After Further Review: DJ has learned to close


Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On Dustin Johnson's newfound ability to close ...

Greatness separates itself in the clutch.

In basketball, it’s the guys who live to take the last shot and more often than not make it. In baseball, it’s the guys who hit the walk-off game winners. In football, it’s the guys who make the big plays in two-minute drills.

In golf? Yes, it’s players who can hit brilliant shots at the finish, but more often than not the great closers don’t have to be brilliant in the end. They just have to avoid beating themselves. This is where Dustin Johnson is separating himself now, with his combination of brilliance and steadiness when the pressure mounts.

After struggling in final rounds and beating himself on too many grand stages, he looks comfortable under pressure. He showed it closing out the U.S. Open at Oakmont this summer and again closing out the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick on Sunday. He’s learning golf’s greatest skill, the ability to separate himself in those moments when it’s the most difficult to separate. - Randall Mell

On DJ's bid for Player of the Year ...

An unscientific poll of players last week at the Deutsche Bank Championship suggested that the PGA Tour Player of the Year award would be decided over the next three events.

Dustin Johnson was a slight favorite, but nearly every player who was asked said the decision could be swayed if Jason Day, a three-time winner on the PGA Tour this season, were to win one of the three remaining FedEx Cup playoff events.

On Sunday at the BMW Championship, Johnson seemed to finally put the debate to rest. With a late eagle to seal a three-stroke victory, the American claimed his third Tour title this season, a total highlighted by his major breakthrough at the U.S. Open.

With that third victory, he also seems to have locked up the Player of the Year award. - Rex Hoggard

On Davis Love's unenviable task ...

Darren Clarke had plenty of good options to round out his European Ryder Cup team. The same can’t be said for his American counterpart.

Of Davis Love III's most likely choices – Matt Kuchar, Jim Furyk and Rickie Fowler – only Kuchar is moving on to East Lake for the Tour Championship. Furyk didn’t even make the BMW after starting his season in May; Fowler played the last five weeks in a row in a desperate attempt to make the team, but he finished better than 22nd only once during that span.

The point of waiting so long to announce the picks was to identify the hottest players. Suffice to say, Love’s newest additions aren’t peaking at the right time. – Ryan Lavner

On why Love may skew conservative ...

Don’t act surprised if Davis Love III’s three Ryder Cup picks Monday morning don’t exactly re-invent the wheel.

Entering this week, Rickie Fowler seemed like a lock. Now J.B. Holmes appears to have a late burst of momentum and Matt Kuchar remains a steady, albeit safe, option. But those clamoring for an outside-the-box pick, or even two, should remember that the U.S. task force process started by tabbing Love for a second term despite a losing effort four years ago.

Some will say he deserved another shot, and has the support of the team room. That may be true, but it’s unfair to give Love another crack and then expect him to turn his strategy and tactics on their collective head. He’s still the same man that walked off that last green at Medinah.

So when Phil Mickelson alludes to the fact that Love’s first three picks are essentially a fait accompli, lending credence to the thought that he’ll look to add some familiar faces, it shouldn’t come as a shock. Chances for overhauling change with these choices went out the window when Love was called back for another go-around.  – Will Gray