Johnson walks it off in Memphis
June 11, 2018
By Ben Everill, PGATOUR.COM
Dustin Johnson wins by six at FedEx St. Jude
Marc Cohn might have been famously Walking In Memphis but Dustin Johnson was walking off after a stunning hole out eagle put an exclamation point on an impressive victory at the FedEx St. Jude Classic.
Welcome to the Monday Finish where Johnson proved himself the best in the land of the Delta Blues, pouring in more birdies than anyone else for a dominant six-shot win at TPC Southwind.
1. Dustin Johnson is quite simply a freakish talent. That is not to say he doesn’t work hard… those who have seen his gym workouts can attest to his drive… but his ability to just pound the ball so far and also have the finesse to wedge the ball close… it’s frightening. The combination of distance and proximity from close range is usually enough on its own for him to contend, but when he has a decent week with the putter, he’s near unbeatable. It is on the greens where Johnson can sometimes look out of his element, but this week he made more than enough to dominate. Sitting 12th in the field in Strokes Gained: Putting was enough to help him towards a shellacking of the field. And then of course there are times he doesn’t even need a putter. His hole out eagle from 171 yards on the 72nd hole was a big reminder that while the 20-somethings on the PGA TOUR have been getting plenty of worthy praise, Johnson is still the top dog in town.
2. Johnson says he isn’t focused on rankings. He claims the fact he moved to second in the FedExCup and back to No. 1 in the world rankings was just a byproduct of what he really loves. Winning. And he’s done plenty of that. Now an 18-time PGA TOUR winner, Johnson is in heady territory. Since World War II, there has now been 30 players win that many TOUR events with at least one major among them. A whopping 28 of them are in the Hall of Fame. The other two are Tiger Woods and Johnson. It’s a fair bet they’re heading there. Johnson has made a habit of winning. He’s won at least once in all 11 seasons he’s been on TOUR. And since his 2016 U.S. Open win, he’s won nine times (22.5 percent) – the most on TOUR in that span. His 22 Top-10s in the same period are also the most on TOUR and represent 55 percent of his starts. In stroke play events in that period he has spent a TOUR-leading 50 rounds inside the top-5 on the leaderboard. And to round things out, he’s spent 57 weeks inside the Top-5 of the FedExCup standings (second most).
3. Andrew Putnam may not have had the Sunday he was after in his showdown with Johnson, but importantly he held on to finish runner up – the best finish of his career. His impressive 67-64-64 start to the tournament had him stuck to Johnson like a fly when everyone expected a walkover. A double bogey to open the final round might have been nerves, but it was also a necessary learning curve. Next time he’s in that position, the 29-year-old will be better prepared. He struggled in his rookie season on TOUR back in 2015 with just two top-25s in 23 starts, sending him back to the Web.com Tour. He’s a two-time winner there, including last season to get back to the big stage. This time around he’s used his experience and already has six top-25s in 19 starts, including this runner up and two further top-10s to sit 49th in the FedExCup and headed for the Playoffs.
4. It’s been a rather tough year by J.B. Holmes' standards since he was fourth at the Farmers Insurance Open. Having copped a lot of criticism on Sunday at Torrey Pines for his pace of play on the 72nd hole, Holmes seemingly didn’t respond well. His best finish in the 12 starts afterwards was a T32 and he missed five cuts in that span. But something seems to have clicked again for the four-time TOUR winner. A T13 at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide and a deep finish yesterday to be third in Memphis has Holmes trending. He’s not in the U.S. Open but perhaps keep a keen eye on him in coming starts.
5. Speaking of the U.S. Open, plenty of players certainly grabbed some momentum in Memphis. Johnson of course now goes to Shinnecock with tremendous confidence. Phil Mickelson rebounded from a dreadful third round to post 65 on Sunday and move to T12, perhaps finding something as he chases the elusive national title and career slam. Mickelson has six runner up finishes at the U.S. Open. Steve Stricker, Henrik Stenson and defending champion Brooks Koepka also showed flashes of play that could prove very useful this week and beyond. Memphis has long been a great lead-in to the U.S. Open and now will take its new place as a World Golf Championship in a new slot for next season. Already, TPC Southwind has more hole outs than any other course. With the top players in the world all lining up… it will be even better.
1. A whopping 71 percent of Johnson’s total strokes gained for the week were a result of his performance off the tee and approach to the green. He gained 3.71 strokes per round in these two categories combined.
2. Johnson averaged over 23 yards longer off the tee than the field average. His overall performance off the tee was +1.250 strokes per round in Strokes Gained: Off-the-Tee. The longest drive of the week came from Johnson on the par-4 13th hole in the final round, measuring 359 yards. It was 16 yards longer than the next best drive on that hole all week. With 12, Johnson hit the most drives 330 yards or longer of any player.
3. Johnson shot a final-round 4-under 66, marking his 45th final round of 4-under par or better since 2008. It is the most of any player on TOUR in that span, besting Matt Kuchar by one and Phil Mickelson and Charles Howell III by two. Johnson is now nine of 16 when holding the lead or a share of it through 54 holes.
4. Stewart Cink (T4) collected his first top-10 finish on the PGA TOUR since last year’s FedEx St. Jude Classic (T10).
5. No player has won the U.S. Open the week after winning on the PGA TOUR. Johnson will try to defy that history.