SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Dustin Johnson achieved a feat only previously accomplished by Jack Nicklaus on Sunday but unfortunately for his hopes of landing a second major title, it was finishing runner-up at the PGA Championship for two successive years.
The 36-year-old American led by a stroke going into the final round but ended up needing a birdie at the last to share second place with Paul Casey two shots behind champion Collin Morikawa.
Johnson, whose sole major title came at the 2016 U.S. Open, declined to talk to the media after signing for a final-round two-under-par 68, which earned him second place at one of golf’s big four tournaments for the fifth time.
He also fell to 0-4 for major tournaments where he held at least a share of the lead after 54 holes, statistics which will do nothing to dispel speculation that Johnson is destined to end up as a “one-major wonder”.
Double defending champion Brooks Koepka aside, no one within two strokes of Johnson at the start of the day had won a major so when he kicked off with a birdie at the first, it looked like it might finally be his day.
A bogey at the third was cancelled out by another birdie at the fourth and he reached the halfway point in a three-way tie for the lead with Casey and Morikawa.
His putts were not sticking, however, and a bogey at the 14th just as his rivals were starting to charge effectively put paid to his hopes of the title.
Koepka had alluded to his friend having won “only” one major after the third round on Saturday, drawing a stinging rebuke from Rory McIlroy that might give Johnson some solace.
“If you’ve won a major championship, you’re a hell of a player,” the Irishman said.
“Doesn’t mean you’ve only won one: You’ve won one, and you’ve had to do a lot of good things to do that. I mean, sort of hard to knock a guy who’s got 21 wins on the PGA Tour, which is three times what Brooks has.”
(Reporting by Rory Carroll, writing by Nick Mulvenney in Sydney; editing by Peter Rutherford)