Dustin Johnson took over as the world No.1 for the sixth time in his career last August after winning the Northern Trust event by an eye-popping 11 strokes. Ever since, he’s done nothing to suggest that he’s not the best golfer on the planet, winning the FedEx Cup in September and claiming his second Major championship title in November when he won the Masters by five shots.
DJ was once again victorious on Sunday in his seventh start in this latest stint as the top-ranked player in the world, winning the Saudi International by two strokes. It was technically his ninth career European Tour victory, although only his second in an event that isn’t also on the PGA Tour schedule. Of more importance, it was his 26th worldwide win of his career.
Just how impressive has DJ been since returning to No.1? In those seven starts, the 37-year-old has finished no worse than T-11 (Sentry Tournament of Champions), while recording three wins (yes, we’re including the Tour Championship, too) and two runner-ups. And in his 28 rounds played, DJ has averaged 68.07, with just four rounds over par and 15 of 68 or lower.
Suffice it to say, his grip on No.1 is as strong as ever. And we’ve got the stat to back that up. When Johnson took over as No.1 in August, here’s how the breakdown of the top five in the ranking looked, with the player and their average points as calculated by the Official World Golf Ranking formula:
Dustin Johnson, 9.1618
Jon Rahm, 8.8157
Justin Thomas, 8.5601
Rory McIlroy, 8.0232
Collin Morikawa, 7.4545
As you can see, Johnson’s edge over No.2 Rahm was just 0.3461 average points and the distance between him and the fifth-place golfer was 1.7073.
Now take a look at what the world ranking is after winning last week’s event in Saudi Arabia:
Dustin Johnson, 12.8328
Jon Rahm, 9.3162
Justin Thomas, 8.8124
Xander Schauffele, 7.6684
Tyrrell Hatton, 6.9332
Johnson’s edge over Rahm, still ranked No.2, is now 3.5166 average points, 10 times greater than it was nearly six months ago. That 3.5166 margin is also more than the difference between DJ and the No.5 player (Morikawa) last in August. (It was actually the difference between No.1 and 10th ranked player at the time, Patrick Reed, whose average points was 5.9220.)
Meanwhile, the difference between Johnson and the fifth-ranked player in the world today? It’s 5.8996 average points, almost three-and-a-half times as great as it was in August.
What does that mean, practically speaking? Well, Johnson right now is as far in front of the fifth-ranked player in the world as that fifth-ranked player (Hatton) is out in front of Tyler Duncan. And where is Tyler Duncan ranked? He’s 162nd.