Martin Dempster: Dustin Johnson back to his best

The real heavyweight sporting contest over the weekend took place on a golf course in New Jersey; not a boxing ring in the MGM Grand in Las Vegas

Dustin Johnson beat Jordan Spieth in a play-off to win The Northern Trust. Picture: Getty
Dustin Johnson beat Jordan Spieth in a play-off to win The Northern Trust. Picture: Getty

Unlike the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor charade, there was nothing contrived whatsoever about Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth slugging it out down the stretch in The Northern Trust.

It was top-class sport at its best as the pair went toe-to-toe over the closing nine holes in the opening event in this season’s FedEx Cup Play-Offs at Glen Oaks Club, where Johnson eventually prevailed in a play-off after overcoming a five-shot deficit heading into the final round.

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The victory cemented Johnson’s position as world No 1 and nudged him ahead of Spieth in the battle to become PGA Tour Player of the Year. Four titles have now fallen to Johnson on the US circuit this season and who knows what he might have achieved if he hadn’t slipped on a wooden floor on the eve of The Masters, hurting his back in the process and being forced to pull out of the season’s opening major when he was flying.

In truth, it has taken until now for Johnson to get his game back to that same level and that’s a pity for him because it wasn’t just a golden chance to claim a Green Jacket that he was deprived of by that unfortunate setback. That’s sport, of course, and we’ll see what 
happens next season in those big events if Johnson is still on top of his game.

In the meantime, more of the same from Johnson and Spieth will be welcome in the next two Play-Offs events and, for the life of me, I honestly can’t see why some 
people don’t appear to like these tournaments.

What is particularly appealing is that the size of the fields reduces heading into the season-ending Tour Championship and that alone creates an element you don’t get week in, week out on any circuit.