FARMINGDALE, N.Y. — Shortly after he completed his final round at the P.G.A. Championship on Sunday night, Dustin Johnson, who has won one major in his career, was asked how it felt to complete the Grand Slam of runner-up finishes.
“Yay,” said Johnson, who became the eighth player to finish in second at all four major championships. “I’m so excited.”
Johnson, who finished tied for second at the Masters last month, offered a brief smile. Having started the day seven shots behind the leader, Brooks Koepka, Johnson lost by two strokes after bogeying two of his last three holes.
“I definitely gave him a run, though,” Johnson said, “so I was happy with that.”
Johnson, 34, settled for second fiddle to Koepka, who successfully defended his P.G.A. Championship and collected his fourth major title. In the end, Koepka, who was tied with Johnson and Xander Schauffele at the Masters, was able to claim his second Wanamaker Trophy because he fended off his good friend and regular training partner.
“He’s one of the guys that I look for, that I have to beat,” Johnson said. “He’s always someone that I’ve got my eye on.”
[Does golf have a new king? Brooks Koepka’s peers aren’t so sure.]
Koepka acknowledged that he kept track of Johnson throughout the round. He was aware of his closing in on him.
“D. J. played a hell of a round,” Koepka said. “That was pretty good.”
Though it was not good enough to win, Johnson started his day first, which helped apply pressure. He started the fourth round 20 minutes ahead of Koepka, and drove the ball hard into the howling wind that blew around Bethpage State Park’s Black Course. It was the most wind the players faced all week, and Johnson adjusted well. While Koepka bogeyed No. 1, Johnson posted three birdies on his front nine.
“If you weren’t spot-on today, you were going to struggle,” he said.
Johnson bogeyed No. 11, and took note of Koepka’s position when he looked at the leaderboard by the tee at No. 12. Koepka had made up for a bogey on No. 1 with a birdie at the fourth hole. Koepka was at par for the round and 12 under for the tournament at that point. Johnson then drained a birdie putt from 11 feet at No. 15. When he stepped to the tee at No. 16, he knew to be aware of the wind.
“The wind was really eating the ball up when you hit into it,” he said.
His tee shot at No. 16 went 298 yards to the left fairway. H second shot, which he took with his 5-iron after considering his 4-iron, sailed 200 yards, or 6 yards too long. It landed over the green in the rough. Johnson called the course’s long roughs “penal,” but he salvaged the lie with a solid chip to the green and a putt that pleased him despite the bogey. After those two shots, he wondered how he failed to get there in less than five.
“I don’t know how it flew 200 yards,” he said.
Koepka’s mistakes left the door open for Johnson, though. From No. 13 to No. 17, Koepka posted five straight bogeys. Johnson fans in the crowd chanted, “D. J.! D. J.!” between Koepka’s shots. Still, Johnson bogeyed No. 17, as well, and made his way to the scoring tent, where he watched Koepka drive the ball off the tee at No. 18. It was another major with an almost championship finish for Johnson.
“The last few holes is what got me,” he said.
There were plenty of positives for Johnson to take away from the week. It was his best finish at a P.G.A. Championship, and he was the only player to shoot below par all four rounds. He finished with a four-round total of 274, and said that his game was in a good place as he rolled his putter better over the weekend.
Johnson’s day ended when he made par on No. 18.
Afterward, Johnson, who said he would carry momentum out of the Bethpage experience to next month’s United States Open at Pebble Beach, was asked who he believed the No. 1 player in the world was now.
“I’m pretty sure I’m still ranked No. 1,” he said, “so I’d pick myself.”
But that is not how the world rankings go. Koepka did not just stave off Johnson at Bethpage, he also surpassed Johnson for No. 1.
It was one more second-place finish for Johnson to consider.