Think Dustin Johnson is dumb? The world No.1’s coach says you’ve got it totally wrong.
Speaking to bunkered magazine, Claude Harmon has laughed off what he says are total misconceptions about the 17-time PGA Tour winner – somebody he insists is “one of the most competitive people I’ve ever met”.
“DJ’s a very laid back guy,” said Harmon. “However, the perception that he’s dumb and doesn’t care couldn’t be further from the truth.
“If anything, I think it’s his demeanour and his easy-going attitude that makes him the player he is. Nothing really bothers him. If he makes a double-bogey, he doesn’t beat himself up or explode. He just goes, ‘Okay, next hole’.
“He is the living embodiment of everything we try to get players to do from a sports psychology standpoint. It’s very much ‘one shot a time’, ‘focus on the shot you’ve got, not the one you’ve just hit’. The ability to see the game like that is one of the things that makes him great.”
Adding that Johnson prefers to play by ‘very much by feel and instinct’, Harmon said: “He doesn’t like to have too many thoughts in his head because he’d rather just go out and play. There’s a huge ongoing debate in golf instruction over what’s the better approach: keeping things simple or making things technical. DJ wants things to be as simple as possible. That’s the way his brain works and that’s the environment that we, in his team, try to create for him.
“He and [fellow Harmon pupil] Brooks Koepka are very similar. They don’t want much information. They want to go out and play golf, not play golf swing. “
In a wide-ranging interview, Harmon also touched on the role Scotland has played in his development, what it was like to have a ‘front row seat’ whilst his dad was coaching Tiger Woods to the first eight of his 14 major wins, and the ‘pressure’ he feels to live up to his family’s name.
To read the interview in full, pick up the issue 161 of bunkered, on-sale now from all good Scottish newsagents.
Can’t find a copy? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with details.