Prevailing at last week’s Genesis Open saw American Dustin Johnson achieve a lifelong ambition by becoming the 20th world number one since the introduction of the Official World Golf Rankings.
With his win at Riviera, Johnson ended Jason Day’s 46-week stay as the world's best golfer. He also became only the third man in the history of golf to have won in each of his first 10 years as a professional, joining both Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.
A monstrous long game was again evident at last week’s tournament, with Johnson being the only player whose average driving distance exceeded 300 yards – a clear 20 yards ahead of the next longest in the field.
Catch some of DJ’s Genesis highlights below:
The short game flaws of a few years ago seemed the only barrier between the big Floridian and the upper echelons of the men's game. Now that his wedge play and putting have improved immensely, we can expect Johnson to challenge for a whole plethora of major championships.
Indeed, when he won the US Open last June at Oakmont Country Club in Pennsylvania, it was viewed in many circles as the first of many to come. Of the four maiden major winners in 2016, few would argue against the assertion that it is Johnson’s game which is most likely to yield the healthiest major haul.
Have a look at how Johnson sealed the deal at Oakmont CC in 2016:
Key to his rapid ascent in the rankings has been an unrivalled consistency which last year saw three separate Tour wins, as well as a whole host of top-6 finishes. And it is high-level consistency at that. Some players are well known for consistently making cuts, others for featuring in the top 20 on a regular basis. Johnson’s achievement is to be in the discussion for a tournament win more often than not.
Maturity the key
It hasn’t all been plain sailing to date for Dustin who, while blessed with unending natural golfing talent, has never been far from controversy. In 2014, this culminated in a voluntary six-month absence from the game after twice testing positive for cocaine, and once for cannabis.
Becoming a father has provided a renewed perspective on life and, very quickly, this newfound maturity has been reflected in his performances on Tour. Added to that, DJ now knows that he possesses the game to be the best around, and will do all within his power to protect that position.
Johnson seemed the player who would most threaten the existence of a modern ‘Big Three’ in golf – however, contrived that idea was from the get-go. Now, rather than having merely broken that triumvirate apart, Day, McIlroy and Spieth may need to play to their mercurial best just to hold on to his coat tails.
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