Johnson's short memory comes in handy at Royal St. George's

R&A - Handout / R & A / Getty

One of Dustin Johnson's best traits is a short memory, and given some of the misfortune he's had in the majors, he needs it.

So don't expect him to return to Royal St. George's for the British Open this week and remember too much beyond being a runner-up to Darren Clarke in 2011.

“That was a long time ago, but obviously I have good memories here, and I did play well,” Johnson said Wednesday.

Johnson was two shots out of the lead, 3 under over his last seven holes, when he hit a 2-iron on the par-5 14th that sailed out-of-bounds to the right, leading to double bogey. He also bogeyed the last to finish three shots back.

That part is vaguely familiar.

“I had a good opportunity on the back nine there until, what, 14? Take that shot back, yeah, I've got a really good chance to win,” he said. "Sunday played really difficult. I played really well, just kind of hit one bad shot. And it pretty much ultimately cost me having a chance to win.

“It was a long time ago, so I don't remember a whole lot, to be honest.”

Johnson has been runner-up at all four majors, though that was his only chance to win the British Open.

Throw out that performance, and he has averaged finishing 12.75 shots behind the winner on the eight other occasions he made the cut.

Johnson has been in a slump by his standards since winning the Saudi International in early February, his lone victory this year. He has only two top 10s in his last 11 tournaments.

He figures the key to the week will be hitting fairways, which typically is more difficult at Royal St. George's than other links in the rotation because of so many humps and bumps in the fairway. The course is softer this year because of rain, but the rough is thicker than usual.

“It's a typical links course. You’ve got to hit golf shots, and you’ve got to hit them where you’re looking or you’re going to have a tough time," he said. “For me, I feel like most of it’s going to be driving. If I can drive it well, then I feel like I’m going to have a really good week.”

Johnson's short memory comes in handy at Royal St. George's
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