As the first round approached at the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club, there were enough story lines for a Hollywood movie. However, there were two things topped the conversation: Tiger Woods cancelled press conference and the impending torrential rain that made a potential Monday finish come into play.
When the week came to a close, all everyone was talking about was reigning U.S. Open champion Dustin Johnson as he won going away and took over the No. 1 spot in the world in the world.
On the 25th anniversary of Tiger Woods’ first appearance in a PGA Tour event (1992 at Riviera) when he was 16 years old, Johnson put on a Tigeresque display of domination with his lead so big in the final round that the only suspense was if he would break Lanny Wadkins’ all-time tournament scoring record from 1985.
Following back-to-back bogeys on the back nine, Wadkins’ record was safe, but Johnson was still in cruise control as he put the finishing touches on a weekend that also included Paulina Gretzky announcing on Instagram that she and Johnson were having their second child.
“Today was a long day, but I played really great all day. Really drove it well, I’m hitting that new M1 driver and I couldn’t have drove it any better so that was a big key for me today,” Johnson said on CBS Sports immediately following his victory. “I didn’t finish the last 10 holes like I would have liked to, but I had a pretty big lead there with 10 holes to go so I was kind of on cruise control.”
On top of having to play 36 holes on Sunday due to the weather delays, Johnson’s runaway victory at the classic course was even more impressive due to the fact that the stacked field included eight of the top 10 players in the world.
Johnson joins Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Woods as the only players with a win in their first 10 seasons on the PGA Tour. He now has 13 PGA Tour victories.
His track record at Riviera in the last four tournaments is now: 2nd, 2nd, 4th and champion.
Thomas Pieters and Scott Brown tied for second, five shots behind Johnson.
As for Tiger’s cancelled meeting with the media, his agent Mark Steinberg said that Woods’ doctors advised him to “stay horizontal” so he was unable to attend. He also added that it would not be an “extended break” for the 14-time major champion.
And the rain? The doomsday forecast did arrive as predicted, with the storm delivering over three inches of rain to the grounds at Riviera, but they were able to get the event in on time.
The win at the Genesis Open moves Johnson to sixth place in the FedEx Cup rankings.
Next up on the PGA Tour is The Honda Classic.