Johnson, Garcia, Westwood eye chance to shed unwanted tag
By Mark Lamport-Stokes
OAKMONT, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood have all been viewed as perhaps the best contemporary players yet to win a major title.
All three have a chance to shed that tag at the U.S. Open on Sunday, though simple arithmetic reveals that at least two of them will leave Oakmont without being able to do so.
The heavyweight trio were tied for third at two-under, just three strokes behind pacesetting Irishman Shane Lowry, when third-round play was suspended at Oakmont on Saturday.
American Johnson will have five holes to play, Spaniard Garcia four and England's former world number one Westwood three when play resumes on Sunday at 7 a.m. ET (1100 GMT).
The long-hitting Johnson is still seeking his first major title after recording 11 top-10s in the blue riband events but feels that he can count on previous experience as he heads into another marathon day at the weather-hit U.S. Open at Oakmont.
"Yeah, it can only help for sure," said Johnson, who three-putted the final hole at last year's U.S. Open to hand the trophy to fellow American Jordan Spieth as he finished a stroke adrift in a tie for second.
"I've been in the position before. I know what to expect. I know how to handle it, so hopefully, the ball falls my way tomorrow."
A nine-times winner on the PGA Tour who is renowned for his athleticism and power game, Johnson says he is happy with his position despite struggling a little in the third round as he mixed two birdies with two bogeys and a double at the par-four third.
"I'm giving myself opportunities. Feel like I'm hitting my putts on my line with the correct speed. At some point, they will start to go in. Hopefully, that's tomorrow."
Garcia has also suffered several near-misses in the majors over the years, with four runner-up spots among his 20 top-10 finishes.
Asked what it would mean to him if he could get the 'monkey off his back' at Oakmont with a first major victory, Garcia replied: "No, there's no monkeys. That's nonsense. At the end of the day, the only thing I can do is give myself chances.
"Play well. And if it happens, it happens. I don't know. I will only know the day that it happens. So it is easy for me to stand here and tell you it will mean this or that, but until it happens, you never know."
(Editing by Andrew Both)