LIV Golf Tulsa: Dustin Johnson rediscovers winning touch ahead of US PGA
Former world No1 Dustin Johnson toasted a timely return to form after warming up for this week’s US PGA Championship by winning the LIV Golf League event in Tulsa on Sunday.
Johnson beat Open champion Cameron Smith and South Africa’s Branden Grace in a three-man play-off in Oklahoma to claim the $4m (£3.2m) first prize.
It was a first win of the season for last year’s LIV Golf individual champion, whose low-key start to the campaign included finishing outside the top 45 at the Masters last month.
The 38-year-old had shown signs of improvement at LIV Golf events in Orlando and Adelaide but rediscovered his best in Tulsa ahead of the year’s second major.
“I feel like I’m doing everything really well right now,” Johnson said. “I’m really looking forward to next week.”
The two-time major winner has finished runner-up at the US PGA twice, in 2019 and 2020, and led with one hole to play in 2010 but has never won the title.
Johnson came through a stern test of his credentials in Tulsa, however, where he recovered from a triple bogey to birdie the last and tie with Smith and Grace on 17 under par.
The Texan’s sole individual win on last year’s LIV Golf tour also came via a three-man play-off in Boston, where he also finished the job on the first extra hole, in September.
“Next time I’d like to win without going into a playoff. It would be a lot less stressful,” said Johnson, who refused to blame his seven at the par-four 10th on a storm interruption.
“I wish I could. It wasn’t the rain delay’s fault, though. No10 was really the only hole where I had a little bit of a hiccup. Everything that could go wrong went wrong on that hole.”
Smith also showed more encouraging signs of form ahead of this week’s US PGA at Oak Hill, carding a nine-under 61 to record a third consecutive top-seven finish.
Brooks Koepka, whose Orlando win last month proved a springboard to a concerted challenge at the following week’s Masters, tied for fifth in Tulsa, five shots off the leaders.
Grace’s consolation prize was to claim the $3m (£2.4m) team prize for Louis Oosthuizen’s Stinger GC, who pipped Johnson’s championship-leading 4Aces.
“At the end, it was not bittersweet,” he said. “I know I put in a lot of hard work and it has paid off. The team really wanted this one.”
On the PGA Tour, meanwhile, Jason Day shot a bogey-free final round of 62 to win his first tournament for five years at the Byron Nelson in Texas.
Day, whose sole major win came at the US PGA Championship in 2015, has seen his career derailed by chronic back injuries but is now back in the world top 20 for the first time since 2019.
World No2 Scottie Scheffler tied for fifth, three shots back, alongside England’s Tyrrell Hatton.