Former world number one Dustin Johnson has made a shock decision to go separate ways and split from long-term coach Claude Harmon.
Johnson has worked with renowned swing coach Harmon, and his father Butch, for five years—a period during which the American enjoyed a run of 64 successive weeks at the top of the world rankings.
But with Claude Harmon also part of the coaching set up of new world number one and four-time major winner Brooks Koepka, Johnson has decided to go his own way and end the relationship—something he is said to have done via a text message sent during the Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village.
“I have great respect for Claude, both as an instructor and friend, and appreciate all he has done to further my career,” Johnson said in a statement which confirmed the split. “He has undoubtedly helped me reach many of my goals.”
One of those goals was to become world number one, but Harmon also helped Johnson become a major champion when winning the 2016 US Open at Oakmont Country Club. That is one 22 professional wins Johnson has now amassed, with 12 of them coming during his partnership with Harmon.
Johnson confirmed that both he and Harmon had “mutually decided it would be best if [Harmon] focused his efforts elsewhere,” with their last tournament together having been prior to the USPGA Championship at Bethpage Black.
Johnson was runner-up to Koepka in that event, just as he had been second behind Tiger Woods in the US Masters at Augusta in April.
It is now four second place finishes in majors for the tall 34-year-old American, who became only the eighth golfer to have been runner-up in all four majors.
The big-hitting Johnson announced in his statement that he will continue to work with Claude’s father Butch, who will provide video analysis and help.
But his permanent coach will be Allen Terrell, whose involvement with Johnson during the USPGA Championship at Bethpage is said to have initiated the split with Claude Harmon.
Terrell coached Johnson during his college days at Coastal Carolina University and the relationship has since grown stronger by his appointment as director of coaching at the Dustin Johnson Golf School in South Carolina.
Many will point to the recent domination of majors by Koepka, who has won four of the last nine, as a key reason for Johnson’s decision. Having been side-lined from the 2018 Masters through injury, the current world number one is boasting at a 50 percent strike rate in majors since his victory in the 2017 US Open.
Having sat at the top of the game for so long, Johnson appears to be at a crux in his career over how he will be remembered. Will he be one of the game’s greats or will he be left with just the one major to his name and regarded as something of a flat track bully.
Johnson will be hoping a change of coach and the familiarity of Terrell will take him back to the top of the world rankings and land him a second major success too.