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PGA Tour Confidential: The best Tour player under 30, Tiger's major drought and how to fix slow play

Dustin Johnson
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At 29, Dustin Johnson has already won eight times on Tour, but a few memorable major collapses have deprived him of a signature victory.

Every Sunday night, conducts an e-mail roundtable with writers from Sports Illustrated and Golf Magazine. Check in every week for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors and join the conversation in the comments section below.

1. Is HSBC Champions winner Dustin Johnson the best player under age 30?

Alan Shipnuck, senior writer, Sports Illustrated (@AlanShipnuck): Right now he is. Rory still has the best resume, but he's been wounded for a long time. Spieth will ultimately hold this honor, but he needs to win more than once before he eclipses Dustin, with his eight Ws.

Joe Passov, senior editor, courses and travel, Golf Magazine, (@joepassov): Whoa, there, bandwagon jumpers. Rory's had a terrible year, but he's still the best player under 30. Maybe not right this minute -- on this particular Sunday -- but overall, he's still my pick.

Michael Bamberger, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: Is best the same as most accomplished? Dustin Johnson is the most accomplished player under 30, unless, like me, you are a major-phile. (I'd rather be Rory McIlroy today, with his two majors, than Dustin Johnson, with his eight Tour titles.) Johnson is likely the most lavishly talented player under 30, for pure talent maybe ahead of McIlroy. If I could have Dustin Johnson's future in the game or Jordan Spieth's or Rory McIlory's, today my order is Spieth, McIlroy, Johnson. But don't hold me to it for long.

Gary Van Sickle, senior writer, Sports Illustrated (@GaryVanSickle): The best player under 30 based on career achievement is clearly Rory McIlroy, not DJ. Rory has a 2-0 edge on majors. But those two players stand out among the twentysomethings, no doubt. Who's third best? Who knows? But DJ has the kind of tantalizing potential that makes us wonder just how good he can be.

Jeff Ritter, senior producer, (@Jeff_Ritter): This week, sure, Dustin is king. But Rory McIlroy still has the most talent of any pro under 30 today -- and more major titles. I think he’ll win Comeback Player of the Year in 2014.

Josh Sens, contributing writer, Golf Magazine (@JoshSens): Umm. Last I checked, Rory McIlroy has two majors. I'd take Jordan Spieth over DJ as well.

Cameron Morfit, senior writer, Golf Magazine (@CameronMorfit): This year notwithstanding, Rory McIlroy is still miles ahead of Dustin Johnson in almost ever aspect save for off the tee, with the driver. Just to pick one facet of the game, in the interest of time, let's talk about the mental game. Johnson still comes and goes like the weather, but McIlroy, when he gets in a groove, has proven he has the ability to stay groovy for more than one week at a time.

Mark Godich, senior editor, Sports Illustrated (@MarkGodich): Last time I checked, Rory McIlroy has two major championships on his resume, a handful of other PGA Tour victories and a No. 1 World Ranking not so long ago

2. The Boston Red Sox won the World Series by being greater than the sum of their parts and despite sometimes looking like the lesser team on paper. They overachieved, in other words. Has Dustin Johnson underachieved? Why or why not?

PASSOV: Yes, even with this win in Asia, DJ has underachieved. Between his superior length and crazy athletic ability, he should have won a bunch more times by now. Plus, his misery in the majors is hard to dismiss. Still, he's young. Let his career continue to progress before final judgment is rendered.

GODICH: DJ is only 29, so I think it's a bit early to label him an underachiever. And he does seem to find a way to get in the winner's circle just when we're about to write him off. He could certainly help himself if he'd get back in the hunt at a major -- and close the deal.

BAMBERGER: Well, the question of over and underachievement is a funny thing. In golf, as in life -- and how often can one use that phrase -- you achieve exactly what you achieve because achievement factors in EVERYTHING, including desire, discipline, nerves, talent, health (mental and otherwise) and so many other things. I'd say Dustin Johnson is exactly where he should be, even though the obvious temptation is to say he could have done more but this point, because he's had chances in major events, because he makes it look so easy when he plays well and because he's disappeared for long periods of time. But I for one am not going to say that.

MORFIT: I would say yes, and I would guess that's because of extracurricular activities, and for that I can't say I blame Dustin. He's doing what most Tour pros that age and even older have done, taking advantage of his opportunities and having what I assume from all those Twitter pics is a pretty excellent time. 

VAN SICKLE: I don't see how you can call a player with eight wins in his 20s an underachiever. He wasn't a college star. He wasn't a high school star. He was a virtual unknown with great talent. Yeah, he has let a few majors slip through his fingers, but he does have a bunch of wins. A lot of supposed hotshots haven't done one-tenth what DJ has. So no, he's no underachiever. He's an achiever.

SENS: Judging by the usual standards of greatness -- majors -- he has underachieved. Thanks to his romantic life, though, his social media profile is beyond what anyone could fairly expect.

RITTER: Eight Tour titles before 30 is a great accomplishment. DJ has only underachieved in the majors, where you could make a case for him owning three titles if not for final-round blunders.

SHIPNUCK: The guy has proven to be a consistent winner, which is more than most of the other overhyped young players can say. It's true Dustin has almost unlimited potential, but the results are there. The next step is obviously to win a major. He still has a lot to prove in that kind of pressure.

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