Dustin Johnson considered changing his putter prior to the start of the third round of the 99th PGA Championship at Quail Hollow Club.
He took a new one out on the practice putting green and fiddled with it but chose to stay with his usual TaylorMade Spider.
It produced more of the same, at least until the end of the round, and Johnson shot a 2-over-par 73 to fall back into a tie for 47th at 4-over 217 with a round to play.
The Coastal Carolina alumnus and world’s top-ranked player did make his first putts longer than 7 feet in the tournament by holing birdie putts of 10 and 13 feet on the 15th and 17th holes to offset two bogeys in his final five holes. He had gone 50 holes without making a putt longer than 7 feet.
“I’m rolling my [putter]good; it’s just not going in the hole,” Johnson said. “I did make like a 12-footer on 15 and 12-footer on 17 and those are the two longest putts I’ve made all week. So I felt like today I rolled the putter good.”
Johnson is dead last at 75th among players who made the cut in the category of strokes gained putting. To illustrate his struggles, Johnson made 104 feet of putts through 36 holes compared to 259 feet by second-round co-leader Hideki Matsuyama and 217 feet by Jason Day, with whom Johnson played Thursday and Friday.
“I feel I’m as high over par as I can be. I’m just not scoring well,” Johnson said. “I can’t get any momentum. Everything is there. The game is there. I feel like I’m swinging good. I’ve got confidence in it. I’m just not scoring very well.”
Johnson made four birdies and six bogeys Saturday. He made a 6-foot birdie putt on the third hole to get to 1 over for the tournament, then bogeyed the par-3 fourth and sixth holes in identical fashion with tee shots into greenside bunkers and missed 11-foot putts.
He bogeyed the eighth and 11th holes while making birdie on the par-5 10th with a putt from off the green to 2 feet, and bogeyed the 14th and 16th holes following wayward drives to the left.
“I need to hole a par putt to kind of build some momentum and I hit a good putt and it just doesn’t go in. I just can’t get anything going,” Johnson said. “ I feel like the game is there, I just need to get some momentum and I’ll be all right.
“I just need to see some going in the hole, and I did. The last few holes I made a couple putts.”