Sky is the limit for ‘new and improved’ Johnson

col-tbuzz (2)Dustin Johnson’s roller coaster career reached an apex with Sunday’s win at Doral. For Grand Strand golf fans who have been rooting for him through his high and low points, let’s hope it’s all uphill from here.

The former Coastal Carolina University two-time All-American and Myrtle Beach resident recently returned to the PGA Tour after a six-month hiatus. Just five events into his comeback, Johnson put on a comeback performance in erasing a five-shot deficit Sunday.

Johnson’s ninth career victory was much different than his previous eight visits to the victory circle. The “new and improved” Johnson showed composure and just how far his physical and mental game have come during his self-induced time away from the Tour to address “personal challenges.”

There were widespread reports that Johnson was suspended for failing a drug test, a charge the Tour denied. Regardless of the reason, Johnson acknowledged that he was partying too hard and needed to put his changing priorities in the proper perspective.

With girlfriend Pauline Gretzky giving birth to their first child, Johnson knew it was time to grow up, time to give up the many benefits of the bachelor life for a young, gifted athlete. The spoils of success have also been known to spoil a lot of careers.

So for six months he trained to improve his game and did some soul-searching to overcome his personal issues. For the first time in his career and life, Johnson worked hard to hone his natural abilities and put an equal effort into developing as a man.

The hard work showed as he displayed the nerve that had been his undoing in prior tournaments he could have won. He looked and spoke like a true professional who had seen the light, and like a new father who was no longer looking out for himself first.

That combination could be just the thing to help Johnson reach the full potential that so many have seen in him since his college days. Now he’s a grown man who seems to have found the right balance in his life to be a great golfer, husband, father and person.

Now we can only hope he stays the course. If so, Johnson may be “The Man” in more ways than one.

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