Top 5 Golfers to Watch in 2018: Dustin Johnson
Dustin Johnson held the No. 1 ranking for nearly all of 2017, an impressive feat considering he didn’t win one of the four Majors last season.
He won four tournaments, second-most on the PGA Tour, and hauled in $8.732 million in winnings. In 20 starts, he made 17 cuts and finished in the top 10 six times.
Johnson came out firing on all cylinders in 2017, tying for third at the Hero World Challenge and for sixth at the SBS Tournament in two of his first three appearances. After an uncharacteristic missing of the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open, Johnson went on a rampage.
He finished third at the AT&T Pebble Bach Open, then won three events in a row – the Genesis Open, the WGC-Mexico Championship and the WGC-Dell Match Technologies Match Play.
He was completely dominant at Genesis, winning by five strokes to claim $1.26 million, starting the tournament with rounds of 66, 66 and 64 to cruise to a 17-under 267. On the final day of the tournament, he ascended to the No. 1 ranking in the Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR), the 20th man in history to hold the spot.
He didn’t let up from there, winning the WGC-Mexico Championship with a 14-under 270, nipping Tommy Fleetwood by one stroke. He then blasted his way through the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, defeating red-hot Spaniard Jon Rahm by a score of 1-up in the final.
He seemed unstoppable heading into the Masters only to be laid low by a slippery socks and a staircase days before the tournament and had to pull out. He returned to action a month later and nearly made it four straight titles in as many starts, finishing tied for second at the Wells Fargo Championship.
He slumped over the next two months, missing the cut at the US Open and finishing tied for 54th at The Open Championship.
He broke through by finishing tied for eighth at the RBC Canadian Open, tied for 13th at the PGA Championship, and won the Northern Trust, defeating top rival Jordan Spieth in a playoff.
Johnson is closing in on a full year ranked No. 1 in the world, something only a handful of players have ever done. He’ll be in the most jeopardy of losing that ranking in March when his hot streak occurred last year, but he’ll be able to make up any lost points by doing well at The Masters. He’ll turn 34 this year, still young and in the prime of his career to add another Major or three.