PGA Tour Confidential: Dustin Johnson wins St. Jude Classic, U.S. Open predictions

Dustin Johnson, 2012 St. Jude Classic
Mark Humphrey /AP
Dustin Johnson won in his second event since returning from a back injury.

Every Sunday night, the editorial staff of the SI Golf Group conducts an e-mail roundtable. Check in every week for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors and join the conversation in the comments section below.

DUSTIN JOHNSON WINS ST. JUDE
Ryan Reiterman, senior producer, Golf.com: A week after Tiger gave us another "You have to be kidding me!" moment, two of the best twenty-somethings, Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, got their games back into form just in time for the U.S. Open. Before we get to all the questions heading into Olympic, we'd be crazy to overlook a wild finish at the FedEx St. Jude Classic. In his second start since returning from a back injury, D.J. birdied two of the last three holes to notch his sixth PGA Tour win, the most of any player in his 20s. What did you think of D.J.'s win?

Alan Shipnuck, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: It was huge, like his tee shots. Despite everything, I still believe in D.J.'s talent. This sets him up to be a contender at the year's three remaining majors.

Michael Bamberger, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: When you see the guy play well, he's like nothing else in golf. The monster is out of the cage.

Cameron Morfit, senior writer, Golf Magazine: If he can convince himself that a major is just another tournament, he'll win one soon. That's a big if, though. Clearly he has the physical tools.

David Dusek, deputy editor, Golf.com: There's no denying that D.J. has talent, and winning begets confidence, so he's got that going for him heading into the U.S. Open. Which is nice. But I was at Pebble Beach when he made a mess of the final round in 2010. And I was at Whistling Straits when he blew it on the 72nd hole, and at Royal St. Georges when he went O.B. on the back-nine Sunday to all but give the claret jug to Darren Clarke. I can't stop thinking about those moments when I think about Dustin Johnson.

Jeff Ritter, senior producer, Golf.com: Not sure Olympic is a great fit for D.J.'s power game, but it's good to have him back in form for the summer's majors.

Damon Hack, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: Looks like Dustin is ready to shake that underachiever label. He suddenly looks like a threat at Olympic, too.

Reiterman: That's an interesting label to put on D.J. Underachiever? I don't know if I buy that. Six wins by 27. (He turns 28 on June 22). Been right there in a couple of majors. He's also fought through some injuries. I think he's progressing nicely toward a career that's slightly better than Davis Love's - maybe 25 wins and a couple of majors? That'd be good enough for the Hall of Fame.

Bamberger: He actually reminds me of Davis Love but with a better putting touch. I seriously doubt he'll have Davis's staying power, however.

Stephanie Wei, contributor, SI Golf+: Good comparison. The way Davis strikes the ball, it's amazing he hasn't won more.

Hack: It's the lack of attention to detail, not so much the winning. He just doesn't seem like he's all there all the time. Hence, the underachiever label. I think it fits.

Charlie Hanger, executive editor, Golf.com: A guy like D.J. will always be, to an extent, an underachiever until he gets a major under his belt, though I agree with Ryan that it's a pretty harsh label to put on him at this age.

Hack: Late to his tee time at Riviera, Bunkergate at Whistling Straits. Need I go on?

Hanger: That makes him more of a screw-up than an underachiever in my book.

Hack: Disagree. Underachieving and screwing up are cousins, at worst.

Shipnuck: He's saddled by Potential. And Talent. A few years ago he and Rory were clearly the next big things. Rory has nabbed an Open and made it to No. 1. So in that context, D.J. has underachieved a bit. But time is on his side.

Wei: D.J. just needs to learn how not to "pull a D.J." during crucial moments on Sunday at majors.

Morfit: HOF? I've always wondered if Dustin has it between the ears, but I'm starting to wonder about the rest of them, too. I think Chamblee is right that a lot of these guys are overcoached. Whatever happened to Bruce Lietzke?

Wei: D.J. played great at Memorial (T19) considering his three-month layoff. I was most impressed with D.J.'s draining two clutch putts to win. Don't think I've ever used the words "clutch" and "putting" in same sentence when referring to him! Early in season he was really frustrated with his putting, so maybe the time off was what he needed.

Tell us what you think in the comments section below: What did you make of D.J.'s win?

D.J. BACK-TO-BACK?
Reiterman: We all know that no one has ever won a U.S. Open after winning on the PGA Tour the previous week. So does that mean D.J. is already doomed to some obscure spot on the leaderboard? Or is he the type of player who can break the streak and win in back-to-back weeks?

Shipnuck: When he's hot, he stays hot, and his power lets him use shorter clubs off the tee, a huge advantage at Olympic. So he's dangerous.

Morfit: I don't think Olympic (Lee Janzen, Scott Simpson) is the type of place that's going to reward D.J.'s big, brawny game. I like his chances at Bethpage Black, however.

Bamberger: I can't see it. I can't see the guy staying focused for three weeks.

Mick Rouse, editorial assistant, SI Golf Group: If he's feeling confident and refreshed heading to Olympic, I like his odds to be in the picture. He will be able to club down and still outpace a lot of players out there. If he can keep things straight and doesn't lose his putting touch, he should be in a good position to have a look at it.

Dusek: It's really hard to win on the PGA Tour, and it's even harder to win back-to-back PGA Tour events. I agree with Alan that Johnson is the kind of guy who can stay hot for a while, but I wonder if he's mentally strong enough to hold it together under U.S. Open pressure.

Hack: I could see D.J. go back-to-back. Why not? He's on the Cali soil he loves, he's unconventional, and the Memphis win should have him even more loose than usual, if that's even possible.

Mark Godich, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: As far as the Open goes, winning this week is probably the worst thing that could have happened to D.J. Now everybody will be talking him up, revisiting all the close calls at majors. I'd have liked him better flying in under the radar.

Tell us what you think in the comments section below: Can Johnson win in back-to-back weeks? Is he one of your Open favorites?

Go to Page 2

Forecast
PGA Tour News
Trips
Travel & Courses
Lessons
Tips & Videos
The Shop
Equipment News & Reviews