The WGC – Mexico Championship was Dustin Johnson’s first competitive week as the World No.1 ranked player and any doubters about his worthiness to hold the position have been silenced.
Johnson left the golfing world in no doubt he deserves the No.1 position with an impressive one-stroke win at a new tournament venue that didn’t appear to suit his game at the start of the week.
The Club De Golf Chapultepec is about 7,500ft above sea level, meaning the golf ball travelled on average around 15 percent further than normal. While Johnson’s already impressive power was enhanced, the course is heavily tree-lined and tee shots and approaches to greens required more placement than power.
Johnson was a study of patience for the week as he regularly took less than driver from tees and tactically plotted his way to victory and joined Greg Norman, Ian Woosnam, David Duval, Vijay Singh and Adam Scott in winning his first event after securing the world No.1 ranking.
Fellow American Justin Thomas started the closing round with a one-shot lead over Johnson, but never got going on the final day finishing with a one over 72 to drop into a tie for fifth with Belgium’s Thomas Pieters, three shots behind Johnson.
In contrast, Johnson got off to a fast start. Making the turn at four under par for the day and in a commanding position. Back-to-back bogies at the 12th and 13th brought the tournament back to life as Spaniard Jon Rahm put together an eagle and two birdies to briefly take the lead.
Johnson steadied with birdie at the par-5 15th and then secured the victory with what he described as the “best shot I hit all week” from an awkward lie in a fairway bunker on the 18th. Johnson managed to find the putting surface from 127 yards and two-putt for a par four to finish the tournament at 14-under par. Englishman Tommy Fleetwood was one shot back after a final round 66 which included four birdies in his last eight holes.
Johnson’s win around a tricky course with hard-to-read greens was made all the more impressive given he struggled with the putter all week. The American missed more than 10 putts from inside 10 feet.
“I didn’t feel like I putted my best but I really hit the ball well,” he said.
The undisputed World No.1 is now one the bookies favourites to win The Masters and isn’t letting the pressure of being the world’s best player get to him, telling the media after his win “…I don’t mind the extra attention”.
The Doral event that Mexico replaced saw an Australian finish in the top-25 every year, the move over the boarder obviously didn’t suit the Aussies, with Adam Scott the best placed, finishing tied-45th at one over par.