This past weekend, Dustin Johnson won the US Open to claim his first Major. Just over a year ago he let the same tournament slip out of his hands by missing a 12 foot putt to win and a four feet putt to tie, both on the 18th hole. In the golfing world, he has been known to be one of the biggest chokes in the last 5 years. With one of the best swings on tour, in contention almost every weekend, and now the #3 golfer in the world, I realized that their is something more to learn here - His willingness to ignore the noise and his persistent pursuit of his potential.
Long story short, a USGA official told Dustin Johnson on the 12th hole this Sunday that he was put "on notice" and can potentially lose a stroke for something that happened on the 5th hole. The officials told him that they will come to a conclusion at the end of his round! With the Championship in the balance, DJ didn't know what his score was which could change his strategy for the next 6 holes.
While battling the lead with another golfer and having 3-4 guys right on his heels all day Sunday, Dustin knew he just had to play his best golf and not worry about anything else.
Are you serious? This is most important round in your career and you don't even know where you stand on the leaderboard? How awesome is that. He wasn't worried about anything else other than playing his best golf. He didn't care about potentially being penalized by the USGA from the incident on the 5th hole and he didn't care about what the other golfers were shooting. All he cared about was playing his best, controlling what he could control, and persistently pursuing his potential every time he hit the ball.
The inability to finish has always been around him. Here are a list of Johnson's heartaches during his golf career:
2010 US Open - lead by 3 through 3 rounds but lost and finished with an 82 on sunday.
2010 PGA Championship - Lead by 1 with 1 hole to go, then was penalized on his second shot to lose.
2011 British Open - 1 shot away from the lead before going OB on the 14th hole.
2015 US Open - 3 putted on the 18th to lose.
2015 British Open - a 36 hole lead is quickly forgotten.
He saw all of those meltdowns and was a able to learn from them.
He was okay with failure, and that's okay. Everyone has failed before. It could be a missed putt on the 18th, a failed business, a failing grade, a failed relationship, it's happened to all of us. Failure didn't bother DJ, and maybe thats the biggest takeaway from this. He was okay with failure because he didn't care about the noise. The criticism he faced did not affect his ego. He kept pushing, worked harder and harder. He viewed his failures as a challenge. He didn't feel sorry for himself and he used his failures as a tool.