PGA Tour highlights: Dustin Johnson takes back world number one ranking with Northern Trust Open win


    Another Monday morning, another world No 1, although the manner in which Dustin Johnson reclaimed the summit has rarely made the mantle seem more appropriate. 

    The American did not just beat a Northern Trust field boasting 29 of the game’s top 30, he ridiculed them, extending out that languid stride of to prevail by 11 shots, the first 10-plus win on the PGA Tour in a decade. 

    Johnson’s final-round 63 took him to a 30-under total, just one off Ernie Els’ all-time Tour record, with the eye-stretching gap to countryman Harris English in second. « Obviously this was a really good week, » said Johnson, with trademark breviloquence.

    It was Johnson’s very own Boston tee party and so, at 36, he resumes pride of place in the rankings. “It’s something that I’m very proud of, to be No 1 in the world, and I’d like to stay there for a little while,” Johnson said. 

    “It’s been jumping around a bunch here the last few months, but the last time I was No 1, I think I stayed there for quite some time, and that’s another goal of mine – to see how long I can stay at No 1.”

    At the end of a tournament in which he did very little wrong – although some will look at his second-round 60 as a missed opportunity for a 59 or lower – Johnson was correct on both counts. He is the fifth player to claim top spot this year, the most in a calendar year since the rankings were introduced 34 years ago. 

    Indeed, Johnson is the fourth since the game restarted after lockdown 11 weeks ago, an unprecedented period of flux. Rory McIlroy, who was No 1 at the restart, is down to fourth – his tie for 65th at TOC Boston the latest mediocre performance on a list that is getting worryingly longer – while Brooks Koepka, who began the year at No 1, has slipped to seventh and is now sidelined with injury.

    The problem for Johnson is that both Jon Rahm, the Spaniard whom he leapfrogged on Sunday, and Justin Thomas could usurp him in at the BMW Championship on Sunday. However, if world No 1 was not rich incentive enough for Johnson, there is the little matter of the FedEx play-offs. With this $1.7 (£1.3m) prize, Johnson moved to the stop of the standings with two events left and a $15m bounty waiting for the man topping the standings next week in Atlanta. And at the moment, that is Johnson.

    With the top 70 going forward to the BMW, there are four Englishmen still alive – Tyrrell Hatton (17th), Matt Fitzpatrick (60th) and Paul Casey (64th). Fitzpatrick and Casey plainly have their work cut out this week to take their place in the top 30 who qualify for the Tour Championship, as does Tiger Woods, who is 57th following a tie for 58th. 

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