Even by the stratospheric standards of Dustin Johnson’s best golf, his performance in winning the Northern Trust on Sunday felt like an emphatic reset.
One event into the three-tournament run that comprises the FedEx Cup playoffs, Johnson strong-armed the narrative and looked every bit as formidable in the PGA Tour’s postseason opener as the nearby New England Patriots have looked in the NFL’s postseason in the past decade or so.
“This was a really good week,” Johnson said. “My ballstriking was unbelievable. I found something on Wednesday. Something just clicked. I hit it really well on Thursday but I didn’t make a lot of putts. I worked hard on my putting Thursday afternoon and it paid off.”
The numbers associated with Johnson’s runaway victory may be familiar by now but they’re still fun:
The worst that could be said about Johnson’s performance was that after playing his first 11 holes Friday in 11-under par, he closed with seven pars to shoot 60, which seemed almost disappointing considering how he started. That’s how ridiculously good he was.
“This is as good as it gets,” Webb Simpson said.
There aren’t many gaps in Johnson’s record but he has yet to win the FedEx Cup, which comes with a $15 million bonus this year. Both the points standings and the eye test suggest that could change when the playoffs conclude on Labor Day at East Lake in Atlanta.
Johnson won the Travelers Championship, endured an odd July when his three competitive scores were 80-80-78 then took a two-stroke lead into the final round of the PGA Championship only to finish second to Collin Morikawa. Now this.
“This week I played some really good golf,” Johnson said. “It was a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to the rest of the FedEx Cup playoffs. I’ve got myself in good position.”
Ron Green Jr.