Dustin Johnson still driving along
And will the Tuesday finish impact play at the Sony Open?
So what's in store for DJ in 2013? Our experts tackle his future fortunes and more in the latest edition of Four-Ball.
1. After a wayward tee shot cost him a couple of shots on No. 13 in the final round, Dustin Johnson continued hitting driver. Will that mentality help him or hurt him more in the long run?
Michael Collins, ESPN.com senior golf analyst: By all means, it will help. It's never about the bad drive, it's about the next drive and if you can hit a good one after the bad one. DJ has a very short memory, which always serves him well in golf, especially when it comes to tee shots.
SONY OPEN IN HAWAII
• This week: Sony Open in Hawaii
• Venue: Waialae Country Club; par-70, 7,044 yards
• Location: Honolulu
• Tee times, leaderboard
• Experts' picks
• FOREcaster likes Charles Howell III
• Dates: Thursday-Sunday, Jan. 10-13
• Defending champion: Johnson Wagner
• Payout: $1,008,000 to the winner
• Format: 72-hole stroke play, 36-hole cut to low 70 and ties
Farrell Evans, ESPN.com senior golf writer: DJ likes the driver. He probably plays the percentages as much as anybody on tour, but he also isn't afraid to take risks or do what's comfortable even when it doesn't make sense. That's why he has won seven times in his PGA Tour career.
Bob Harig, ESPN.com senior golf writer: It will help him. For a guy like Johnson, who was last in the field in driving accuracy, being aggressive is a good thing, especially on a wide-open venue like the Plantation Course. Certainly he needs to be smart about when and where he hits driver, but take this as a good sign. He wasn't getting conservative with a lead and after a couple of poor shots.
Kevin Maguire, ESPN.com senior golf editor: Both. It will help him win events like the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, but if he wants to capture majors, he'll have to have a better plan of action. Dropping two shots knowing you have a pair of par-5s left that you can birdie and maybe even eagle helps mitigate any blowup holes. Those situations probably won't present themselves too often in majors, where the pressure will be infinitely more intense.
2. Over/under: Dustin Johnson will win at least one PGA Tour event in 10 straight years.
Michael Collins: Under. Ten years is a long time to stay healthy nowadays on the PGA Tour. Johnson was shut down once already last year and there just aren't enough 54-hole tournaments he can count on! Ha ha.
Farrell Evans: Over. At the rate he's going, I would be surprised if DJ didn't do it for 15 years straight.
Bob Harig: Under. All it takes is one poor year, an injury, all manner of issues. Many, many great players have had years where they didn't win. The odds are against him, despite enormous ability and talent.
Kevin Maguire: Over. He has been a model of consistency throughout his career, earning seven career wins in 120 PGA Tour starts. The only thing that keeps him from achieving this feat would be injury.
3. What kind of impact will a Tuesday finish have on the players who are also teeing it up Thursday at the Sony Open?
Michael Collins: Very little. It's only a 20-minute flight and they'll probably get a free pass on the pro-am Wednesday. Compared to the venue they just came from, this flat course with much less wind will be a breeze (yeah, I went there).
More From ESPN.com
Can Dustin Johnson sustain his six-season winning streak? Will he back off the driver after nearly giving away his season-opening win? Four-Ball
Sure, no one can question Dustin Johnson's talent after winning his seventh PGA Tour event at age 28. So does he have what it takes to challenge the likes of Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy for best in the world? Farrell Evans takes a closer look. Story
Farrell Evans: They should be fine. Most of these players didn't play much golf in November and December, so they have fresh legs and are anxious to get their year off to a fast start.
Bob Harig: It depends. For a player such as Dustin Johnson, he gets to move right into the next tournament on a roll. For those who struggled, they've got little time to find their games, especially if they are in the Wednesday pro-am.
Kevin Maguire: It won't be good. Of the 20 players expected to travel from Kapalua to the Sony Open, I'd expect at least a third to half of them to not fare well at Waialae, possibly even missing the cut. These are pros, and tour winners at that, but the conditions and delays they went through this week were enough to shake even the most seasoned of veterans.
4. Steve Stricker, along with several other pros such as Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter, are taking extended breaks early in the 2013 season. Thumbs up or thumbs down on the decision?
Michael Collins: Thumbs up. Everything Stricker has done for the PGA Tour and its tournaments gives him a free pass to do as he likes now. McIlroy wins four out of the 15 times he tees it up and a major. What do you want me to tell him, that he's doing it wrong? Poulter is really the only one I wonder about. But after his performance at the Ryder Cup and winning a WGC late in the year, I think he's now one of the elite players who have my blessings to do that.
Tournament of Champions Leaderboard
1. Johnson (-16)
2. Stricker (-12)
3. Snedeker (-10)
T-4. Bradley (-9)
T-4. Watson (-9)
• Complete scores
Farrell Evans: Thumbs up. The more security you have, in terms of exemptions and confidence so you don't have to play 30 times a year to meet your goals, the more likely a player is to have a smaller schedule with frequent breaks. Not everybody can do it, but if anybody can, it's McIlroy and Poulter. Plus, the best players build their schedules around the majors. They want their games to peak around those four weeks. Everything else is in place to fill out the schedule to stay sharp.
Bob Harig: This is the way of the golf world today. Stricker is a different case in that he said he is cutting back his schedule, going into semi-retirement. Poulter won't play again for six weeks and that is because of a heavy schedule at the end of 2012 that saw him tee it up all over the world and into the second week of December. McIlroy, too, is trying to be more careful about his scheduling, and after next week, we probably won't see him again until the Match Play at the end of February. If golf insists on having a nearly year-round schedule, these types of breaks are inevitable.
Kevin Maguire: As a fan, I say thumbs down but only because I'd like to see the best players in the world play every week. Granted, that's not a realistic expectation, but I certainly understand their decision to get a break early in the season. It's one of the first indications that the new wraparound schedule will have an impact and shows that top-tier players might start taking a break at very different times than in years past.
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