Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Dustin Johnson Will Try to Rebound One Makeable 12-Foot Putt Could Have Changed the Scenario and Made Him the Defending Champion

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Dustin Johnson Will Try to Rebound One Makeable 12-Foot Putt Could Have Changed the Scenario and Made Him the Defending Champion

Article excerpt

Jason Day had a front-row seat for the drama, in the perfect setting for great theater.

He was standing on the 18th green at Chambers Bay, the 72nd hole of the 2015 U.S. Open, watching his playing partner, Dustin Johnson, attempt a 12-foot putt for eagle that could win the tournament and end his personal heartaches in major championships.

Jordan Spieth, the reigning Masters champion, had birdied the final hole just moments earlier to finish as the clubhouse leader at 5-under par 275. Day, the 54-hole leader, and Johnson were the final twosome of the day.

Day, who was out of contention, was expecting Johnson to make the putt. He was expecting one of those amazing moments that happen sometimes to end a major tournament.

"Twelve feet," Day said. "I mean, from 12 feet, even though it is down the hill, I mean, with the scenery there was, the grandstands and everything, it was just set up for a finish like that, with him holing the putt. I honestly thought he's going to hole this putt and the crowd's going to go nuts."

Instead, the world got another kind of amazing moment. The kind that wrenches your gut and numbs your senses.

Johnson missed that 12-foot putt. He watched it stay on the high side of the hole and slide a slippery 3 feet past the cup. He wouldn't be the outright winner, but Johnson still had a chance to make birdie, tie Spieth and force an 18-hole Monday playoff. All he had to do was make the comebacker from 36 inches.

"I putted out first, trying to give him the opportunity - if he holed that putt, because it was very holeable - give him the glory to fist pump or do whatever he wanted to if he holed that putt to win the U.S. Open," Day said. "And then he hit the putt past, and then I'm sitting there going, OK, that's a pretty difficult putt coming back up. I didn't realize he'd hit it that hard. …

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