Why Dustin Johnson played the first round of The Northern Trust with two 3-woods

Dustin Johnson

Dustin Johnson managed an opening round of 71 without a driver at The Northern Trust on Thursday.

Getty Images

Dustin Johnson has long been one of the most powerful drivers on the PGA Tour. So when the World No. 2 noticed a crack in his TaylorMade SIM just minutes before teeing off at The Northern Trust on Thursday, one can imagine that it might be cause for alarm. Especially without a backup readily available.

But there is perhaps no player on Tour more chilled out than Dustin Johnson, and he took the situation in stride.

“I had a strong 3-wood in my car,” Johnson said after his round. “The first few holes, it took me a minute to kind of get back into what I was doing, just because — especially a day like today with the wind blowing as hard as it is, for me, having a driver, which is kind of the club that I like to hit all the time off the tee really. Threw me for a loop there because it was literally ten minutes before I was teeing off when it happened.”

Johnson said he would have been comfortable playing the round with just 13 clubs, but opted to use the “strong” 3-wood because the 3-wood he currently carries is more like a 5-wood.

All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy a linked product, GOLF.COM may earn a fee. Pricing may vary.

TaylorMade SIM Driver

$549.99
Lock in top-level speed when you play the TaylorMade SIM Driver. The Speed Injection process is designed to maximize ball speed and distance to performance at or near the legal limit. Revolutionary Twist Face technology utilizes face curvature with corrective face angle on off-center hits for side spin reduction and straighter shots. Sliding weights and the loft sleeve enable optimized face angle, loft and lie customization for ideal spin and trajectory.
Buy Now
View Product

“I’ve got a 5-wood that I use for my 3-wood. It goes the distance I want it to,” Johnson said.

Johnson reckons he sacrificed at least 15-25 yards of carry distance without his driver, but incredibly, he still ranked 53rd in driving distance and managed to fire an opening round of one-under-par 71.

“I figured out a way to shoot a decent score,” Johnson said.

After the round, Johnson said he was planning on testing some new SIM and SIM2 driver heads, so a replacement should be in the bag by Friday’s second round.

Jessica Marksbury
Golf.com

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on GOLF.com.