World number one Dustin Johnson may have dominated the rankings over the last 17 months but close friend Brooks Koepka has overtaken him when it comes to major victories.
Despite the 34-year-old having a headstart courtesy of his 2016 US Open win, Koepka’s back-to-back victories in the same event have left the big-hitting Ryder Cup star trailing behind.
The pair played together in the final round at Shinnecock Hills last month where Koepka came out on top after Johnson lost a four-shot lead on Saturday when course conditions became almost unplayable.
“I was happy for him. If it wasn’t going to be me, I was glad he won. Obviously, I would have liked to have won,” said Johnson, who since February 2017 has spent all but four weeks in May and June this year at the top of the world rankings.
“We train a lot together, and so we push each other in the gym and play a lot of golf together.
“We definitely push each other to get better and to do the right things.
“Just a month ago at the US Open, I played well enough to win. I didn’t putt well enough on the weekend to win.
“I didn’t feel like I was hitting bad putts, but I just wasn’t making anything. That’s golf.
“I’m struggling a little bit is with the putter, but I don’t feel like I’m struggling putting.
“There’s been quite a few tournaments where if I just putt pretty well on the weekend, then, you know, I win.
“But that’s the name of the game. You’ve got to get it in the hole.”
This year’s 147th Open is at Carnoustie, where famously in 1999 Jean van de Velde triple-bogeyed the last hole, needing only a six at the par four to lift the Claret Jug after going into the Barry Burn.
Johnson had his own final-hole mishap in the 2015 US Open at when he three-putted from 12 feet to hand the title to Jordan Spieth.
“That (Van de Velde) was a pretty rough one – but so were all of mine. I can feel him a little bit,” Johnson added.
“But, yeah, either way you look at it, we both lost. So it really doesn’t matter.”