Granted, he's one of the more obscure names among the recent 16 major winners. But he's having a fine year. He came within a ball turn of sinking the winning putt at Augusta before Bubba Watson came out of the trees in a playoff to beat him for a green jacket, and Oosthuizen has continued to play well; he was in the mix last week at Firestone.
He's a young talent, and like countrymen Gary Player and Ernie Els, will win several majors.
The South Carolina native is as familiar as anyone with the coast's erratic weather.
Johnson has a history of playing well in seaside breezes — two wins at Pebble Beach, a tie for second at last year's British Open and ninth recently at Royal Lytham. Don't forget Johnson just missed a playoff at the 2010 PGA at Whistling Straits along Lake Michigan.
Johnson should take heart from this week's Notice to Competitors: "There are NO 'bunkers' on the golf course. … A player is allowed to move loose impediments, take practice swings and ground his club lightly in all of the above sandy areas."
It would be easy to pick Tiger Woods, considering that he contended into the final round in last month's British Open until taking that dreaded triple in the bunker on the sixth hole.
But Woods has won only once in 28 tournaments played on Pete Dye courses over his career, and the soft conditions at Kiawah after several deluges this week will turn it into dart golf. Which means more than half of the field is capable of taking home the Wanamaker Trophy.
I'll pick a player who I've always rooted for — Matt Kuchar. He won the Players Championship at Sawgrass — Dye's most famous design — earlier this year and has finished strong in the Masters (T3) and British Open (T9).
The stats say that Tiger Woods (68.85 scoring average) is the best player on the PGA Tour this year. Combine that with the fact he is Tiger Woods, and there's your favorite to win the PGA Championship, at 8 to 1.
But I'll take a guy who's about 12 yards per drive longer off the tee, who will have the home-state advantage at Kiawah's Ocean Course and who sneaked in a top-10 at the British Open.
He is Dustin Johnson, and he knows how to thrive on Pete Dye designs (see Whistling Straits, 2010 PGA). Best of all, every "bunker" at Kiawah will play as a waste area, so Johnson can ground his club to his heart's content.