Welcome to the February Pro Golf Wrap-Up – everything you need to know in the world of golf expertly curated by your friends at Global Golf Management.
Victories by marquee players marked the month of February on the PGA TOUR, but no victory was more significant than Dustin Johnson’s decisive five-stroke triumph at the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club near Los Angeles.
Johnson won for the 13th time in his career and for the fourth time since winning his first major in June at the U.S. Open at Oakmont Country Club. In 16 tournaments since Oakmont, he has finished no worse than third place in eight of them. He became just the fourth man to win at least once in each of his first 10 seasons on the PGA TOUR, joining Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.
But most importantly, Johnson leapfrogged over Jason Day and Rory McIlroy and took over the No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking, becoming the 20th player to hold that spot since the rankings were introduced in 1986.
“Winning the golf tournament … that’s what I was here to do,” said Johnson, 32, the PGA TOUR Player of the Year in 2016. “As a kid growing playing golf, the dream was playing on the PGA Tour, not becoming No. in the world. But now here I am, and it’s going to push me to keep working harder to stay there.”
“No surprise to us players, and I don’t think too much surprise to many others,” Jordan Spieth, a former No. 1, said of his talented Ryder Cup teammate.
Speaking of Jordan Spieth, he won his first TOUR title since May when he cruised to victory at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am the week before Johnson’s victory. Prior to that, Hideki Matsuyama successfully defended his title at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Rickie Fowler, one of the game’s most popular players, rounded out winners in February when he won by four shots at the Honda Classic.
Spieth is No. 6 in the world, Matsuyama No. 5 and Fowler moved up to ninth after winning the year’s first event in Florida at PGA National.
In other tour news, the LPGA had two events after opening the season at the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic, where Pure Silk ambassador Brittany Lincicome won in a playoff. Ha Na Jang won the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open and just last week Amy Yang completed a wire-to-wire victory at the Honda LPGA Thailand.
On the European Tour, Spain’s Sergio Garcia started the month off with a wire-to-wire victory at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, his 12th career European Tour title, tying him for 23rd all time with Ian Poulter. Fabrizio Zanatta of Paraguay won the following week at the Maybank Championship and Brett Rumford of Australia captured the ISPS HANDA World Super 6 Perth.
February ended with Darren Fichardt of South Africa winning his fifth career title in the Joburg Open, shortened to 54 holes because of weather. The top three finishers of Fichardt, Paul Waring of England and Stuart Manley of Wales secured berths in the 146th Open Championship this July at Royal Birkdale. The Joburg Open was one of the tournament’s in The Open Qualifying Series.
Finally, England’s Graeme Storm was named the Hilton European Tour Golfer of the Month for January after defeating Rory McIlroy on the third hole of a sudden-death playoff at the BMW SA Open hosted by City of Ekurhuleni. McIlroy was ranked No. 2 in the world at the time. It was the second career win for Storm, whose first had come 10 years before in the Open de France.
Stay tuned here and on Global Golf Management Twitter for next month’s Pro Golf Wrap-Up.