Dustin Johnson Wins At Riviera
D.J. Weathers the Storm to become #1 in Official World Golf Ranking
February 23, 2017
The 2017 Genesis Open could have easily read: neither wind nor rain nor floods nor gloom of roughs, bunkers and greens stays these golfers from the deft completion of their appointed rounds. Ultimately weathering the storm and the golf course, the one known as DJ delivered with an authoritative stamp.
Chants of "number one" from the crowd surrounding the 18th green at Riviera Country Club late Sunday afternoon, February 19 were about to become a reality as Dustin Johnson holed out the final putt to capture the inaugural Genesis Open title with a dominating 17-under par 267.
It was Johnson's first victory at Riviera after having finished in the Top 10 six times in the Los Angeles tour event. He also joined a very select group by becoming only the fourth golfer to record a win in each of their first 10 seasons on the PGA Tour: golfing legends Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.
And by winning the Genesis Open Johnson has overtaken the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking from Jason Day and becomes only the 20th golfer ever to attain the top status.
"Well, winning the golf tournament's most important right now. That's what I was here to do. I was coming in here to put myself in a position to win and I did that and I played really well," said Johnson.
"I wasn't really thinking about my world ranking, I was thinking about winning this golf tournament, what it would take to do that. That's kind of all I focus on.
"I want to win the golf tournament I'm playing. If I get to No. 1 there winning the golf tournament, then obviously that's even a bonus. You know, that's the most important to me is winning golf tournaments."
The very light rain that started falling from the diminishing lit sky during the trophy ceremony on the 18th green was an appropriate gesture that all four rounds completed by Sunday evening was a minor miracle.
It appeared play was headed for a Monday finish due to Thursday morning's fog delay to Friday night's heavy deluge creating local mudslides along Sunset Blvd. to the continuous unwanted rain that drizzled throughout the weekend.
Johnson: "Today obviously we were trying to squeeze in, I mean I played 36 today, so we were trying to get everyone done. And the Tour did a great job with getting everybody through and it was nice to finish on Sunday. But yeah, I didn't have any time between rounds."
Hosting the tournament for the very first time, TGR Live, the Tiger Woods Foundation event company, did a remarkable job in bringing it in on-schedule while adding fan-friendly promotions, increased food and beverage selections, course accommodations, transportation options and interactive contests to the event.
Even though Sunday was a two-round marathon with no group changes after the third round, Johnson was on pace to break the 72-hole tournament record of 20-under par 264 set by Lanny Wadkins in 1985. His greatest surge occurred during a five-hole birdie binge that bridged the third and fourth rounds.
Johnson birdied the famed par-3 Hole 6 to go 20-under par with 12 holes to play. Bogeys at Holes 9, 15 and 16 ended any record low-score thoughts. At -12 he was in the lead group for the final two rounds with Pat Perez (-11) and Cameron Tringale (-9) at the start of the third round.
Johnson's third-round score of 64 put a virtual lock on the tournament as the increased crowds buzzed and paraded his group as it winded through the fairly dry and winding course guarded by the prominent sycamore and eucalyptus trees. Thomas Pieters and Scott Brown both finished second, five strokes back at -5 for 272.
Johnson: "But today kind of felt a lot like how I was playing this past summer. It's finally getting back to where I was, driving it really well. I put the new M1 driver in this week and I really feel like I drove it well. I had control of my driver all week.
I hit a few in the rough, especially on my last nine holes, but it was more I was just making sure I didn't... you can play from one side of it so I was just taking out one side and almost aiming in the left rough or right rough. But the driver was a big key for me this week"
The Genesis Open is the final stop on the PGA Tour's west coast swing as the players travel to Palm Beach Gardens, Florida for the Honda Classic this week. Johnson will rejoin the Tour when it stops in Mexico City for the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship the following week.
"We have a long year and I work really hard during the year, so the offseason I didn't practice at all. It took me a few weeks to get back into it but now I'm feeling good with the golf game and obviously looking forward to the next tournament's in Mexico City that I'll play," said Johnson.
"... and then I'll play Match Play, Houston and Augusta. Yeah, obviously looking ahead to the Masters. I'll be focused on the tournament I'm playing during that time.
"If you look at even the top 10 guys in the world all of them are very, very good. Even the guys that, you know, between the top 5 it's really close. I'm going to have to keep working hard and keep playing well if I want to stay there."