Friday 15 November 2019

Johnson claims WGC-Cadillac triumph

Dustin Johnson holds the Gene Sarazen Cup after winning the Cadillac Championship (AP)
Dustin Johnson holds the Gene Sarazen Cup after winning the Cadillac Championship (AP)
Dustin Johnson, pictured, capitalised after JB Holmes let a commanding advantage slip

American Dustin Johnson overturned a five-shot deficit in the final round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship to win his first tournament since taking a six-month leave of absence from the game to deal with "personal challenges".

Johnson carded a closing 69 to finish nine under par at Doral, one shot ahead of compatriot and overnight leader JB Holmes who struggled to a 75.

Holmes had seen his five-shot lead turn into a two-shot deficit in the space of seven holes due to three early bogeys and four birdies from double Masters champion Bubba Watson.

But as Watson faded with three bogeys on the back nine to eventually finish third, it was Johnson who took advantage with birdies on the eighth, 10th and 15th to move into a lead he would not relinquish.

"It means everything," Johnson said in an interview broadcast on Sky Sports 4. "It's been a tough road but a really good one. A lot of really great things came out of it, my son, me and Paulina (his wife) are doing just feels awesome to get that 'W'. I played great today.

"I knew I was really good. I just knew there was something that I was missing that could make myself great. I have really been working hard on that and I think it's working right now.

"I'm so excited right now I can hardly talk. It feels great and it's definitely by far the best one (victory)."

The 30-year-old ruled himself out of the Ryder Cup last year by taking a lengthy break from the game, prompting allegations in the United States of a positive test for cocaine - claims which have dogged him for several years but which he has always strenuously denied.

Johnson again dismissed the drug claims in his first interviews since the announcement earlier this year, revealing his battle has been with alcohol.

"I did not have a problem," he told ESPN and, talking specifically about cocaine. "It's just something I'm not going to get into. I have issues but that's not the issue.

"I would drink and drink to excess. The change I made is I just don't do that any more. I definitely have given up hard liquor 'cause that was the thing that I went's been a big change."

World number one Rory McIlroy endured more water torture in a final round of 72 after being reunited with the three iron he threw into a lake during the second round.

The club was retrieved by a diver on Saturday and presented to McIlroy on the range by Doral's owner Donald Trump, who was heard to tell onlookers that "13 is an unlucky number".

McIlroy, who had played with 13 clubs on Saturday rather than the permitted 14, asked Trump "Is it dry?" before putting the club straight into his bag with a sheepish grin.

The 25-year-old jokingly threatened to dispose of the club in the same fashion after hitting his approach into the water with it on the 18th - having already driven into the lake - before chipping in to salvage a closing double-bogey six.

McIlroy has just one tournament left, the Arnold Palmer Invitational in a fortnight's time, before attempting to complete the career grand slam by winning the Masters, but told reporters: "I have no concerns about that at all.

"It's not something I need to play my way out of. It's just something that I need to stand on the range and beat balls until I feel comfortable with it again."

McIlroy will play practice rounds at Augusta National next week with his father Gerry and some friends, including New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

"I'll just be trying to hit shots that I need," he added. "I'll be hitting a lot of draws, or trying to hit a lot of draws, anyway."

PA Media

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