Johnson 1 of only 2 U.S. golfers in their 20s with at least 3 PGA Tour victories

February 17, 2010|By Teddy Greenstein | Tribune Newspapers

The PGA's Tour's new "it" guy, Dustin Johnson, can dunk a basketball. Barefoot.

That seems fitting for a player who has entered some rare air. After making a final-round birdie on the 18th to win the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, Johnson became just the second American in his 20s with three or more PGA Tour victories. The other is Sean O'Hair.

Just four 20-something Yanks have multiple Tour victories, and you deserve a tee time at Cypress Point if you can name them: Anthony Kim, Nick Watney, D.J. Trahan and J.B. Holmes.

Like Johnson, Kim has a hoops jones. The Los Angeles native played for the West in the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game for coach Magic Johnson.

He told ESPN.com last year that he would trade in his golf clubs for an NBA gig "in a heartbeat. Basketball was my first love."

Good thing for golf fans that Kim is 5 feet 10.

Kim's huge golf potential has been somewhat overshadowed by his rep for loving the nightlife. During the Presidents Cup in October, international player Robert Allenby claimed Kim had returned to his hotel "sideways" in the early morning hours before their Sunday singles match. He called him golf's "current John Daly."

The 24-year-old Kim responded like a bouncer - tossing Allenby to the curb with a 5-and-3 victory.

Kim has teed it up just once this season, tying for 52nd at the Northern Trust, at Riviera. He enters this week's Accenture Match Play Championship near Tucson, Ariz., as the event's 25th-ranked player, one of four No. 7 seeds.

Johnson enters as an 11 seed after becoming the first American since Tiger Woods to win in each of his first three years on tour.

Asked what has changed for the 25-year-old Johnson, a source with ties to the tour put it simply: "He quit partying."

Which might be far more significant than hang time.

tgreenstein@tribune.com

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