Dustin Johnson prefers to keep emotions in check

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During his march to victory in the Dell Technologies Match Play, Dustin Johnson at times looked as though he had no pulse.
Posted on
May 8, 2018
Ben Brett in
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

During his march to victory in the Dell Technologies Match Play, Dustin Johnson at times looked as though he had no pulse.

Not true.

''It's beating - not very fast,'' he said. ''Sometimes it gets going pretty good. It just depends if I'm walking up a steep hill or something.''

Big celebrations are simply not part of his repertoire, and Johnson is OK with that. Asked if he had ever really lost control of his emotions during a big moment, he thought for a second and shook his head.

''I'm OK with my little fist pump,'' he said.

But here's another element to the world's No. 1 player - despite 15 victories on the PGA Tour, including a major, Johnson has never really had a reason to celebrate.

He won his first event as a rookie at Turning Stone with birdies on the last two holes, but he still had to wait for Charles Howell III to finish to clinch the title. The only other time he won by one shot with a birdie on the last hole was in 2010 at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-am, but that was a simple up-and-down from the bunker right of the green on the par-5 18th. He blasted out to 3 feet and lightly pumped his fist when he made the putt.

Johnson only had to two-putt for par when he won at Cog Hill, Doral and Memphis. He won by multiple shots at Kapalua and Riviera.

But wait.

''There was one moment when I lost it a little bit,'' Johnson said.

He thought back to Saturday afternoon in the 2012 Ryder Cup at Medinah, when he and Matt Kuchar were all square against Nicolas Colsaerts and Paul Lawrie. In an amphitheater setting around the par-3 17th filled with raucous fans, Johnson made a tough, sliding 20-foot birdie putt that led to a 1-up victory.

It was one of the loudest cheers of the week, and Johnson apparently couldn't contain himself. He moved to the left as the ball broke toward the cup, and when it dropped for a birdie, he gave a long, slow uppercut. And then he walked to the hole and removed the ball from the cup.

In the background, Kuchar was doing a pirouette as he slammed his fist.

For Johnson, it really was a big moment. His pulse must have been at least 60.

''Maybe 65,'' Johnson replied.

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