He’s the perfect athletic specimen, he’s playing like God and, after claiming a third consecutive win on Sunday, at the WGC Match Play in Texas, Dustin Johnson seems to go from strength to strength. The last man I can recall sustaining this level was Tiger Woods.
Johnson was magnificent all week in Austin. In his seven matches over the five days he was never behind. The world No1 was in control from the first hole to the last – that’s huge. He played beautifully and utterly out-golfed everyone.
He is at the very top of his game and, watching him on the course, he appears to be revelling in it. Nothing knocks him off his long, meandering stride. The US Open champion looks to have found a new love for the sport and winning is central to it.
What is also extraordinary is that he wins with relative ease. His prodigious driving just kills golf courses and he seems to have sorted out any problems in his short game.
Johnson has found a way to play, striking the ball with the club face so square, that I never thought I’d see. It is always a powerful swing but using a shut club face has been taboo for so long. His coach Butch Harmon deserves great credit on that front.
Other players have had spectacular runs in recent times – Hideki Matsuyama’s four wins in seven events was pretty great too, while Jordan Spieth and Jason Day both rose to No1 on the back of very strong years – but what DJ is doing now is different.
Johnson looks unbeatable at the moment, as if he can win any tournament he shows up to. His rivals have every reason to be intimidated heading to the Masters next week. Augusta looks tailor-made for him.
Comparisons with Tiger don’t end with his form. The game needs superstars; Johnson’s burst has elevated him to that level and he is enjoying the world No1 spotlight. He’s a breath of fresh air.
Demolition man Rahm
Dustin didn’t have it all his own way in Texas, however. Young Spaniard Jon Rahm continued his remarkable first full season on the PGA Tour by pushing Johnson all the way in the final.
What a performance it was. Five down after eight holes, Rahm cut the gap to one at the 16th and was very unlucky not to level at 18, when he was distracted by a noise as he swung at his second shot.
It was such an impressive week for Rahm, in which he demolished some top opponents, including compatriot Sergio Garcia 6&4 and Soren Kjeldsen, Rory McIlroy’s conqueror, 7&5.
He, too, is on an incredible run of one win and three top-five finishes in his last five events for someone just 22 and still learning the game.
His excitement at the possibility of playing in the Ryder Cup next year is great news for Europe; they’ll welcome him with open arms.
Rahm grew up in Spain but went to college in the US and that has made him a well-rounded player.
A scholarship is a golfer’s dream because you are playing competitively against great players, while also learning about aspects of off-course life.
Could he win the Masters on his debut? He doesn’t look to be afraid of anything, so I can see him challenging at Augusta.
Finally, there was a nice story playing out in Nairobi, where England’s Aaron Rai won the Kenya Open on the European Challenge Tour.
With his Kenya-born mum in attendance and back in the country for the first time in 47 years, Rai gave her a Mother’s Day to remember by claiming a three-shot win that boosts the 22-year-old’s chances of joining the European Tour next season.