Dustin Johnson is teeing it up in his home state for the first time in almost a decade. The number one player in the world is helping to make the 50th anniversary of the RBC Heritage very special.
“I’m definitely excited to be back. It’s always good to play in your home state,”he said. “I haven’t been here in a long time so it’s definitely nice to come back and play,” said Johnson.
There is one main reason Johnson has not been in the field since he played tin the 2008 and 2009 tournaments.
“I haven’t been back in so long is it just always — with scheduling, it’s right after Augusta. I usually take a break right after the majors. But that’s one reason I haven’t been back here, pretty much the only reason,” he said.
The former Coastal Carolina golfer comes to Hilton Head after a tenth place finish in the Masters last week. Johnson was on the leader board for most of the tournament, but could never close the gap on Masters champion Patrick Reed.
” I struck the ball very well. I drove it good. I did everything really well. The thing that’s most frustrating is it wasn’t that I was hitting bad putts, I was actually hitting good putts, they just weren’t going in. It gets frustrating. I kept grinding and trying my best, but they just weren’t going in,” he said.
At Augusta golfers needed to hit their drivers often and the wide fairways and playing areas off the fairways often allowed for an errant shot to be played without a penalty. Harbour Town is tight and much shorter.
” It doesn’t matter where you play or what course it is, you’ve still got to hit good golf shots no matter what you’re hitting off the tee. I like this golf course. I like tight, tree-lined golf courses, it’s what I grew up playing. It’s not like it’s anything new.
Johnson showed that even with the limited use of his driver he can score on the Harbour Town course. In his Pro-Am round Johnson made 10 birdies.
In the last 11 years Johnson has won at least one tournament each year and 17 total championships. He is the most successful golfer from the Palmetto State and is proud of all the good players who come from a small state.
“ The South Carolina Junior Golf Association, one of the reasons, they do a pretty good job. I feel like there’s a lot of good junior programs here in South Carolina. But does seem that there’s a lot of good players that come out of South Carolina,” said Johnson.
One of those good players who came up in the SCJGA is last year’s RBC Heritage’s winner, Wesley Bryan. Bryan is very proud of being a winner in his home state and Johnson would like to do the same thing.
“Yeah, it would definitely mean a lot to win here in my home state. It’s always good to play in your home state, being the 50th anniversary, it’s going to be a great year, great event.” concluded Johnson.