Dustin Johnson Runs Away with Genesis Open Title, Moves to No. 1 in the World

Dustin Johnson overpowered the rain-soaked Riviera Country Club en route to a five stroke win over Thomas Pieters and Scott Brown and his 13th career victory. With his win and Jason Day’s T-64 finish, Johnson now moves to No. 1 in the world for the first time in his career.

Because of record-breaking rains in the Los Angeles area on Friday, the timeline of the tournament was pushed back and many of the leaders had to play the third and fourth rounds on Sunday.

Johnson was the 36-hole leader and his third round 64 earned him a five-shot lead and removed any doubt of who was walking away with the title as the final 18 was a formality.

After two rounds, a strong leaderboard was setting the stage for a potential showdown between some of the biggest names in the game. Adam Scott and Jordan Spieth were lurking, bot only Johnson was able to catch fire over the final two rounds.

Because of the delays, the outcome was a foregone conclusion by the time CBS came on the air on Sunday. Even though there was no drama, Johnson’s power off the tee and improved putting game were on full display as his lead grew as large as nine before he made a few careless mistakes on the back nine.

Thoughts:

– Johnson is now No. 1 officially, but his win also allows the debate of who is the best when they are playing their best?

– The debate centers around Johnson and Rory McIlroy. Both have tremendous long games and improved short games, but the differences come in how they mentally approach tournaments. McIlroy’s mindset is very much along the lines of Tiger – cutthroat intensity and focus. Johnson’s is the complete opposite – a relaxed, lackadaisical approach that helps him maintain a calm demeanor under the gun and has allowed him to overcome more than a few heartbreaks over the course of his career.

– McIlroy has the 4-1 edge in majors, but Johnson’s win at the U.S. Open last year will open up the floodgates. We can only hope that they are able to hit their strides at one of the majors this season.

– Johnson and Paulina Gretzky also announced earlier in the week that she is pregnant with their second kid…not a bad few days.

– Both Johnson and McIlroy have an extra level that Spieth, Day, and Matsuyama simply don’t have.

– Speaking of Matsuyama…he had a tough week at Riviera as the 24-year old missed his first cut of the season thanks in part to a second round 80.

– Tiger was again in the headlines leading up to the tournament. Woods, who’s charity is tied in with the Genesis sponsor of the event, was supposed to hold a press conference on the Wednesday before the tournament. Instead, Woods withdrew from the press conference citing doctor’s orders. That is either the biggest load of bullshit I have heard, or his back issues are bigger than he and Steiny are leading on.

– It is always unusual when weather causes such extreme delays that in order to complete the event on Sunday, the PGA Tour does not regroup between the third and fourth rounds.

– This is an understandable necessity, but it is always strange when guys are on the leaderboard, but are playing the opposite nine of the leaders. Just once, I would love to see someone win the tournament with their final hole being the ninth.

– Johnson becomes the 20th player all-time to reach No. 1 in the world.

– Here is the list of players who have been No. 1 and how long they stayed there.

– With Sunday’s win, Johnson joins Arnold Palmer, Tiger Woods, and Jack Nicklaus as the only players to earn a victory in each of their first 10 seasons on tour.

– Johnson went 50 holes between bogeys during the tournament – a remarkable achievement on one of the toughest courses on tour.

– Johnson mentioned that Riviera was one of his favorite tracks. Frankly, it is a mystery that he hadn’t won previously. He came close in 2014, but as indicated by the graphic below, the course fits Johnson’s eye. He mentioned that other than the four majors, this was the event he wanted to win the most.

– You can add a 64 and 71 to that…

Errant Tee Shot Off a Fan’s Dome of the Week:

– Pat Perez had a few errant tee shots on Sunday and they made solid contact with some members of the gallery.

Shot(s) of the Week:

Cameron Tringale ended his third round with a better slam dunk than anything the NBA had to offer on Saturday night.

Phil’s game was up and down all week, but his three hole-outs on Sunday showed he still has the mastery around the greens.

Otter Room Picks:

Was one off of the -17 winning score, but my player selections were less than good. My dark horse, Brooks Koepka missed the cut, and Jason Day never sniffed the leaderboard and finished T-64 at +2.

Stay tuned to The Otter Room this week for a complete preview of the Honda Classic.

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