Johnson hopes timing is right for another US Open title

He's No. 1 by a mile and an understatement.

Even so, he is the betting favorite at the 117th U.S. Open on a course that would appear to suit his game perfectly, especially with more rain Wednesday afternoon and a forecast for occasional storms on Friday and Saturday.

Of all the various ways to wear a No. 1 ranking, Dustin Johnson wears his the way he always figured to wear his: nearly pulselessly. Paulina Gretzky gave birth to their second child on Monday in Los Angeles.

He still has the kind of lean 6-foot-4 frame that keeps the gym industry afloat with all the millions trying to attain same, and he has a lead so gaping that in the numerals of the rankings, you can even tell it's gaping: 12.718 to 7.925 over No. 2 Rory McIlroy.

"Every hole we've got this", said Na.

Asked if his length off the tee and his status as defending champion ought to intimidate others here, Johnson answered with his usual barrage of verbiage.

"I do feel like I'm beginning to trend into this tournament", said the 36-year-old, who dedicated his 2013 triumph to his late father Ken. Obviously I don't have to worry about them and that's a big relief.

The big-hitting American ended Australian Jason Day's 47-week tenure at the top during a hot run earlier this year with back-to-back World Golf Championship titles among three victories.

The world No.3 is looking to go one better than his two runner-up finishes during a stellar six US Open starts that have yielded five top-10s. So he lay on the couch and watched partly because, as he put it, "There wasn't a lot on TV other than the Masters".

With Tiger Woods also absent, this year's US Open could be the first time since 1994 that neither player has featured in the first round.

Johnson starts out Thursday morning with the last two U.S. Open champions, Martin Kaymer and Jordan Spieth.

As usual, other stories burn.

The 37-year-old world number seven hopes to draw on his Masters win in the season's second major. But poor errors throughout the rest of the round allowed Phil Mickelson to come from behind and win the Claret Jug.

"I think that the next guy that's probably due is Rickie Fowler, just because of the talent level and the fact that three years ago he finished top five in all four majors", said Leonard, the 1997 British Open victor at Royal Troon and now a commentator on Golf Channel.

Strange, who now works for Fox Sports as the on-course analyst, won the 1989 U.S. Open at Oak Hill to become the first player since Ben Hogan (1950-51) to win the U.S. Open in consecutive years.

Westwood now arguably possesses the unofficial tag of being the best player on tour without a major after Garcia's victory at The Masters. The first six are already in. The course has drawn note and some whining for its considerable fescue.

However, former US Open winners Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy won't be counted out.

  • Julie Sanders