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Teeing Off: Is Zach Johnson on his way to the Hall of Fame?

Shane Bacon
Devil Ball Golf

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Zach Johnson — Getty Images

Welcome to Teeing Off, where Devil Ball editor Shane Bacon and national columnist Jay Busbee take a day's topic and smack it all over the course. Suggest a future topic by hitting us on Twitter at @shanebacon and @jaybusbee. Today we talk about Zach Johnson's potential as a Hall of Famer.

Bacon: On Monday afternoon, before the craziness that happened at the National Championship game, Zach Johnson was polishing off his 11th PGA Tour win of his career, dominating Kapalua thanks to precise wedge shots and some great putting. Johnson now has more career PGA Tour wins than names like Nick Faldo, Sergio Garcia and Lee Janzen. With that said, my question is, if he continues to win once every couple of years until he's done with his career, is Zach Johnson a Hall of Famer?

Busbee: He doesn't SEEM to be a Hall of Famer yet, does he? He's got that one Masters win, but that's it. (Cue the "So does Fred Couples" argument, which is a good one; Couples "only" has 15 PGA Tour wins.) I think Zach's got an excellent chance, if only because we're going to have to readjust our criteria for champions in the Tiger Era. What are your thoughts? What does (or doesn't) make him a Hall of Famer?

Bacon: Well the one major win is huge for his case, considering he has 10 other PGA Tour wins, but I would be really surprised if he finished his career without another major. Johnson is only 37, meaning he has plenty of years left to contend in majors, and has finished in the top-10 at the last two British Opens and T-8 a year ago at the PGA Championship. With another major win I think he's definitely in, but even if he doesn't add that to his resume isn't he destined to have a career that finishes a lot like Couples?

Busbee: Johnson doesn't have the "ladies want to be with him, guys want to be him" rep that Couples has, which I'm convinced is part of the reason (maybe the MAIN reason) he made the Hall. But Johnson is steady and reliable in an era that values flash over substance, at least in the short term. We're also in an era of such broadly-spread talent that even one major is an accomplishment. I too think he'll sneak in and grab another one before he's done. What do you think are the must-ins for Hall of Fame candidacy now? Ten Tour wins? Two majors?

Bacon: I think voters lean towards more majors over just regular PGA Tour wins, meaning that in this era we could see names like Angel Cabrera, Retief Goosen and yes, even John Daly as possible inductees if we keep seeing a bunch of one-major winners finish up their careers without a second big trophy. It will be interesting to see how this era ends up, with very quality players like Justin Rose, Geoff Ogilvy and Adam Scott possibly finish their careers with just one major (definitely possible if you think how long it took them to win their first).

Busbee: DALY FOR HALL OF FAME. Who's going to be against that, huh? Well, who outside of the world of golf. But he does make an interesting case study in the "two majors and you're in" category, yes? I think we're going to have to expand our definition of what qualifies as "Hall of Fame" numbers: Lee Westwood, for instance, who can't buy a major at this point but would seem to be approaching HoF status based on his overall body of work. Does he make it, do you think?

Bacon: If Colin Montgomerie makes it, I think Westwood is in simply because the two have similar resumes over the years (39 professional wins around the world for Westwood, 41 for Monty). And yes, I agree with you about Daly, just because it would be the best HOF ceremony ever if he was a part of it.

Now your turn ... is Johnson setting himself up for the Hall of Fame?

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