U.S. Open champion Johnson: Monkey off my back


After so many near misses in majors, Dustin Johnson was understandably relieved to end his drought at the U.S. Open on Sunday.

With 11 top-10 finishes, including two as a runner-up, all eyes were on Johnson in the final round at Oakmont Country Club and the American delivered courtesy of a three-stroke victory.

The breakthrough triumph did not come easy for Johnson, who had a penalty hovering over him until the end of the round after tournament officials refused to make an immediate decision.

Johnson - who saw Shane Lowry take a four-stroke lead at the start of the final round - appeared to cause a ball to move on the fifth hole but officials waited seven holes before notifying the nine-time PGA Tour champion of a potential penalty.

But Johnson was not to be denied an historic win after his heartbreaking collapse at Chambers Bay last year - three-putting his final hole - despite eventually being penalised a stroke post-round.

"It's definitely a big monkey off my back. You know, coming into today, I've been in this situation time and time again. So I know what to expect. I know how to handle myself," Johnson said.

"For me to finally get it done on Sunday in a major, it's a huge monkey off my back.

"It's fantastic, and it feels really good for sure because I've worked so hard to get here. I've put myself in this position many times, and to get it done is definitely sweet."

"I couldn't be more excited, more happy, and more proud of myself, especially with the things that happened last year at the U.S. Open on the 18th hole, you know, to come back this year and to get it done. It's definitely bitter sweet. It was a lot of fun.

"Obviously, winning any tournament, there's a lot of satisfaction, but to get it done in a major, especially I've been so close so many times, it's just an unbelievable feeling. It's hard to even describe."

With one major to his name, Johnson does not want to rest on his laurels, with the 31-year-old determined to separate himself from the pack.

Asked if his U.S. Open win will help open the door for him to become a great player, Johnson said: "I think it does. It's definitely a good start. You know, this week, I felt like I played really good.

"I don't feel like I played great, but I played really good. So it's definitely a start to becoming a great player."