170
    Jordan Spieth72-72-70-75--289$46,170
    Jason Kokrak71-70-74-74--289$46,170
    Rob Oppenheim72-72-72-73--289$46,170
    Charley Hoffman72-74-70-73--289$46,170
    Danny Willett75-70-73-71--289$46,170
    Martin Kaymer73-73-72-71--289$46,170
    Angel Cabrera70-76-72-71--289$46,170
    Patrick Rodgers73-72-68-77--290$34,430
    Matt Kuchar71-72-71-76--290$34,430
    Matteo Manassero76-70-71-73--290$34,430
    Kevin Kisner73-71-71-76--291$30,241
    James Hahn73-71-75-72--291$30,241
    Bubba Watson69-76-72-75--292$27,694
    Bill Haas76-69-73-74--292$27,694
    Hideto Tanihara70-76-74-72--292$27,694
    Emiliano Grillo73-70-75-75--293$26,066
    Andrew Johnston75-69-75-74--293$26,066
    Matthew Fitzpatrick73-70-79-71--293$26,066
    Lee Slattery72-68-78-76--294$25,131
    Danny Lee69-77-74-74--294$25,131
    Cameron Smith71-75-70-79--295$24,525
    Brandon Harkins71-74-73-77--295$24,525
    Matt Marshall72-73-75-76--296$24,525
    Tim Wilkinson71-75-75-75--296$24,525
    Romain Wattel71-75-75-76--297$23,497
    Chase Parker75-70-72-81--298$23,203
    Spencer Levin73-72-77-77--299$22,762
    Ethan Tracy73-70-79-77--299$22,762
    Justin Hicks73-72-78-81--304$22,762

    2015 U.S. Open - 2017 U.S. Open
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