Dustin Johnson rolls to Genesis Open win, grabs No. 1 ranking

By Art Spander, The Sports Xchange
Dustin Johnson. (PGA Tour/Instagram)
Dustin Johnson. (PGA Tour/Instagram)

PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- Dustin Johnson finally got the win at Riviera Country Club that proved so elusive, stomping the soggy course and the field Sunday to win the Genesis Open by five shots.

On the first day without a weather delay in a tournament pounded Thursday through Saturday by rain, the sun literally came out for Johnson. Needing two full rounds to complete his victory, Johnson followed a 7-under-par 64 in the morning with an even-par 71 in the afternoon for total of 17-under 267.


Johnson did get a bit tired in the end, making three bogies the final 10 holes after making only one bogey over the first 62. He was ahead by eight after five straight birdies spanning the end of the third round and the beginning of the fourth.

Thomas Pieters of Belgium also was weary after tying for second at 272 with Scott Brown. Pieters shot 71-63, Brown 69-67.


"When you get up at 4 a.m. four days in a row, it's not fun," said Pieters, who played in Dubai two weeks ago, then headed to the United States. "I was wide on my driving, but my putting was good."

Four players tied for fourth at 273: England's Justin Rose (65-68), Wesley Bryan (63-72), Kevin Na (67-70) and Charley Hoffman (70-67).

Jordan Spieth tied for 22nd place at 278.

Johnson finished second here in 2015, losing on the third hole of a playoff, and in 2014. In 2016, Johnson was fourth. Understandably, he was more satisfied with the victory than the fact the win bumped him up to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking, moving ahead of Australia's Jason Day, who held the position the past 47 weeks. Day came in at 286, tied for 64th.

"I don't really care about that," Johnson said, referring to the ranking. "What I care about is winning golf tournaments, about what it takes to get it done."

What it took the 32-year-old Johnson was a stretch of 49 consecutive holes without a bogey, from his 13th the first round to his ninth the fourth round, when he missed the green Sunday.


"The rest of the stuff I'm not worried about," Johnson said.

Day said of Johnson, "He deserves it. He wins this win pretty convincingly, he deserves to get that ranking."

What had the people in golf worried is when Johnson, in August 2014, took a six-month leave from the Tour, "for personal challenges." He denied he was suspended for testing positive for cocaine, which many news sources reported.

Johnson returned in January 2015. He won the 2016 PGA Championship, his first major title in a career that has seen him win at least one tournament every year since joining the Tour in 2008. He added the U.S. Open crown last eyar.

Johnson led the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach after three rounds, but because of a series of bad decisions and poor shots, he fell apart early in fourth round, shot 81 and tied for eighth.

Later that year, not checking an advisory that all sand was to be considered a hazard at the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, he grounded his club in the wrong area, and the penalty cost him a chance to be in a playoff.


Finally, he three-putted the 72nd green of the 2015 U.S. Open, missing a tie for first with Spieth.

However, the 2016 U.S. Open win, at historic Oakmont near Pittsburgh, where Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller and Ernie Els had won, gave Johnson redemption. The victory Sunday gives him revenge in effect against a course that had vexed him, Johnson coming close four times previously.

Johnson's fiancee, Paulina Gretzky, is the daughter of hockey legend Wayne Gretzky. She announced two days ago that she is expecting the couple's second child.

NOTES: Wesley Bryan shot an 8-under 63 in the third round that lifted him into second place behind Dustin Johnson. He was 2 under for the four holes Saturday before darkness, then picked up six more shots Sunday morning. "I got off to a good start," Bryan said, "and then was able to sleep on it." ... One more reminder how quickly things can change in golf. Pat Perez started the third round one shot behind Johnson and finished it 11 shots behind, with Johnson shooting 64 and Perez 74. Perez closed with a 72 and finished tied for 28th.


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