Can you really go with anyone else but DJ right now?
Dustin Johnson has won three times since July, including at the Tour Championship where he just became $15 million richer.
The new FedEx Cup champion also won the Travelers Championship and The Northern Trust. Not to mention close calls at the PGA Championship (T-2nd) and a dramatic playoff loss to Jon Rahm at the BMW PGA Championship. Who wouldn’t mind seeing a redux of that duel at Winged Foot?
The world No. 1 spot has been a revolving door for the last several months. Johnson is finally emerging as someone who could take hold for a while. A win here and he’d be tough to catch before 2021.
Johnson’s career legacy was saved to an extent with his long-awaited major win at the 2016 U.S. Open at Oakmont. He battled a hellacious golf course and spotty rulings by tournament officials to win at 4-under.
He’s a sure-fire hall of famer with 21 PGA Tour wins.
But if Johnson wants to avoid some of the “what-if” games golf pundits like to play, he ought to win another one or two to resemble the type of career he had. The beautiful thing is, I don’t think he cares too much what we think of him.
It frees him up to play the type of golf we couldn’t dream of. He’s not going to lead the field this week in driving accuracy, but I see him keeping it in play enough to avoid the worst Winged Food has to offer.
Johnson’s strength and athleticism will also allow him to be more aggressive from the rough that everyone is inevitably going to find, just from further back.
Distance can help in spots this week. He finished 10th on the PGA Tour last season in driving distance (311). The 36 year old is also 17th in strokes gained approach (.524) thanks to sitting third in proximity from the fairway (28’3”) and third from the rough (38’9”).