Johnson knows anything can happen at Augusta National

They don't enjoy leading the pack.

Others crave it. They live for it.

Dustin Johnson, a Columbia native, is the No. 1-ranked player in the world and now holds the U.S. Open title.

But he said it was Dening - who, after his father died of cancer when Jason was aged 12 took out a mortgage on the family home to send her son to a golf academy - whom the world No.3 credited with making his professional career possible. He also seems not to care if he's No. 1 or No. 10 or No. 100.

But asked when he truly believed the prospect of reaching the rankings summit could become a reality, Johnson quipped: "When Tiger stopped playing!" His answer was straight out of the D.J. press conference playbook.

None of those players were named Dustin Johnson.

"So although I don't know how a weekend would have worked for me at Houston, it could have been a good thing, it could have been a tough thing; it wasn't easy out there". But like I said last couple of days, I've kind of fallen back into the right spot with that and feel like each day I'm just grooving out a little bit better.

"But whenever an invitation or a request comes that way, I don't want to say I jump at the chance, but at the same time, you know, to see the Secret Service, to see the scene, I mean that's really what I was going for".

"So having a lot of offense these last two tournaments is something that I want to feed off and if I can continue to do that here this week - a lot of birdies, maybe a couple eagles in there - that's going to be something that's going to be very good around here". "Usually I have a week or two more weeks of tournaments under my belt, maybe a week or two more weeks of practice as well". But honestly, it's nice to hear it, that's for sure. Achieving what I achieved a year ago and performing under pressure. if you don't do it every time, you get a bit annoyed. But you know, as far as counting how long I've been No. 1, I don't even know. "It's the first time I've ever been the favorite".

"Everything's got to be working this week", Johnson said. "Just like any major". I was three or four over for the day at that point and I needed to hit it to the right of the green and try and make my up and down. He has made 86 percent of his putts inside 10 feet.

"But I'm excited about the opportunity ahead, which is now I can go back and really tear this golf course up".

"That (short game) has been a big focus of mine for the first few months of this year and I've seen some improvements, certainly, in stats and just generally how I feel about it".

Luck said his first round on Thursday would be the "experience of a lifetime" and he could only hope he holds his nerve enough to make the most of it.

  • Julie Sanders