In-form Dustin Johnson believes that his Major breakthrough at Oakmont last month has multiplied his chances of scooping the Open Championship at Royal Troon, which begins on Thursday.
Johnson confesses he rarely wants for confidence, but the world No2 says that winning the US Open – and following it up with victory in the WGC Bridgestone Invitational – has reinforced his belief that he can claim a third successive title and the Claret Jug on Sunday.
“I like my chances, but I go into every tournament liking my chances,” said the 32-year-old, who is looking to become the seventh successive American to win the Open when staged at the South Ayrshire course.
“I always feel like I'm the best player in the world, but that's just me. I’ve got a lot of confidence in my game. Obviously I’m playing very well right now.
“I always expect to come out and perform and to contend. But it’s definitely a little bit different coming out and not trying to win that first Major. That’s the biggest difference.
“It’s a good feeling, for sure. On Sunday if I’m in contention, just knowing that I can get it done is a big confidence booster coming down the stretch. If I have my best stuff, I believe.”
Johnson, who will play his first two rounds alongside Germany’s Martin Kaymer and Scot Russell Knox, also has the incentive of trying to overtake Jason Day at the top of the rankings.
“It’s definitely something I’d like to get to,” he added. “Jason’s in front of me pretty well, so I’ve just got to keep putting myself in position to win tournaments and keep getting it done.”
Day would have to finish outside the top 10 while Johnson won to lose the No1 spot, and that thought is enough to motivate the Australian, who was tied for fourth in golf’s oldest Major last year at St Andrews.
“I think the stress of being No1 is a motivating factor for me because I don’t want to lose it,” said Day, who plays alongside Masters winner Danny Willett.
“It’s really important for me to make sure I stick to my processes and do all the hard work I can to try to stay there for as long as I can.”