News & Opinion

DJ remains stuck on one major title which he won three years ago

Dustin Johnson, US Open
Dustin Johnson, practicing Wednesday from a bunker at Pebble Beach’s 12th hole, has weathered his share of storms at major championships.

How many majors will Johnson have won when his career ends?

Longtime golf journalists John Hawkins and Jeff Rude are co-hosts of a weekly podcast, Hawk & Rude, in which they discuss and debate the hottest issues in golf. They also share their takes in this weekly installment.

Dustin Johnson remains stuck on one major title, a victory that occurred three years ago. How many majors will Johnson have won when his career ends?

John Hawkins

Hawk’s take: Every era seems to produce an abundantly talented player who piles up a bunch of standard tour victories but fails to fulfill his potential at the majors. Greg Norman, Tom Weiskopf, maybe even Craig Wood back when FDR was president. With just four majors each year, there are only so many to go around. That’s why they’re so special. They define greatness above and beyond.

Johnson just turned 35. He’s an exquisite physical specimen with at least 10 more years of premium golf ahead of him, but something happens to his confidence/mindset when he’s in the weekend hunt at a major, and those demons are difficult to overcome once they take up permanent residency. That said, I think he’ll win another major, probably by six shots after building a ridiculous lead through 54 holes, and that will be it for him.

Too many talented young players come along each season without an ounce of competitive baggage. At this point in his career, D.J. needs a fleet of skycaps just to get his bags off the curb.

Jeff Rude Headshot
Jeff Rude

Rude’s take: Three, because of his enormous talent and the fact that he’s still in the prime of his career. He has the ability to win more than that and the putting stroke to win fewer. Golf has no guarantees, particularly with Brooks Koepka blocking the trophy stand these days.

Johnson has underachieved in majors, largely because of substandard mid-range putting, with that 2016 U.S. Open victory among his 17 major top 10s. But he has hardly underperformed on the PGA Tour, what with 20 titles. Having gone 64 consecutive weeks ranked No. 1 in the world, he’s a modern-day Greg Norman, another symbol that golf owes no one anything. This is real: Norman has as many major victories (two) as Andy North, John Daly and Lee Janzen.

D.J. has the skills, and an improved wedge game, to get in a major groove. He just turned 35. If you’ll recall, Phil Mickelson didn’t win the first of his five big ones until he was two months shy of his 34th birthday.

It should surprise no one if Johnson were to win next week’s British Open at Portrush. Nor would it raise a brow if he were to finish second, given that he owns the career Runner-up Grand Slam, including seconds at the 2019 Masters and PGA Championship.