To preview the 2013 PGA TOUR season, PGATOUR.COM is counting down the Top 100 Players to Watch in 2013. For an archive page with the top 100 players and for an explanation on how the list was compiled, click here.
2013 PREVIEW: Five wins on TOUR in six years is quite an impressive streak for Dustin Johnson. His scoring average jumped from 51st to eighth on TOUR last year and he improved from 171st to 50th in strokes gained-putting. He hits it long and he has an underrated short game. Is 2013 the year he gets over the major hump?
2012 DEFINING MOMENT: A back injury sidelined Johnson for the better part of three months. In his second start after returning from that layoff, Johnson birdied the 71st hole on the way to a 66 in the final round of the FedEx St. Jude Classic that lifted him to a one-shot win. Speaking of FedEx, Johnson closed with top-10 finishes in the final four Playoffs event to finish No. 8 in the final standings. –- Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ALBERS’ QUICK TAKE: Dustin missed two months of the season with a bad back and still managed a great year. The fact he could miss that much time and bounce back with a win so quickly at Memphis, tells you just how good an athlete Johnson is. He has to watch his tempo. Dustin gets a little quick when in contention but his caddie, Bobby Brown, knows how to hold the reins of his horse. -- Fred Albers, SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio
BOLTON’S FANTASY OUTLOOK: One of these years, he's going to rip off five or six victories and fulfill his ridiculous potential. Despite a sketchy start to 2012 after which he admitted returning from knee surgery too early, and an 11-week break due to a back injury, he matched Tiger Woods with nine top 10s in just 19 starts. (Only Rory McIlroy -- 10 in 16 -- recorded a better ratio.) DJ also rattled off a top 10 in every event in the FedExCup Playoffs, the only golfer to turn that trick since Padraig Harrington in 2009. When he's healthy, I'd make a case that Johnson is a top-three draft pick. And at $3.393 million, he's a no-brainer for salary gamers. -- Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy expert
2012 QUICK REVIEW
Regular Season ranking
Final Playoffs ranking
|Best finishes||1st||FedEx St. Jude Classic|
|By the Numbers
Cuts made: 17
Rounds played: 67
Top-10 finishes: 9
Money List rank: 19th
Driving distance: 4th
Driving accuracy: 158th
Greens in regulation: 81st
Strokes gained-putting: 50th
Scoring average: 8th
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN
What is your prediction for Dustin Johnson in 2013? Fill out the form below and let us know
Watch Bubba Watson curl in an approach shot on the 188-yard second hole.
Phil Mickelson makes a nice recovery for birdie on the third hole at The Olazabal Course.
Luke Donald plays a brilliant second shot into the par-5 third hole. Did he make an eagle?
MEDINAH, Ill. -- Dustin Johnson might have a new caddy this week at the Ryder Cup.
Bobby Brown, who normally totes Johnson's bag, injured his back Friday morning prior to the second round of the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. He caddied until the 11th hole when Johnson called Cameron Hooper, a former teammate and roommate at Coastal Carolina, out of the crowd to take over.
Hooper ended up caddying the rest of the weekend as Johnson tied for 10th.
Johnson said Brown had an MRI on Monday and it revealed he has a herniated disk. So Jeff Weber, who caddies for U.S. Captain Davis Love III, is expected to fill in if Brown is unable to work on Friday.
“I know he really wants to caddy, and I want him to caddy, too,” Johnson said. “But it’s not worth it to caddy if he’s hurt.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ATLANTA -- If he'd known he was going to be pressed into service on Friday, Cameron Hooper would have worn tennis shoes.
Instead, the financial planner, who was playing a little "hooky" on this warm Friday afternoon, was wearing loafers -- with no socks -- as he carried Dustin Johnson's golf bag for the final seven holes of the second round of the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola.
Hooper roomed with Johnson at Coastal Carolina, where both played on the golf team. The Jacksonville, Fla., native now lives in the Atlanta area and came out to East Lake to see his buddy play during the first two rounds of the final event in the FedExCup Playoffs.
Imagine Hooper's surprise, though, when Johnson yelled for him after he hit his tee shot at the 11th hole -- "Hoop, come in here," he remembers the call. Seems Johnson's regular caddie, Bobby Brown, had tweaked his back putting on his socks Friday morning and the pain was getting worse, not better.
"Bobby was struggling and wasn't feeling well, so I told him to go home," Johnson said.
Brown handed over the caddie bib and the clubs and then hitched a ride back to the clubhouse with a rules official. Suddenly, Hooper had his first-ever caddy job.
Interestingly, his counterpart in the group was Wayne Robinson, who normally works on the CBS golf broadcasts but has caddied for Sergio Garcia during the Playoffs after the Spaniard decided to go without a professional carrying his bag.
Hooper admitted his hands shook a little the first few holes -- "I'm not going to lie," he said -- but he soon found it was "pretty calming inside the ropes."
Hooper, who is getting married in three weeks, said he read one putt for his buddy but admitted they left it a little on the outside. Johnson was even par for the day when Hooper was called out of the bullpen, and he got to see those three straight birdies that began at No. 13 up close and personal.
"He did it all on himself," Hooper said. "I just tried to catch the ball when he threw it to me."
Johnson ended up shooting a 67 that moved him into a tie for fifth, three strokes off the lead.
"It worked out well," Johnson said. "It's fine. He played golf with me in college, so he's a good player and a good friend of mine, so it was fine switching them up."
No word on whether Brown will be able to caddie on Saturday but Hooper knows one thing.
"I'll wear tennis shoes tomorrow," he said.
ATLANTA -- Jim Furyk continues to put on a clinic during the second round of the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola.
His second straight tap-in birdie, this one from 15 inches at the par-5 ninth hole, fueled a front-nine 29 for Furyk that was one stroke off the course mark. He just made his seventh birdie of the day at the 10th hole on a 7-footer to open a three-stroke lead in the tournament at 8 under.
Matt Kuchar is alone in second after making an 18-footer for his third birdie of the day at the seventh hole. Robert Garrigus and Zach Johnson, who are playing together, have just birdied the ninth hole to turn in 33 and are tied with Tiger Woods at 4 under. Woods has played six holes.
Dustin Johnson, who is 1 under for the tournament and even for the day, will play his final seven holes with a new caddy. His regular looper, Bobby Brown, tweaked his back this morning and just had to surrender the bag to one of Johnson's friends at the 11th hole.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
For those in the top 5 of the FedExCup standings heading into this week’s TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, the formula is simple: Win, and you win the FedExCup, too. Everyone else, meanwhile, needs help.
With that in mind, here’s a look at five players who I think could come from outside the top 5 and win the FedExCup:
Louis Oosthuizen (No. 6): There are a couple of reasons to like Oosthuizen’s chances. First, he doesn’t need a lot of help to win the FedExCup by virtue of being No. 6 in the standings. With an extra week off he should also be fully recovered from a minor pectoral injury he played through at the BMW Championship. Oosthuizen plays big in big spots (see his 2010 British Open victory, this year’s Masters, the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational) and has been in a groove in the Playoffs with a couple of top-5 finishes, including a runner-up in Boston.
Dustin Johnson (No. 7): Three Playoffs tournaments, three finishes in the top 6. You could argue that no one outside of Rory McIlroy has been as consistent as Johnson in the postseason. If there’s a concern, it’s that Johnson has never fared particularly well at East Lake, failing to finish in the top 20 in three trips. I think this year will be different, though. Johnson’s length is of course a huge asset, but his iron play has been very good in his last three starts with Johnson ranking in the top 10 in greens hit.
Jason Dufner (No. 10): The Duf has cooled a bit since a midseason run that included two wins and two other top-5 finishes in five starts, but a return to Atlanta should spark the 35-year-old. Dufner has a history of playing well in the South -- one of his two victories this year came in New Orleans, and he lost a playoff at the 2011 PGA Championship at nearby Atlanta Athletic Club. He doesn’t have a great track record at East Lake, having tied for 13th last year and 19th in 2009 in his only two appearances, but he loves Bermudagrass, is one of the best drivers of the ball on TOUR and is one of its best ball-strikers. He’s also having the best putting year of his career.
Bubba Watson (No. 11): Another player who doesn’t have a great record in this event, Watson makes up for that by the fact that he’s having a career year. He won another pretty significant tournament in the state of Georgia in April and has five other top 10s, including a pair of runner-up finishes, to go with his Green Jacket. Watson has been good -- not great -- in the Playoffs so far with three finishes in the top 12. As far as Watson hits it -- he leads the TOUR in driving distance -- he’s also third in greens in regulation. If he can straighten out his putter, Watson should be a factor at East Lake.
Carl Pettersson (No. 17): The length at East Lake, which he is playing for the first time, shouldn’t affect Pettersson, who ranks in the top 40 on TOUR in driving distance. Like Dufner, he, too, is a guy who tends to play well this side of the Mason-Dixon Line (see: his win at Hilton Head and tie for third at the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island). It’s also been a big year for those who wield a long putter. It’s certainly a longshot at 17th in the standings but as we saw with Bill Haas, who was 25th going into East Lake, it’s certainly a possibility.
The top 30 in FedExCup points are headed to East Lake for the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. Here’s a look at Dustin Johnson, one of the 30 players who will contend for the FedExCup title.
SCENARIOS TO WIN FEDEXCUP: For Johnson to win the
FedExCup, he MUST win the TOUR Championship and have the following
scenarios fall into place:
> Rory McIlroy (No. 1) finishes in a 3-way tie for 2nd or worse
> Tiger Woods (No. 2) finishes T-2 or worse
SEASON IN REVIEW: He was sidelined for nearly three months with a back injury but wasted little time reasserting himself when he closed with a 66 to win the FedEx St. Jude Classic. The victory was the sixth of his PGA TOUR career and made him the first player since Tiger Woods to leave college and pick up a victory in each of his first five years on TOUR. Johnson seems to be peaking at the right time, too, with finishes of sixth or better in each of the first three Playoffs events -- posting eight of 12 rounds in the 60s and nothing higher than a 72. -- Helen Ross
PATH TO TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP: Here’s a look at
Johnson's results in the first three events of the 2012 FedExCup
Click here for Playoffs Tracker of every player.
|FEC ranking after event||
PREVIOUS FEDEXCUP FINISHES: Here is how Johnson has finished in previous Playoffs appearances:
EAST LAKE HISTORY: This is Johnson's fourth start in the TOUR Championship. He has never recorded a top 20, placing T-23 (2011), T22 (2010) and 27th (2009) while carding only two rounds in the 60s in 12 attempts.
ALBERS’ QUICK TAKE: Fred Albers, on-course
correspondent for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, provides a quick look at
The best athlete on TOUR but is like a talented racehorse that has to be guided around the track. Got a phone lesson with Butch Harmon this year and then forgot what he was suppose to practice. Caddie Bobby Brown called Harmon from the range to relay the information one more time. His swing thought: Complete the back swing. So much talent, he can win at any time.
PLAYER PAGE: Click here for more on Dustin Johnson
Now it’s your turn. How do you think Johnson will fare at the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola?