Johnson with chance to heal US heartbreak

Dustin Johnson will get a chance to banish the agony of losing the US Open on the final green when he tees off in his opening round of the 144th British Open at St Andrews on Thursday.

Ironically, the mild-mannered 31-year-old from South Carolina opens his campaign alongside world No.2 Jordan Spieth, the man who claimed victory at Chambers Bay, his second straight major triumph, when Johnson three-putted from 12 feet at the last.

Johnson has been knocking on the door of Grand Slam success for several years and has nine top ten finishes since 2009, including a runner-up spot at the 2011 British Open alongside Phil Mickelson, when Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke won his only major by three strokes at Royal St Georges.

“I always enjoy coming over and playing the British. I feel like I play very well over here,” said Johnson, who finished in a tie for 14th when the Open was last played at St Andrews in 2010.

“I like the golf, and it’s very challenging, uses a lot of imagination, and this is one of my favourite Open venues with the history, and just I love the golf course.

“I played pretty well here the last time I was here in 2010.”

Johnson, who won the last of his nine PGA titles in March, added that while his US Open defeat in Seattle was tough, he was pleased with his performance that weekend.

“I was happy with the way I played and the way I handled myself coming down the last few holes,” he said.

“I thought I hit the shots that I was supposed to hit. You know, I did everything I was supposed to. It wasn’t too difficult to get over it.

“Obviously I was a little disappointed I didn’t get the job done, but I was definitely happy with the way I played.”

The man whose partner is Paulina Gretzky, the daughter of ice hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, also says he is looking forward to playing alongside Spieth in his opening round when they will also be joined by Japanese number one Hideki Matsuyama.

“Jordan is a good buddy of mine, and so we have fun playing together,” he said.

“I like playing with Jordan. No pressure, though.”

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