Dustin Johnson wins at Doral
In his fifth start back from a six month leave of absence, Dustin Johnson was able to pick up his ninth career PGA Tour victory on Sunday, outlasting J.B. Holmes and Bubba Watson at Doral to win the 2015 WGC-Cadillac Championship.
Holmes entered the final day with a large five shot lead over Johnson and Watson but it quickly evaporated thanks to a birdie barrage by Watson, who started his fourth round with four birdies in his first seven holes. By contrast, Holmes couldn’t get anything going and was 3-over par through the first six. Johnson played steadily throughout the front nine and by the time the final group made the turn to the back, it was pretty clear that it was a three man race to the finish. Watson looked to be the one in control, leading by two with eight holes to play but bogeys on 11, 12 and 14 let Holmes and Johnson back in the tournament and his four closing pars, including an ugly one at the drivable par-4 16th, erased the good start.
Holmes only made one birdie on the day, coming at the 16th, but Johnson’s final round 69 was enough to clip Holmes by one.
- 1. Dustin Johnson -9
- 2. J.B. Holmes -8
- 3. Bubba Watson -7
- T4. Adam Scott -4
- T4. Henrik Stenson -4
What The Win Means For Johnson
People are going to be quick to jump on the redemption angle with Johnson and it makes sense to some degree, which is something Johnson touched on in his interview with Steve Sands after the tournament. Johnson mentioned that with everything that has gone on over the last few months, including the birth of his first child, that this win is likely the biggest of his career and I can definitely see what he means. Regardless of what you make of Johnson’s absence, a topic which I’ve made my thoughts clear on already, this should help him move forward and focus on becoming the best player he can possibly be, which as we’ve all seen in the past, is the kind of guy that can win wherever and whenever he tees it up. The putter on Sunday was lights out and with his ball striking and distance, the courses that the PGA Tour stops at cannot contain him if he’s on his game and if you look at the four major venues for this season (Augusta National, Chambers Bay, The Old Course and Whistling Straits), Johnson should be a fit on all of them. None of us should be surprised if he gets that first major win at some point over the next six months.
- Johnson takes home $1,570,000.
- Extends his streak of winning at least one tournament in a season to eight, the longest active streak on the PGA Tour.
- Joins Tiger Woods, Geoff Ogilvy, Darren Clarke, Ernie Els, Hunter Mahan, Phil Mickelson and Ian Poulter as the only players with multiple WGC titles. (Courtesy: European Tour)
- Moves up from 16th to 7th in the Official World Golf Rankings.
- Moves from 40th to 3rd in the FedEx Cup, sitting behind only Jimmy Walker and Bubba Watson.
Rory’s Club Toss
Before Johnson’s win, and arguably even after, the biggest story of the week was Rory donating his 3-iron to the Doral pond on the 8th hole on Friday after rinsing his ball just prior. It set off a firestorm of GIFs, Vines and, unsurprisingly, takes so hot that flame retardant suits were required attire before hitting the tweet button. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that what Rory did was cool and great for the game and all of that, but some of the things that have been said about him are absurd. If you talk to anyone who covers the game and has dealt with Rory, the same descriptions pop up over and over again. Exceedingly likeable, reverence for the game, genuine and honest are all traits that get brought up. When you watch him give interviews, you can see exactly what those people mean.
He’s human. He made a mistake that many of us have made, or at least wanted to make but couldn’t because we can’t have Nike overnight us replacements for free before our next disastrous round, and he owned it. He even had a little fun with it on Sunday:
It doesn’t matter what the reaction would have been if Tiger had done the same thing. What matters is that Rory knows he made a mistake and was able to have a little bit of fun with it after. He was able to move on, as was the tournament and the PGA Tour, and it’s time we did as well.
One thing that became increasingly clear as the week went on was that there are a lot of people who aren’t too fond of Doral and the way it was set up over the last four days. The top of the leaderboard, with Johnson, Holmes, Bubba, Adam Scott and Henrik Stenson is further proof that the Blue Monster is always going to be a bombers paradise, but how many of the concerns were actually valid this week?
Holmes complaining about his bounce on the 1st green on Friday? Ehhh, I’m not so sure about that one. Sure, he hit a good shot into the middle of the green and it rolled into the water, but expecting a green to hold a second shot on a 606 yard par-5 seems like a bit of a stretch. My friends at No Laying Up won’t like to hear it, but the prudent play there may have been to play for short of the green and try to make birdie, which just about every player did for the rest of the week after they saw what happened to Holmes. What was more interesting to me was the reaction from the caddies and a few of the other players:
Bubba also apparently doesn’t care for the course because it’s too hard, but he seems to do just fine. I wouldn’t expect much to change though, since Donald Trump went on the broadcast on Saturday and talked about how most of the players loved the course and that he liked how difficult it was playing. I’m scared for what Trump is doing/will do to Turnberry.
- Notables to miss the cut: No cut this week, but Hiroyuki Fujita from Japan finished in last, earning $42,250 for rounds of 75-83-78-79. Good work if you can get it.
- Alex Cejka won the opposite field event in Puerto Rico this week, taking a five man playoff on the opening hole.
- It’ll never happen, but I’d love to see these WGC events move, you know, around the world. Getting other venues and countries involved would be a nightmare for the networks who want to broadcast this stuff at optimal hours, but it would also be a lot of fun to see a new place every now and then. Even with big names on a packed leaderboard, the broadcast seemed to lose a lot of pop on the weekend and I’d have to think that part of it is the venue.
John Senden defends at Innisbrook, and I’m going to be pretty much non-existent for the coverage, so make sure you follow the regular crew on Twitter for all of your updates:
- No Laying Up (along with Tron Carter and Big Randy)
- Kyle Porter
- Shane Bacon
- Chris Chaney
- Trevor Reaske
- Brendan Porath
Also, Tiger needs to commit by Friday of this week if he wants to peg it at Bay Hill, so be prepared for that story to take over as well.