Ryan Burr: ‘Johnson Struggles Under Pressure’

The 97th PGA Championship kicked off at Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin, on Thursday, and the weather was about as perfect as it will be all weekend.

“The course is really soft,” Golf Channel analyst Ryan Burr said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “We got some rain, so I think today will be the best scoring day of the week. Right now, very little wind to speak of. It is overcast. The warmest day we’ve had. It’s been in the low 70s all week. I think today we’re going to get to about 85. So it’s going to be warmer than the guys have been used to this week. It’s been just perfect. But the course is soft. And anytime you put the best in the world on a soft course, they’re going to make birdies. That’s what we’re going to see today.”

But will we see Dustin Johnson break through and win his first major? Johnson is undoubtedly one of the most talented golfers in the game, but when it comes to closing, he’s not exactly Mariano Rivera.

“I got a theory on that,” Burr said. “I think we always like to talk about the best player never to win a major. That list never really changes. It’s always the same names. And my theory on that is its a lot like football or baseball or basketball. There is such a thing as trying too hard and it being a negative. I think of (Clayton) Kershaw, who I think we all admit, especially the last couple years, is the best pitcher in baseball and then he gets to the playoffs and the stuff’s not the same. He doesn’t have the same command. It is trying in that one moment and you’re calling upon your skill. It’s not about you did at Bridgestone or what you did at Hilton Head. There’s four majors a year and you’re asking your game to be at its best those four times.

“If you’re putting that little extra pressure on yourself – I don’t think pressure’s good in anything,” Burr continued. “I think that’s why (the) list of Sergio (Garcia) and Lee Westwood and Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson stays the same because those guys are just pressing so hard these four times a year.”

Tiki Barber agrees with Burr – that pressure is never good – but Brandon Tierney believes it can be a positive as long as you compartmentalize it. He believes it can help you achieve great things, depending on what it does to you.

“Well, I think we saw what pressure does to Dustin Johnson on the 72nd hole of both here at the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits and then at the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay. He has a putt to win, a putt to tie and ultimately a three-jack and he walks away with another heartbreaker at a major championship. So DJ is not my pick this week.”

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