Dustin Johnson will be waking up on Tuesday $15 million richer. Not bad for a weekend’s work.
The world No. 1 clinched the season-ending Tour Championship with a three-shot victory to win the FedEx Cup and equal the biggest single payout in PGA Tour history, matching the $15 million earned by Rory McIlroy for winning the same title last season.
Johnson’s career PGA Tour earnings are now just short of $68 million, placing him fifth on the all-time list. Only Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk and Vijay Singh have earned more throughout their careers on the tour.
“It means a lot, I’m very proud of being the FedEx Cup champion,” Johnson told CNN’s Patrick Snell. “It’s something that I definitely wanted to do in my career of golf. I think it’s right up there with being a major winner.
“I’ve been very close a couple of times and to finally get it done this year, I couldn’t be more excited about it.”
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Going into the US Open later this month, Johnson is unquestionably golf’s in-form player and the one to beat.
That he has been able to find form has been something of a surprise, even for him, given the injury problems the American has had to face.
“I didn’t play any [tournaments] last fall because I had surgery on my knee,” he recalled. “Then played a couple of events and played okay. Obviously the game is in really good form, I’m really excited about where the game is right now.
“Even though I just won the FedEx Cup, it will be nice to get to celebrate a little bit with Paulina [wife] and the kids and my brother – but only for a couple of days because then I’ve got to start getting ready for the US Open.”
The Tour Championship – the final tournament of the FedEx Cup – featured the top 30 players in the FedEx Cup standings, based on points accumulated throughout the season.
As the top-ranked player, Johnson began the tournament in East Lake, Atlanta, on 10-under par, with starting scores descending down to level par for players ranked 26 to 30.
Johnson held a seemingly comfortable five-shot going into the final day, but endured a nervy finish down the stretch after seeing his lead cut to just two by playing partner Xander Schauffele.
But the 36-year-old said he is “close” to playing the best golf of his life – and when he’s doing that, Johnson is very hard to catch.
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“I’m playing very well, I’m really confident in everything I’m doing right now,” he said. “But there’s still some room for improvement
“So I’ll go home, I’ll take a couple of days off, let the mind rest. Basically I’m fine, I could play every week, physically, but the mind has got to rest. That’s the most important thing in golf is being mentally prepared.”
That mental preparation has never been tested more than it has this year. Golf, like many other sports around the world, has endured a truncated season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The sport returned in June following a three-month hiatus and fans are still not permitted to attend events. This will certainly be a detriment to Johnson at the upcoming US Open, the tournament he clinched back in 2016 for his only major to date and somewhere he could usually rely on home support.
“It’s definitely been a challenging year, a challenging year for everyone, not just for us,” Johnson said. “But we [golf] did a great job with what we’ve done and we’ve been able to come back and play and do it safely.
“It’s been very interesting not playing in front of all the fans, that’s been something you’ve had to get used to because obviously I’ve played in front of fans my whole career.
“But I can’t wait until they can come back because it’s something that I enjoy doing, I like the fans being here and I’m really looking forward to them coming back hopefully next year.”