Athletes from across the world have been ranked according to their marketing potential over a three-year period from this summer.
- Value for money
- Home market
- Willingness to be marketed
- Crossover appeal
American, 32, Golf
The seasoned pro with a story to tell
Representatives: Hambric Sports Management
Key partners: TaylorMade, Adidas, Netjets, Hublot, New Era, EA Sports, BodyArmor
2016 ranking: New entry
Last year Dustin Johnson got a major monkey off his back, claiming June’s US Open at Oakmont having come so excruciatingly close, so frustratingly often to wins in golf’s most prestigious events in the past. That breakthrough was one of three tournament victories in 2016 for the 32-year-old, who also helped the US secure the Ryder Cup on home soil on his way to being named the PGA Tour’s player of the year.
This season, the always-watchable Johnson has already matched his 2016 tally. With victory at February’s Genesis Open - a triumph that saw him top the world rankings for the first time - the big-hitting veteran could lay claim to winning at least one tournament in each of his first ten seasons on tour, joining illustrious company in Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods as only the fourth player ever to achieve the feat.
“What’s so great about Dustin is he doesn’t play the way I played, but he gets there with the same result.” - Jack Nicklaus, 18-time major champion.
Johnson’s critics will recall how he took a leave of absence in 2014 to seek “professional help for personal challenges” amid reports of three failed drug tests and other transgressions. That episode was shrouded in secrecy, but it was the kind that makes for a compelling after-dinner speech or, perhaps, a tell-all autobiography. Furnished with more major trophies, it could be that Johnson’s chequered past will, in time, enhance the legend he is set on becoming. ML