DJ lays down ominous marker with eight-shot win in Hawaii
World No. 1 Dustin Johnson opened up his 2018 season by demolishing his closest rivals while for every Rickie Fowler untucked shirt there is a Pat Perez pair of trousers.
So what happened at the Tournament of Champions?
On Saturday night they whispered about China where Dustin Johnson lost a six-shot lead. Come Sunday night in Hawaii Johnson turned his two-shot lead into a whopping eight-shot annihilation of his peers.
Jon Rahm, who becomes the fourth youngest male to reach No 3 in the world behind Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy, was the next best with Brian Harman in third. The left-hander, out in the final group, put no pressure on his playing partner covering the first eight holes in two over.
Hideki Matsuyama played his last seven holes in five under to take fourth.
This is Johnson’s fifth win since February and he did it with his best round of the week, an eight under 65 which saw him pick up four birdies on the front nine to keep them all at bay before an eagle (see Best Shot) and a hat-trick of birdies coming home.
And it immediately keeps his run going of having won for the past 11 PGA Tour seasons.
“I hit it a little thin” – Johnson, describing his near-albatross after driving the 420-yard 12th hole.
His last working week came at the FedEx St. Jude Classic last June on Phil Mickelson’s bag. Next week Jim ‘Bones’ Mackay will be back caddying and for no less than Justin Thomas.
Thomas’ regular bag man Jimmy Johnson has plantar fasciitis (a foot problem) so he won’t be at the Sony Open for his man’s defence. Johnson lasted two rounds – he is expected to be out for a month and was in walking boots this week – at Kapalua so Thomas’ dad Mike took over but he was happy to step aside.
“My legs are tired. I’m glad to. I’m dragging butt,” said Thomas Sr, who last caddied for his son at the 2016 QBE Shootout. “It’s always nice to be able to do that with your son, though.”
As for Mackay he has been filling his time working as an on-course reporter for NBC/Golf Channel and he, like everyone, is a big fan of the PGA champion. “I think the world of Justin and I’m looking forward to working with him,” Mackay said.