Dustin Johnson’s FedExCup glory: Highs and lows of 2019-20 season

Dustin Johnson rounded off a superb finish to his PGA Tour campaign with Tour Championship victory, having overcome several challenges through the season on his way to FedExCup success.

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The world No 1 held off the challenge of Justin Thomas and Xander Schauffele on the final day to claim a three-shot win at East Lake, which also secured him the FedExCup and its $15m jackpot for the first time.

Johnson’s 23rd PGA Tour title is his third in his last eight starts, with that spell also including two runner-up finishes, with the 36-year-old now favourite to be voted as the PGA Tour’s Player of The Year for the second time.

FedExCup victory completes an up-and-down 12 months for Johnson, who had finished last at the previous year’s Tour Championship and missed the early part of the 2019-20 season after undergoing surgery to repair cartilage damage in his left knee.

The knee injury forced him to skip the first 11 events of the campaign and limited him to just four PGA Tour starts before golf’s coronavirus-enforced shutdown, with Johnson still languishing 111th in the FedExCup standings when the sport returned at the Charles Schwab Challenge in mid-June.

A missed cut at Colonial and a tied-17th finish at the RBC Heritage had seen him slip to sixth in the world rankings, his lowest ranking since his 2016 US Open success, only for him to bounce back by ending a 16-month winless run with a one-shot victory at the Travelers Championship.

Victory in Connecticut continued Johnson’s run of winning in every PGA Tour season since 2008 but didn’t signal the end of his struggles, with the American posting the worst 36-hole score of his career in his next start at the Memorial Tournament.

Back-to-back rounds of 80 at Muirfield Village left him 126th of the 128 players that completed two rounds, with Johnson then withdrawing mid-tournament from the following week’s 3M Open – citing a back injury – after putting four balls in the water on his way to an opening-round 78.

Johnson narrowly missed out at the PGA Championship after failing to convert a 54-hole lead at the opening major of the year, with a runner-up finish to Collin Morikawa at TPC Harding Park marking the start of an imperious run of results to cap off his season.

Heading into the FedExCup play-offs 15th in the standings, Johnson threatened the lowest round in PGA Tour history after playing the first 11 holes of his second round in 11 under at the Northern Trust.

A possible ’57 round’ turned into an 11-under 60 on the par-71 layout at TPC Boston, with scores of 64 and 63 over the weekend completing a dominant 11-shot victory and equalling the second-lowest 72-hole total ever recorded on the PGA Tour.

Johnson almost made it back-to-back wins the week after at the BMW Championship after holing a 45-foot birdie on the final hole to take the contest into extra holes, only for Jon Rahm to drain a 66-foot birdie of his own in the play-off to snatch the victory over the world No 1.

Rahm’s victory in Chicago wasn’t enough to move ahead in either the world rankings or the FedExCup standings, allowing Johnson to start the Tour Championship in top spot and on 10 under due to the staggered scoring system for the season-ending finale.

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