By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
Dustin Johnson was ranked world No. 1 when he entered the FedExCup Playoffs last fall – and yet somehow he was still under the radar.
He quickly reminded us, though, why he’s at the top by winning THE NORTHERN TRUST – his fourth victory of the season.
He will finish the calendar year as the world’s best but should still start 2018 with plenty to prove after the likes of FedExCup champion Justin Thomas continue to get much of the fanfare.
In the early part of 2017, Johnson appeared almost unbeatable. He won three consecutive tournaments, including two World Golf Championships, leading into the Masters.
Then he slipped down some stairs at his rental house in Augusta and his star fell as well. It wasn’t like DJ played bad, it was just others took the limelight.
When this new season started with a final-round implosion at the WGC-HSBC Champions to finish second, new questions arose.
Can he maintain his place at the top of the world with the likes of Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Hideki Matsuyama and Jon Rahm all biting at his heels? Can he take his incredible record to 11 straight seasons since debuting on the PGA TOUR with at least one win? Can he get to Augusta without injury this time around and have a real crack at a second major championship?
Can he join the list of FedExCup champions?
You wouldn’t bet against him on any count that’s for sure.
BY THE NUMBERS
How Dustin Johnson ranked in Strokes Gained statistics during his last full season on the PGA TOUR.
Current 2017-18 position: 25th
Playoff appearances: 10
TOUR Championship appearances: 9
Best result: 2nd (2016)
INSIGHTS FROM THE INSIDERS
PGATOUR.COM’s Insiders offer their expert views on what to expect from Dustin Johnson in 2018.
TOUR INSIDER by Cameron Morfit
Johnson’s toughest opponent is still himself, or the Golf Gods, or a combination of the two. He missed 16 putts inside 10 feet at the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship, and still won. But what might have been had he not fallen down the stairs just before the Masters? He WD’d and stalled in the other three majors, and after beating Jordan Spieth to win THE NORTHERN TRUST, and going 4-0-1 in the Presidents Cup, DJ melted down with a final-round 77 to finish T2 at the WGC-HSBS Champions. Already a 16-time TOUR winner with one major, Hall of Fame-bound Johnson still hasn’t gotten fully out of his own way. Scary.
FANTASY INSIDER by Rob Bolton
You know you’re livin’ well when the world’s top-ranked golfer sits No. 3 in our series. Hey, whatever. As a great one, he’s a top pick in many draft leagues and that’s all that matters. He’s never had a season in which he’s gone winless, he’s qualified for nine consecutive TOUR Championships and he’s just 33 years old. If there’s a knock, it’s that he’s subject to the occasional balloon of a round and the inability to slam every door, but you miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.
EQUIPMENT INSIDER by Jonathan Wall
Johnson made few changes to his TaylorMade metalwoods last season. Briefly switched to P730 irons in China but returned to Tour Preferred MB 2014 blades for his next start. First Spider Tour Black putter used in competition belonged to his caddie, and brother, Austin.
STYLE INSIDER by Greg Monteforte
If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. DJ owns monochromatic looks these days. No one wears the tone-on-tone black, navy, and gray looks better than Dustin. Expect him to give us fresh and interesting takes on these looks in 2018 while featuring the latest technology from Adidas. Johnson debuted Adidas’ new TOUR 360 2.0 shoe during his win at THE NORTHERN TRUST to kick off the 2017 FedExCup Playoffs. He will wear this model throughout 2018 in seasonal colorways.