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What’s, what may need been and what might nonetheless be of Dustin Johnson’s quest for greatness

MEXICO CITY — When Dustin Johnson dominates as he did once more in successful the WGC-Mexico Championship for the second time on Sunday, it usually makes you surprise why he does not carry residence extra of the event .

The sport can seem to look really easy for him, and taking part in within the skinny air of Mexico Metropolis and bombing drives into the sky nearly appears unfair. The uncooked energy, the athleticism, the much-improved wedge recreation … all of it has put Johnson, 34, close to the highest of the world rankings for the higher a part of two years and inside proportion factors of being No. 1 once more.

So about piling up these event victories?

For the second consecutive day, Tiger Woods was understandably and visibly irritated with himself after struggling on the greens and squandering an opportunity at a low rating. And for the second day in a row, Woods declined to speak about it.

Dustin Johnson began out the ultimate spherical of the WGC-Mexico Championship slowly however completed robust Sunday, successful his 20th profession title and incomes himself a lifetime membership on the PGA Tour at age 34.

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Whereas it appears as if Johnson might have extra, the truth that he picked up win No. 20 on the PGA Tour is a exceptional achievement throughout a time of immense depth and parity. Johnson has traded spots atop the world rankings with three different gamers over the previous 12 months, however no one has completed what he simply did, going again 11 years.

The final time a participant achieved victory No. 20 in his PGA Tour profession was when Davis Love III gained the now-defunct Walt Disney World Traditional at age 44 in 2008. It has change into a uncommon feat.

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Bob Harig breaks down Dustin Johnson’s 20th profession PGA Tour win on the WGC-Mexico Championship.

Previous to that, it was Vijay Singh in 2004 (at age 41), Phil Mickelson in 2002 (at age 31) and Tiger Woods in 2000 (at age 24).

Mickelson and Woods, after all, are iconic gamers who reached these numbers rapidly and saved going. Johnson is simply the 38th participant to get to the milestone, placing him in some elite firm, which means he’ll attain lifetime PGA Tour membership standing after his 15th 12 months.

“Yeah, 20 is good, I positively wished to get to that 20 quantity,” Johnson mentioned. “I might have favored to have achieved it a bit of bit faster, however I am happy with the place I am at. And to get 20 wins clearly is a lifetime exemption on the Tour, in order that’s a really huge accomplishment and I am very pleased with myself for doing it.”

Along with Love, Lanny Wadkins gained 21 occasions, with Greg Norman and Hale Irwin every successful 20.

Amongst a slew Corridor of Famers who didn’t attain 20 are Ernie Els, Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite (19), Nick Value (18) and Curtis Unusual (17).

Johnson shouldn’t be one to review up on golf historical past, which could have one thing to do with how a victory whole akin to this type of snuck up on the golf world at massive. However it’s spectacular nonetheless.

And he has gotten there with a flurry of victories lately espousing a easy mandate.

“My aim is to attempt to win each event I play, however I wish to be in competition,” he mentioned. “I wish to give myself an opportunity going to the again each time on Sunday.”

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Tiger Woods finishes tied for 10th and Justin Thomas’ final-round 62 strikes him to ninth, however Dustin Johnson wins on the WGC-Mexico Championship.

Whereas that could be a lofty aim, it’s not actually achievable. Nonetheless, Johnson has not been far off. Beginning three years in the past, he has gained a minimal of three tournaments worldwide every year, with the WGC-Mexico title his second of this season after successful the Saudi Worldwide on the European Tour three weeks in the past.

Additionally throughout that interval, Johnson has racked up 30 top-10 finishes exterior of his victories, whereas lacking simply 5 cuts.

Since coming back from a six-month depart of absence in 2015 to cope with private points, whereas additionally studying tips on how to dial in his wedge pictures, Johnson has been among the many most feared gamers within the recreation.

His capacity to drive it to this point — and he sometimes is fearless utilizing a driver off the tee — means quite a few short-iron approaches into greens, which is why getting his wedge recreation discovered has paid large dividends. He is also a deft short-game participant. And when his placing is on, Johnson is tough to beat.

He was within the high 10 in strokes gained off the tee, strokes gained tee to inexperienced and in driving distance together with strokes gained strategy to the inexperienced. Strokes gained placing? Second.

After all, what would really make Johnson’s profession report that rather more spectacular is extra main championships. When he gained the U.S. Open at Oakmont in 2016 — a 12 months after spectacularly blowing the championship to Jordan Spieth — it appeared an enormous breakthrough, with extra to come back. He confirmed some large resiliency as a part of that victory, not simply rebounding from a 12 months earlier but additionally overcoming a controversial final-round ruling.

However Johnson could not convert a 36-hole lead on the U.S. Open final 12 months, capturing a third-round 77 earlier than ending third.

And there are these close to misses that might have enormously altered his résumé: the 2010 U.S. Open, when he coughed up a third-round lead; the 2010 PGA Championship, when he took a two-shot penalty on the ultimate gap for grounding his membership in a hazard, lacking out on a sudden-death playoff; and the 2011 Open, when Darren Clarke prevailed as Johnson pumped a tee shot out of bounds on the again 9.

Think about what the report could possibly be?

Johnson dealt with all these defeats, and he is aware of the alternatives that await. We’ll at all times surprise what may need been had he not slipped on the steps at his Augusta rental home two years in the past that day previous to the Masters when he was the most well liked participant on this planet. Maybe that is the 12 months.

That is why after a four-week stretch that took him to Saudi Arabia, Pebble Seashore, Riviera and Mexico, he’s not too eager on sitting again and having fun with what he has simply completed.

“There’s simply too many tournaments developing,” mentioned Johnson, who will compete subsequent on the Gamers Championship. “I wish to preserve my recreation as sharp as I can. There’s positively some issues I can work on once I go residence. I will be proper again to work, as a result of this 12 months, this time of 12 months’s simply too vital. I do not actually have the time to take any break day.”


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