Scottie Scheffler's 66-65 to finish the week moved his bonus payout up from $456K to $2.5M.— Justin Ray (@JustinRayGolf) September 7, 2020
Dustin Johnson finished what he started at the beginning of the FedEx Cup Playoffs by taking home the 2020 Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club on Monday. Johnson (-21) won by three strokes over Xander Schauffele and Justin Thomas, touching off an insane five-week stretch in which D.J. has lost to just two golfers -- Collin Morikawa at the PGA Championship and Jon Rahm in a playoff at the BMW Championship -- over his last four events.
Coincidentally for Johnson, who led all golfers in playoff scoring by a wide margin after finishing 44 under over the last three weeks' worth of playoffs, a par putt on Monday was his biggest shot. With playing partner Schauffele and Thomas closing on him, D.J. scuffled a bit at the end of the front nine and opened the back with three straight pars. Then he left himself 21 feet for par on the 13th hole with the tournament getting tight. He smashed it into the back of the cup and played the rest of the way in 1 under for the three-stroke win.
"This is a difficult golf course so no lead is really safe," Johnson told NBC. "I knew I was going to have to come out and play really well. ... I hit the fairways when I needed to coming down the stretch. The guys gave me a good fight today."
The stats are staggering. Everywhere you look, there's a different number that tells the story of just how dominant D.J. has been throughout the last part of the year. The fact that only one golfer (Morikawa) has outright beaten him over 72 holes in four of the best fields of 2020 is astonishing and underscores his phenomenal ceiling as a golfer.
The spoils are nice, too. Johnson collects his 23rd career PGA Tour win, a $15 million check and likely the PGA Tour Player of the Year award after winning the Travelers Championship, The Northern Trust and the Tour Championship over these last few months. That's not how his year started out either. D.J. He scuffled to just one top 10 at a full-field even before the PGA Tour paused. Then after winning the Travelers, he shot two 80s and a 78 consecutively before this torrid PGA Championship and playoff run. A short memory is a great thing.
Now Johnson will be long on cash and on the rest of the season. He enters the three-day offseason as the 8-1 favorite to win the U.S. Open in two weeks and among the favorites to win the Masters in November. With the FedEx Cup in his clutches, all that remains in his stellar career is to start stacking up major championship after major championship. He'll have plenty of opportunities over the next few years, and if he keeps playing like this (or anywhere near it), he'll have plenty of those trophies, too. Grade: A+
Here are the rest of our grades for the 2020 Tour Championship.
Xander Schauffele (T2): Congratulations to the non-handicapped winner of the Tour Championship! Without factoring in the starting scores, Schauffele is your champion of this event, shooting 15 under on the week and riding maybe the hottest putter in the field to his runner-up finish. He should ask for future majors to be played at East Lake given that he's been beaten by just eight golfers over the last four seasons on this golf course. Grade: A+
Justin Thomas (T2): J.T. just dug himself too big of a hole with his putter this week. He hit the ball quite well throughout, but he gave away so many strokes with his putter (highlighted by a missed 16-inch putt on Sunday in Round 3). It's been his big frustration since the PGA Tour restarted in early June, and has kept him from sniffing more than the one trophy he won at TPC Southwind. It will be easy to look past this, though, as we look ahead to the U.S. Open at Winged Foot, where I think his short game around those greens will be tremendous. Grade: A
Rory McIlroy (T8): After he shot 64 on Thursday, I thought Rory was going to go absolutely bananas this week at a course where he normally plays quite well. Instead, he played the next three days in just 2 under and struggled at times with his iron play. He'll be a popular pick later this month in the U.S. Open at Winged Foot, but his play since the PGA Tour restarted through the end of the season remains a bit lacking. The encouraging thing is that he's been driving it really well the last few weeks. Grade: B-