For players like Dustin Johnson, there is no such thing as spring training, which at least partially explains the bomber’s start to 2016.
To me, I was,” Johnson said on Friday at the Northern Trust Open, where he is tied for third and two strokes off the lead following a second-round 66.
With a mountain of respect to the folks in Maui, Torrey Pines and Pebble Beach, for players like Johnson whose seasons now run well into the fall with the creation of the FedEx Cup playoffs and whatever team match is on the docket that year there is a value in putting the clubs away and showing up to start the year …
In Johnson’s case, icy cold, following multiple skiing trips to Aspen, Colo., which has become something of the official past time on the PGA Tour.
Johnson explained he arrived a few days early to practice in Maui, his first start since the Hero World Challenge the first week of December, but followed that start with a skiing trip before heading to Torrey Pines, which he also followed with another skiing trip.
Justin Leonard moved his family to Aspen last August and said following the OHL Classic in Mexico in November that he didn’t touch a golf club for 35 days.
Leonard, who is tied for seventh at Riviera Country Club following a second-round 68, said his training during the offseason consisted of three or four days a week in the gym, where he would simulate swings.
If it only makes sense that a large number of National Hockey League players escape to the golf course in their down time, why wouldn’t Tour players find similar solace on the slopes? Players like Johnson and Leonard have found a downhill solution to what has been an uphill struggle for those searching for an outlet outside of golf, even if that means shaking off the rust in real-time.