Dustin Johnson isn’t from Canada, but he may as well be given the level of support he received from spectators at Glen Abbey in Oakville, Ontario over the extended weekend. In equal measure, it’s because he’s the son-in-law of living legend Wayne Gretzky and because he lived up to his ranking as World Number One; tied for the lead at the start of the final round of the RBC Canadian Open, he separated himself from the field early on and cruised to victory, in the process rewarding the cheers of hometown fans. They certainly made him one of their own throughout, serenading him with “O Canada” as he stamped his class yesterday.
All told, the win was Johnson’s third of the season, a mark he likewise attained in 2016 and 2017. On one hand, his continued dominance reflects the extent of his talent; as in most other days he tees off, yesterday provided him with an opportunity to showcase the seeming effortlessness with which he went about his business. Long — make that crazy long — and straight with a driver in hand, he made Glen Abbey look easy. The Jack Nicklaus-designed layout, and, by extension, all the others casting furtive glances at the hardware, had no chance.
Interestingly, Johnson didn’t appear ready coming in. His last start was a missed cut at the British Open, the first time in a year he failed to make the weekend in a tournament. As he noted, though, a few sessions on the putting green did the trick. Meanwhile, his ballstriking was on point at usual — which is to say nothing short of outstanding; he finished the event tops in strokes gained off the tee. And considering how sharp his game was, just about the only thing delaying his meeting with destiny was the weather.
With owner ClubLink slated to give Glen Abbey a makeover, the Canadian Open will move to the well-regarded Hamilton Golf and Country Club next year. No doubt, it’s a transfer Johnson would like to avoid in light of his romp to the title. Then again, the way he’s playing makes him a force no matter where he wields his clubs. He’s a perennial favorite, and he invariably proves why.
Anthony L. Cuaycong has been writing Courtside since BusinessWorld introduced a Sports section in 1994.