It was a familiar site on the 18th green Club de Golf Chapultepec. For the second time in three years, Dustin Johnson would be victorious at the World Golf Championship in Mexico. Four rounds in the 60’s and a five stroke win over runner-up Rory McIlroy may seem routine for Johnson. But for the rest of the PGA Tour, it is a stark reminder of how dominant the 20-time winner can be.
“He just played great this week,” stated McIlroy. “Hats off to him. He’s arguably the best player in the world.
Dustin Johnson’s Driving Distance and Accuracy Make Him a Force
The success of Dustin Johnson starts with his driving distance. Currently this 2019 season, Johnson is averaging 304 yards off the tee. Over the years, the amount of rotation in his swing has steadily increased, leading to a higher club head speed and distance off the tee.
Another aspect is DJ’s driving accuracy. While his driving distance has been consistently long years, it is when he drives the ball in the fairway where he causes damage. It allows him to only use short irons and wedges for his second shots, leading to approaches to the green that are close to the pin. In his victory at the WGC-Mexico, Johnson was second in Strokes Gained: Tee to Green (11.966), Strokes Gained: Approach to the Green (7.903), Scrambling (85.7%) and first in Greens in Regulation (80.6%). It is this model of consistency that he produced in all four rounds that allowed him to be triumphant in Mexico.
“This is a big win for me. It gives me a lot of confidence for the rest of the year,” said Johnson after his win. “I feel like the game is in good form right now.”
Dustin Johnson Focused on Having Sustained Success
With the win on Sunday, it is Dustin Johnson’s 20th on the PGA Tour. All of his victories, which include one major championship at the 2016 U.S. Open, have occurred before the age of 35.
Given the powerful nature of his game, it is no surprise that in the tournaments he has won, the same formula of high driving accuracy has correlated with victory. In his first and only major, he was first in Strokes Gained: Off the Tee with 2.4. At the 2018 RBC Canadian Open, which got him his third victory of the season last year, he was fourth in driving distance, sixth in driving accuracy and first in greens in regulation. It may seem boring, but this is the robotic, methodical nature of Dustin Johnson at his best.
Many ask why Johnson hasn’t won more tournaments? At age 34, he only has one major. Jordan Spieth has only won 11 times on the PGA Tour, but has three major championships locked up.
Earlier in Dustin Johnson’s career, there were questions about whether he could close on the big stage. At the 2010 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, he had a 54-hole lead before shooting 82 in the final round. At the 2015 U.S. Open, he gave the tournament to Jordan Spieth with a three-putt on the 72nd hole. It would be the type of collapse that could haunt a golfer his whole career.
But the “aw shucks,” attitude that personifies Johnson kept marching on. A year later at Oakmont, he was able to finally secure his first major, at one of the most formidable championship venues in golf. Now, the collapses are a thing of the past. Because when Johnson is on, he cannot be stopped.
“He’s arguably the best player in the world,” says McIlroy. “And he’s got two wins already this year, and he has been one of the best players for a long time.”
Hall of Fame in Sight for Dustin Johnson
The resume that Dustin Johnson has concocted is one for the history books. If he were to hang up the clubs today, he’d arguably be in the Hall of Fame. At 20 PGA Tour victories, Phil Mickelson had no major victories. DJ already has one.
At the WGC-Mexico, there was no one stopping Johnson. While the course and the greens presented difficulty for the top ranked golfers in the world, Johnson was able to conquer them with ease. When Rory McIlroy would inch closer to the top of the leaderboard, Johnson would drain long putts for birdies to go up ahead. It drains the golfers chasing the American, because no matter the shots you produce, Johnson will showcase his brilliance at an even higher level.
For Dustin, his focus is continuing to play at a high level. While he does think about what it would be like to secured in the annals of golf history in the hall of Fame, he knows there is more success and accolades left in his career.
Because when he is at his best, he’s the best in the world.
“I’ve still got a long way to go hopefully, and hopefully I’ve got a bunch more wins to put on my resume before I start thinking about [the hall of fame],” said Johnson. “Obviously, it would be a great achievement and a great honor to be a part of that. For me it’s more, you know, trying to win as many tournaments as I can.”