By Jay Betsill
Dustin Johnson captured his first win at Riviera Country Club in dominating fashion and in doing so, he supplanted Jason Day’s hold on the top spot in the world golf rankings to become the new No. 1 player in the world.
This is the first year that Hyandai sponsored the long-running PGA Tour event that has been known as the Los Angeles Open, Nissan Open and, more recently, the Northern Trust Open.
Following last year’s event, it was rechristened the Genesis Open and the event’s main beneficiary is the Tiger Woods Foundation. Woods had committed to play in the event, but he withdrew two weeks ago after back spasms in Dubai forced him to WD from the Omega Dubai Desert Classic prior to the second round.
Meanwhile, Johnson put on a Tiger-style show and left the stacked field that began the week with eight of the top 10 in the world in the event in the dust. He took a six shot lead into the final round and had a chance at the tournament’s all-time scoring record of 20-under until two bogeys on the back nine ensured Lanny Wadkins’ record from 1985 was safe.
“I played really great all day. I couldn’t have driven it any better. That was a big key,” Johnson said.
Hideki Matsuyama was among the notables who missed the cut at Riviera, but he remained No. 1 in the FedEx Cup standings. With his win, Johnson moved up 27 spots to No. 6 in the season-long chase for the FedEx Cup.
As Johnson reached the heights of the No. 1 ranking, Woods dropped to 704 when the official rankings were released on Monday. There is no official word on when the 14-time major champion will return to action, but his agent Mark Steinberg said they were “not talking about an extended break.”
Next up on the PGA Tour is The Honda Classic with an impressive field that includes defending champion Adam Scott, Justin Thomas, Sergio Garcia, Brooks Koepka, Ernie Els, Danny Willett, Jimmy Walker, Justin Rose, Louis Oosthuizen, Luke Donald, Retief Goosen and Martin Kaymer.