Dustin Johnson - world's worst choker?


Ok so this is hardly a new topic. But after being the nearly man at Whistling Straits, Royal St George’s and Chambers Bay, everyone thought the floodgates would open for DJ once he finally broke his duck at Oakmont. But, now he’s gone and done it again at Shinnecock - failed to close out a major he was in total control of and at a time when he’s world number 1 and at the height of his game.

There’s no denying his talent. The guy’s won 19 times on Tour and is a sure fire Hall of Famer. But he’ll be 34 next week and has 1 major despite all that possibility. Rory has 4 times as many and is 5 years younger than him. Spieth has 3 times as many and nearly 10 years younger. Now Brooks has twice as many.

I like DJ but I just think that, despite all the hyperbole around his game and how far he hits it and how amazing he is, it’s not backed up by the results that should matter.

He’s got the biggest cock on campus but he can’t get it up when the hot girl comes round and strips in front of him.


There’s a lot of truth to what you are saying but I don’t think this week’s tourney counts as a “choke” like his others. He was a 36 hole leader but with so much golf left and the way Saturday unfolded, we’d have to completely redefine that word and who it’s applied to.

Totally agree though, that his talent and results do not align. Part of that is due to how difficult it is to win majors but the other is due to him wasting his 20s and not making that leap forward sooner.

It’s weird to say but thank God Paulina Gretzky came along and grabbed his dick because it eventually led to him getting his shit together and raising his overall ceiling.


I believe DJ was a +250 favorite going into Saturday. It’s hard for me to think of that as choking. Obviously he didn’t play his best golf on the weekend, but I think mainly just shows how difficult it is to win a major. It’s not even like he played poorly today, he just didn’t play as well as Brooks.

If you want to say he choked at Pebble, Whistling Straits, or even Chambers I could get that. But at the same time, if Jordan doesn’t double 17 at Chambers no one thinks DJ chokes that tournament anyways.

I also think we tend to underrate winning tournaments in general. Obviously majors are most important, but he’s won 5 WGCs, and 4 FedEx Cup playoff events. It’s not like he’s racking up wins at lesser Tour events.


He’s basically evolutionary Greg Norman. He’ll win a couple majors just because he’s in contention so often and will win them by default, but it feels like he just misses something that allows him to close strong, most times. And his personality strikes me as someone who won’t get down too much if he doesn’t close. At the end of the day or career, much like Norman, he’ll just go off on a yacht somewhere and leave us all behind, probably being pretty okay with how things worked out.


I guess choker is a little strong, but I definitely feel that his tally in the majors is very poor. Harrington recently said that if Rory ends his career on 4 majors that’ll be an underachievement. And Rory agreed with him. I think DJ has so far underachieved.

And while I tend to agree that he probably doesn’t give a shit, I also wonder whether some of that nonchalant bravado is an act. The underperformance suggests he gets more upright about these things than he says.


I’m beginning to buy that because you didn’t even mention the 2010 US Open or the 2015 Open at St. Andrew’s. If DJ wins just half of all these tournaments we’ve mentioned, he’s got 4 and looking at a career that could match Ernie’s and with enough Tour wins down the road, could get close to Phil’s. Last year’s HSBC was another instance too. He had a 6 shot cushion and let it all go to let Rose end up beating him by a few.

Hard to say what it is exactly since the only person out there who looks to care less about being under pressure is Koepka, but DJ does have a closing problem IMHO. Making a putt on the weekend of a major for once would be a good place to start though.


I know golf is a game of failures but yeah, when you drill into it there are a lot of failures for DJ at the end of big tournaments when in talent alone he should be closing like he did last week.

It’s not exactly news, DJ’s heartbreaks before Oakmont were well documented. But the concept that finally winning would open a deluge of major wins for him doesn’t seem to be happening. If anything it’s business as usual.

And I just think that when all is said and done everyone will look back and see someone who should have had Gary Player’s career and instead had Tom Kite’s.


He just has to grind more consistently. I felt like he was so locked in at Oakmont even when it got tough, but on Saturday at Shinny, he was straight up shook. He shoots 71-71 on the weekend and he wins, but it just appears if he doesn’t think he can go low that he can’t flip his mindset to play for pars.


Yeah I agree there are some parallels between the shark and DJ, but greg was more of an epic choker. He, like DJ was the best driver in the game, they had similar skill sets. After Mize and Tway both committed felony level larceny stealing majors from him Greg started getting in his own way, overthinking everything and cracking under pressure. He will be remember for the tragedy of 96 more than anything else.
DJ has had bad luck more than anything else. Whistling straits bunker nonsense, chambers bay green nonsense, Augusta staircase nonsense (he would’ve won that year)—-I wouldn’t call those huge chokes—and like yesterday sometimes putts just don’t fall.
Another DJ point - We’ve all watched him have rough these breaks, watched him come back from his wild days when everyone thought he had completely lost it. I followed him at memorial this year and was really impressed at how he went out of his way to interact with fans, especially kids, like he is taking his role seriously as the number one guy. These things are why people root for him——completely different story than koepka (to answer the question @djpie brought up on the podcast of what’s the difference between the two)


Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big DJ fan. I’ve always liked him as a player and as is often the way in life a tenuous and abstract connection to him makes me root for him even more (Wayne has a place in the town in Idaho where my family live these days and DJ & Paulina come out sometimes where he’s known to be super charming to the locals). My admiration is the cause for concern.

I just feel sometimes like people gush over him and his ability but don’t ride his ass about the failures the way they constantly do with Rory. It’s a constant dialogue about why Rory hasn’t so a major since 2014. But even on last nights pod the NLU crew only spoke of DJ in reverential tones. Not one if them said he dropped a winning ball again.

Simple truth is he is world number 1 for a reason and going out tied for the lead of a major on Sunday and he didn’t win it. Rory was 3 back from Reed and all anyone could talk about was Rory’s failure. It’s weird.

(PS: Big Rory fan too! I’m actually from the same town outside Belfast as Rory)


I’d say if Rory finishes with 6 thatd be an underachievement based on his talent. Would be an absolute hell of a career obviously but in my mind for him that would be an underachievement.


I don’t think it was a choke at all. He just putted like garbage on Saturday. If he just lag putted halfway decent, he would’ve been right there. Sure he hit a few wayward irons, but he had what 38 putts? Leaving 35 foot putts 8 feet short on the front 9 in round 3 isn’t really choking in my book. It’s not like those were massively pressure-packed shots - it’s just sucking at part of the game for a period of time.


DJ is post-choke. He exists on another plane of existence that is comprised of Joey D workouts, his “fiance” Paulina (why aren’t they married yet, who knows?), their two children, the Gretzky clan and his hanger-on little brother who cannot do math. He stays above the fray hitting towering drives and majestic irons. The father-son duo of Butch and Claude have groomed the world’s greatest competitor. His father-in-law has tuned his mind for greatness.

Shitty greens on Saturday were a wrinkle in his universe and he lost interest - deeming that setup not worthy of his attention. The fox broadcast and some golf twitter folks tried to spin all this saying, “we used to joke that he’s dumb, but now he’s actually smart.” They need to listen to @djpie 's post NLU pod assesment of Dustin claiming him to be a modern zen master. DJ does not choke, he just moves his mind to the next challenge.

Speaking of challenges, did anyone catch the audio of Austin Johnson attempting to read the yardage book on Sunday? Dustin, “how much to clear that bunker?” Austin, “uhhh, like 120?” Dustin, “not that one, the greenside one…”
Is there a single player that would benefit more from an experienced caddy than DJ?


But didn’t God (aka Jack Nicklaus) just say caddies are for chumps?


@GeneParmesan I get it. And I agree. But how many times has he been in contention at a major when currently at the top of his game, and some excuse or other means he misses out? “He didn’t know it was a bunker” / “The greens weren’t rolling well” / “He got a bad bounce”. It’s one excuse after another.

At some stage you have to look at the big picture and just admit the guy is shit at getting it done. Stop making excuses for him. With his talent and that many chances he should be sitting with 3/4 majors by now. I’m sorry but that’s just a fact.

Let’s look at it another way - Jordan Spieth wins majors when it looks like he hasn’t got a hope. He still finds a way to win. DJ loses majors when it looks like no one can beat him.


I wonder if DJ would have won more if Joe LaCava stayed on the bag…


LaCava isn’t swinging the club.

But I don’t know. There’s always chat about Rory not having a good caddy. Does it make a difference? I guess if the player consistently makes bad choices a caddy can help with that. Or if they have issues with nerves some caddies can help with that. But I don’t really buy the argument that a good caddy wins tournaments for problem golfers. I’ve had plenty of caddies over the years. I’m shit when they pick up the bag and I’m still shit when they’re carrying it! :joy:


My view is borne of Adam Scott’s strident assertion that Steve Williams gave him the read on the putt that he made to win The Masters. Adam certainly read it breaking less. Little things like that make a big difference and caddies make a difference whether people like to admit it or not.


Rory just needs to hire someone who can read greens for him. Maybe Faxon’s next career move… haha


I’d thank God Wayne Gretzky grabbed his dick… Paulina has nothing to do with it… Wayne really took him under his wing and taught him how to win