Dustin Johnson was relieved to hold off a brilliant fightback from Jon Rahm to claim a one up victory in the final of the WGC - Dell Technologies Match Play, making him the first player in history to have won all four World Golf Championships and just the second player win back-to-back WGC events.
The World Number One won the WGC - Mexico Championship earlier in the month and was in stunning form all week to emulate Tiger Woods and make it consecutive World Golf Championship wins.
The American did not trail at any point in any match all week as he made it seven wins out of seven and lost just 23 of the 112 holes he played at Austin Country Club.
Rahm had also been in brilliant form in his first six matches and mounted a spirited fightback from five down after eight holes to take Johnson all the way to the 18th.
Rahm hit an incredible drive through the par four 18th green but hit a poor chip onto the green due to a portable toilet door slamming in his back swing. It was a sad finish to an exhilarating encounter but the 22-year-old vowed to recover quickly from the disappointment.
Rahm has now finished third (WGC – Mexico Championship) and second in his two appearances since joining the European Tour on March 1. The Spaniard is now second in the Race to Dubai Rankings presented by Rolex with 1,437,325 points, with England’s Tommy Fleetwood leading the way at the top with 1,609,882 points.
Dustin Johnson: “There's a lot of great players and I'm the first one to win all four WGCs but I feel like there will be some more to do it. But I'm very, very pleased with it. I'm very pleased with my play this week. And it was a long week. It was a lot longer match this afternoon than I would have liked it to have been. But Jon was a great competitor and it was a great match.
“It's impossible to win every week. I know that. Obviously I've won my last three. But I'm just going to have to keep working hard. Keep working on the things that I'm working on right now. And just keep trying to get better. Being the Number One player in the world kind of drives me to work harder and to get better. There's still a lot of room for improvement in my game. So I'm just going to keep working on it.
Jon Rahm: “It feels bad because of all the work I did on the back nine to come from almost five down, to almost have a chance. I could have got that chip to 12 feet for birdie and maybe win the hole. When something like that happens it's really unfortunate. I understand if I miss the shot, but when it’s not really your fault, it just makes you feel a little worse. It's something that I can't control. I wish it hadn't happened but there's a lot of positive to take out of this week. I'll be sad for a couple of minutes, but then I'll be fine.
“I'm really proud of what I did. I had all those great up-and-downs on the back nine. It just feels bad that it ended that way, that's not a good way to win. But obviously it was a great week. I can't complain. I'm a European Tour member now and I'm thrilled I'm going to have a chance to maybe play in the Ryder Cup. There are hopefully a lot of good things to come.”
Johnson’s path to the Championship Final
- RD. 1 -- Johnson defeated Webb Simpson, 5 and 3
- RD. 2 – Johnson defeated Martin Kaymer, 3 and 2
- RD. 3 – Johnson defeated Jimmy Walker, 5 and 3
- RD. of 16 – Johnson defeated Zach Johnson, 5 and 4
- QF. – Johnson defeated Alex Noren, 3 and 2
- SF. – Johnson defeated Tanihara, 1 up
- Final – Johnson defeated Rahm, 1 up
Johnson wins his 15th tournament on the PGA TOUR in his 208th career start at the age of 32 years, 9 months, 4 days.
Dustin Johnson’s 15 PGA TOUR victories:
- 2008 – Turning Stone Resort Championship
- 2009 – AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
- 2010 – AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am,
- 2010 – BMW Championship
- 2011 – The Barclays
- 2012 – FedEx St. Jude Classic
- 2013 – Tournament of Champions
- 2014 – World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions
- 2015 – World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship
- 2016 – U.S. Open,
- 2016 – WGC-Bridgestone Invitational,
- 2016 – BMW Championship
- 2017 – Genesis Open,
- 2017 - World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship,
- 2017 World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play
Johnson, who won the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship for the second time in his career earlier this month, becomes the first player to win each of the four World Golf Championships events, with the 2017 Dell Technologies Match Play title completing the ‘WGC Slam’. Johnson’s WGC victories came at the HSBC Champions (2013), the Mexico Championship (2015), the Bridgestone Invitational (2016) and the Mexico Championship (2017).
In the Championship Match, Johnson’s string of winning the opening hole expired when he halved the first hole with Rahm with a par. He was 6 of 7 in winning the starting hole this week, five times with a birdie.
Johnson played 112 holes this week and never trailed at any stage.
Johnson, who started his Dell Technologies Match Play career just 2-6 between 2009-2014, is 12-3 since that time including a 7-0 record this week.
The Dell Technologies Match Play is Johnson’s third win in consecutive starts on the PGA TOUR following victories at the Genesis Open and World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship this year. The last player to win three consecutive starts was Rory McIlroy in 2014 (The Open Championship, World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational, PGA Championship).
Johnson (5) and Tiger Woods (18) are the only players with four or more World Golf Championships victories. Although Woods has 18 victories, he failed to collect the HSBC Champions trophy, where he finished T6 in 2009 and 2010 in his only two appearances.
The victory for Johnson in the Dell Technologies Match Play marks consecutive World Golf Championships wins following his Mexico Championship title. Tiger Woods was the last player to win consecutive WGC titles (2013 Mexico Championship, 2013 Bridgestone Invitational). Incidentally, Woods was the last player to win three WGC titles in a row (2007 Mexico Championship, 2007 Bridgestone Invitational, 2008 Dell Technologies Match Play).
Johnson is the first American to win the Dell Technologies Match Play since Matt Kuchar in 2013.
Johnson joins Rory McIlroy (2015) and Tiger Woods as the third player to win the Dell Technologies Match Play as a No. 1 seed. Woods won the tournament three times (2008, 2004 and 2003) as the No. 1 seed.
Johnson moves to No. 1 in the PGA TOUR Money List with $5,346,600.
Johnson (3), Justin Thomas (3) and Hideki Matsuyama (2) are multiple winners on the PGA TOUR this season.
Johnson (15/2008-present) has at least one win in each of his first ten seasons on the PGA TOUR (the best current streak) and joins Arnold Palmer (17/1955-1971), Jack Nicklaus (17/1962-1978) and Tiger Woods (14/1996-2009) as the only players since 1960 to achieve this feat.
Last season, Johnson claimed the Jack Nicklaus Trophy as PGA TOUR Player of the Year. He also took home the Byron Nelson Award for Adjusted Scoring Average (69.172) and the Arnold Palmer Award as the TOUR’s leading money-winner ($9,365,185) and finished No. 2 in the FedExCup standings.
Johnson has a 4-3-0 overall record in two Ryder Cup appearances but has won both singles matches. In two Presidents Cup appearances, his record is 4-4-1 with one singles victory. Johnson is No. 1 in the current standings for the 2017 Presidents Cup U.S. Team with 8,127 points.
2016-17 starts-made cuts-top-10s-wins: 7-6-5-3
PGA TOUR career starts-made cuts-top-10s-wins: 208-166-74-15
Rahm’s path to the Championship Final
- RD. 1 – Rahm defeated Kevin Chappell, 3 and 2
- RD. 2 – Rahm defeated Shane Lowry, 2 and 1
- RD. 3 – Rahm defeated Sergio Garcia, 6 and 4
- RD. of 16 – Rahm defeated Charles Howell III, 6 and 4
- QF. – Rahm defeated Soren Kjeldsen, 7 and 5
- SF. – Rahm defeated Haas, 3 and 2
- Final – Rahm lost to Johnson, 1 up
At 22 years, 4 months and 17 days, Rahm was seeking to become the youngest winner in the history of the World Golf Championships, besting Patrick Reed, who won the Mexico Championship at 23 years, 7 months and 4 days. Rory McIlroy is the youngest winner in tournament history having won in 2015 at 25 years, 11 months and 25 days.
With a victory, Rahm would have become the youngest player since Jordan Spieth with two wins in the same season. Spieth was 21 years, 8 months, 16 days when he won the 2015 Masters following his Valspar Championship title a month earlier. Rahm earned his first win at the Farmers Insurance Open earlier this season to be the youngest winner on TOUR this season.
This is Rahm’s second appearance in a World Golf Championships event, having finished T3 at the Mexico Championship, won by Dustin Johnson earlier this month.
Rahm was seeking his second PGA TOUR victory in his 21st career start (16th as a professional). By comparison, Tiger Woods also claimed his second PGA TOUR title (1996 Walt Disney World/Oldsmobile Classic) in his 21st career start, but seventh as a professional. Rahm claimed his first win on TOUR in just his 17th start when he won the Farmers Insurance Open earlier this year.
Of the nine players making their Dell Technologies Match Play debut, only Rahm advanced to the Championship Final. Geoff Ogilvy is the only player to win this event in his first appearance, in 2006.
Rahm became the first player from Spain to reach the final of the Dell Technologies Match Play. Last year, Rafa Cabrera Bello lost (4 and 2) to Louis Oosthuizen in the semifinal and went on to win the Consolation Match with a 3 and 2 victory over Rory McIlroy. In 2010, Sergio Garcia finished 4th after losing the Consolation Match to Camilo Villegas (5and 4).
Rahm began the week at No. 25 in the Official World Golf Ranking and moved to No. 14 with the runner-up finish.
Rahm’s 7 and 5 victory over Kjeldsen in R5 matches the largest winning margin this week. Daniel Berger also won 7 and 5, over J.B. Holmes in the opening round.
Consolation Match (111) – Bill Haas defeated Hideto Tanihara, 2 and 1
Hideto Tanihara began the match with five consecutive pars to be all square with Bill Haas before holing an 8-iron for an ace at No.7. Two additional pars saw him make the turn 2 up. Haas won both 10 and 11 to get back to all square before conceding the par-5 12th hole to Tanihara, who had launched his second shot from 250 yards to within six feet of the hole. Haas won both the 13th and 14th holes to retake the lead at 1 up and closed the match out with a 2 and 1 victory when Tanihara 3-putted No. 17 to lose the hole.
Haas’ path to the Consolation Match
- RD. 1 – Haas lost to Russell Knox, 3 and 2
- RD. 2 – Haas defeated Danny Willett, 6 and 5
- RD. 3 – Haas defeated K.T. Kim, 4 and 2 *Haas defeated K.T. Kim on the 6th playoff hole to advance
- RD. of 16 – Haas defeated Kevin Na, 1-up
- QF. – Haas defeated Phil Mickelson, 2 and 1
- SF. – Haas lost to Rahm, 3 and 2
- Consolation – Haas defeated Tanihara, 2 and 1
Tanihara’s path to the Consolation Match
- RD. 1 -- Tanihara defeated Jordan Spieth 4 and 2
- RD. 2 – Tanihara halved with Ryan Moore, halved
- RD. 3 – Tanihara defeated Yuta Ikeda, 3 and 1
- RD. of 16 – Tanihara defeated Paul Casey, 2 and 1
- QF. – Tanihara defeated Ross Fisher, 4 and 2
- SF. – Tanihara lost to Johnson, 1 up
- Consolation – Tanihara lost to Haas, 2 and 1