Dustin Johnson is ranked first in the Official World Golf Rankings, but he hasn’t won on the PGA Tour since shooting a record 20 under at the Masters in November.
He’s too talented for his victory drought to last much longer, but in case it does, returning to TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut, to play in the Travelers Championship June 24-27 could be just what he needs.
When DJ edged Kevin Streelman by a stroke to win the Travelers last June, it was his first victory since he captured the WGC-Mexico Championship 16 months earlier.
Eight events in the spring of 2020 were canceled because of the pandemic, but it was still a long time without a victory for DJ, who has won 24 PGA Tour events, including at least one in each of his first 14 seasons on Tour. That’s an impressive streak. Tiger Woods also won in each of his first 14 seasons and Jack Nicklaus won in each of his first 17 to set the standard.
Usually, the bowl around the 18th green is filled with thousands of fans at TPC River Highlands, but fans were not allowed last year because of the pandemic. So only 38 people, mostly tournament officials and sponsors, watched when DJ sank the winning putt, according to Travelers tournament director Nathan Grube said.
“Super strange,” DJ said during a Zoom conference with the media Monday morning. “Obviously, (I’m) used to winning and having huge crowds there, lots of media, lots of pictures. It was a completely different vibe winning. It felt like junior golf almost, a couple of parents standing around clapping for you. But you know it’s a big win, you know people are watching at home.”
“It was the weirdest experience that I ever had in my life,” said Andy Bessette, Travelers executive vice president and chief administrative officer. “The only thing a little stranger was there was a trophy ceremony, which is typically on 18 green, but it was under a tent and it was socially distanced.”
Bessette remembers asking DJ to pick up his trophy and show it to everyone because no one else could touch it due to the pandemic.