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.

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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.

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“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.

Golf.com Editor

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.