Dustin Johnson’s Journey To World No.1 Started and Ended at Riviera

Dustin Johnson Wins Genesis Open
Dustin Johnson and his son Tatum pose with the trophy during the final round at the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club on February 19, 2017 in Pacific Palisades, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Dustin Johnson’s breakthrough win at Riviera was important on many fronts: It marked the tenth straight season with a PGA Tour win (the most, by far, for active players); it increased his career earnings to $41,058,345; and more importantly, at least for bragging rights (and sponsorship equity), it moved him into the lofty position as the world’s top golfer.

It’s only fitting that DJ became world No. 1 at Riviera, as it’s arguably the place where he started his journey to become the world’s top-ranked golfer.

Let’s take a look.

After finishing 41st at the 2016 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, DJ entered the Genesis Open (then called the Northern Trust Open) as the world’s 8th-ranked golfer. He was known as an all-world talent, who had all the tools, but couldn’t win the big one – and who, at 31 years-old – despite a stellar PGA Tour player, was still seemingly under-performing.

Dustin Johnson
Dustin Johnson celebrates his win with wife Paulina Gretzky and son Tatum on the 18th green during the final round at the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club on February 19, 2017 in Pacific Palisades, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

At the time, all the buzz was about the so-called Big Three (Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, and Rory McIlroy).

DJ would quietly finished in 4th place at Riviera, where he would say, “Everything’s going how I’ve been planning it to go.”

And that plan included FOUR top-5 finishes over his next 5 starts with the other finish being a T13.

One of those top-5s took place at Augusta, where DJ commented on being a great player, but not living up to his talent.

“I mean if your name’s getting mentioned, best player, whether, you know, whatever comes after that, is usually pretty good,” Johnson said. “You know, I still feel like my time’s coming. I’ve just got to keep putting myself in position to have a chance to win. One of these days I will get it done.”


DJ’s Road To No.1 – The Start

EVENTS: 5
TOP-5: 4

DatePosEventOWGR
2/21/20164Northern Trust Open8th
3/6/2016T14WGC Cadillac8th
3/27/2016T5WGC Dell Match Play9th
4/3/20163Shell Houston Open8th
4/10/20164Masters Tournament8th

Following a T28 at THE PLAYERS, Johnson then went on an 11-start run where he finished NINE times inside the top 10, headlined by three Ws, including his first major at the U.S. Open.

DJ’s Road To No.1 – The Run

EVENTS: 11
WINS: 3
TOP-5: 6
TOP-10: 9

DatePosEventOWGR
5/22/2016T12AT&T Byron Nelson8th
6/5/20163The Memorial Tournament6th
6/12/20165FedEx St. Jude Classic6th
7/3/20161U.S. Open3rd
7/17/20161WGC Bridgestone2nd
7/24/2016T9British Open2nd
7/31/2016T2PGA Championship2nd
8/28/2016T18The Barclays2nd
9/4/2016T8Deutsche Bank Championship2nd
9/11/20161BMW Championship2nd
9/25/2016T6TOUR Championship2nd

DJ started the 2016-17 season with a mediocre T35 in China at the WGC-HSBC. But since then, over a stretch of six starts, he’s finished in the Top-3 FOUR TIMES, capped off by a victory this week at Riviera.

DJ’s Road To No.1 – The Finish

EVENTS: 6
WINS: 1
TOP-5: 4
TOP-10: 5

DatePosEventOWGR
12/4/2016T3Hero World Challenge3rd
1/8/2017T6SBS Tournament of Champions3rd
1/22/2017T2Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship3rd
1/29/2017MCFarmers Insurance Open3rd
2/12/20173AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am3rd
2/19/20171Genesis Open1st

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