Dustin Johnson at Risk of Losing #1 Ranking Spot to Jon Rahm

Published 06/14/2021, 4:30 PM EDT
Golf – The Masters – Augusta National Golf Club – Augusta, Georgia, U.S. – April 6, 2021 Dustin Johnson of the U.S. walks down the 14th hole during a practice round REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst


Dustin Johnson has been on top of the world golf rankings for quite some time now. He got there after winning the first tournament of the 2020 FedEx Cup playoffs. Johnson has been consistent in holding on to his ranking, but for the first time since August 2020, there is a menace to the coveted #1 spot at the 121st U.S. Open. 

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Dustin Johnson can lose his top spot to either Justin Thomas or Jon Rahm. If Justin Thomas wins and Johnson finishes worse than solo 17, Thomas will overtake and go on top of OWGR. If John Rahm wins and DJ finishes a 2-way tie for 18th, Rahm will capture the top spot. So Dustin Johnson has to finish approximately in the top 15 to secure his World No.1 ranking.

It will not be a straightforward thing to do for DJ as the course for the upcoming US Open looks intimidating. The rough at Torrey Pines Golf Course is thick, and it is daunting for the players. So, players must try to remain in the fairways as much as possible. So, the tee shots and the approach shots on this course become crucial.

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How can Dustin Johnson go about his game?  

Jun 11, 2021; Ridgeland, South Carolina, USA; Dustin Johnson putts on the 10th green during the second round of the Palmetto Championship at Congaree golf tournament. Mandatory Credit: David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports

The disadvantage for DJ is that he has played very little golf in the past couple of months. His game hasn’t been to the level which it was the previous year. DJ is in a struggle with his putter right now, and that’s what hampered his chances of winning the Palmetto Championship. 

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Apart from his putting, there is nothing much of a problem in his game. Dustin’s approach and the driving game have always been his strength. And this is the exact requirement for the upcoming US Open at Torrey Pines Golf Course. But the two menaces Justin Thomas and Jon Rahm, are equally good with their approach game. 

Jon Rahm, who is the World No.3 according to OWGR, has gained +0.82 strokes with his approach game this season. And the World No.2 Justin Thomas has gained +1.07 strokes in his approach game, while Dustin Johnson has gained +0.69 strokes in his approach game this season so far. So, the key thing for DJ is to keep his putter hot throughout the tournament and try to finish in the top 15 to maintain his top ranking. 

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Amey Kulkarni

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