Fowler: DJ is a freak

Rickie Fowler

Tornado Watch. Not quite Panda Watch, but just as intense.

The announcement in the plush new Masters media centre bellowed out that Augusta National was “now under tornado watch” and that all patrons were being evacuated from the golf course.

As disappointed patrons made their way out into the streets towards the rather dismal nightlife of downtown Augusta – seriously, it’s not much to get excited about – the very straight-talking Rickie Fowler sat down with the media and waxed lyrical about the player on everyone’s lips: world No.1 Dustin Johnson.

“Dustin is just crazy,” said Fowler, who had been asked about the ‘secret to generating power’ despite not being one of the biggest players on the scene. “He’s just, in a way, kind of a freak of nature.”

And he's not wrong.

Johnson currently leads the stats with the longest drive of the season so far, a 428-yard smash at the SBS Tournament of Champions. He also sits second in that category with a 409-yard effort. He tops the driving distance stats - not surprisingly - averaging 316 yards.

Read more - DJ completes WGC 'slam'

But perhaps more importantly than that, Johnson has tasted victory on his last three starts, and has five wins since his debut major victory at the US Open.

For some, he’s teetering into Tiger territory. Fowler, though, just paints a picture of a player at the very top of his game.

“He's one of the best drivers of the golf ball, and the longest out here and one of the straightest,” said Fowler, who was not shy of praising the world No.1.

“When it comes to the smaller guys and the kind of 150‑pound range, not as tall as a guy like Dustin, we have to kind of use our whole body to generate that power, just so we're at least in the range of those guys that move the ball past us.

“Then we’re able to stay competitive, because when you do start giving up yardage, it puts a lot of stress on the shorter parts of your game, and if that’s not on, if you’re not hitting your long irons well, then it can be hard to compete against the guys that you may be trying to hang with if you’re behind them 30 yards off the tee.”

Augusta is brutally long and unforgiving when it’s wet, and there’s more rain forecast for Wednesday, where there may be thunderstorms, and Thursday morning. “When you’re playing this course soft, it is long from the tournament tees,” added Fowler. “Being able to carry the ball and have that length is going to be a bonus.”

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