News & Opinion

Johnson outlasts Spieth in playoff bout

The Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor matchup wasn’t the only big-money prize fight over the weekend.

Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth went toe-to-toe in the latest round of their growing rivalry. Unlike Mayweather-McGregor, in which Mayweather won via TKO in 10 rounds against the underdog mixed martial-arts challenger, Johnson-Spieth went the distance … and then some.

Johnson sank a 4-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole Sunday to win The Northern Trust, the first of four FedEx Cup playoff events, at Glen Oaks Club in Old Westbury, N.Y. Spieth had held a three-stroke lead after 54 holes, and, paired with Johnson in the final round, stretched it to five when he played the first five holes in 2 under. But after a double bogey at the par-3 sixth hole and a bogey at the par-4 ninth, where Johnson made birdie, Spieth found his lead trimmed to one stroke, setting up a thrilling back nine. 

Spieth played the back nine at the suburban New York course in 2 under, but Johnson beat that by a stroke, punctuated by a clutch 18-foot par-saving putt on the 72nd hole for a 4-under 66 to tie Spieth (69) at 13-under 267 (scores: http://bit.ly/1j3khNH). 

“I feel like the game is finally back in form like it was leading into the Masters,” said Johnson, who withdrew on the eve of the season’s first major championship when he slipped on stairs at his rental home in Augusta, Ga., and injured his back. “I feel like I'm swinging everything really well. Got a lot of control over the golf ball. I’m feeling really good. Obviously getting the win here today gives me a lot of confidence going into next week and the rest of the playoffs.”

The playoffs continue with the Dell Technologies Championship, which begins Friday at TPC Boston in Norton, Mass., and concludes on Labor Day.

In winning his fourth tournament of the 2016-17 season and 16th of his career, Johnson earned $1.575 million. Johnson also moves to the top of the FedEx Cup points list and solidifies his No. 1 spot in the Official World Golf Ranking.