Why Dustin Johnson is the man to beat at The Genesis Invitational

A combination of current and course form mean the world number one is the standout star at Riviera this week

Fresh from a victory at the Saudi International, Dustin Johnson has most certainly carried his rich vein of form into 2021.

Life couldn't be much better for the American at the moment.

Currently ranked as the world's number one, Johnson's consistency is evident and there's no sign of him letting up.

At a place where he's tasted success in the past, there's no reason why DJ can't add to his impressive tally of 25 PGA TOUR wins at Riviera this week.

Here's a closer look into why we've put him in the spotlight.

Recent form

After his emphatic victory at November's Masters - dominating a star-studded field to win by five - Johnson has teed it up twice since.

A T11th finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions at the start of January was his first outing since that Augusta National triumph and he can't be blamed for being a tad rusty.

His response to that though was emphatic.

An unstoppable performance in Saudi Arabia saw DJ celebrate a second win there in three visits.

Winning by two shots in 2019, Johnson repeated the feat earlier this month, beating Ryder Cup teammate Tony Finau and Justin Rose to claim his ninth European Tour title.

"Obviously after Augusta, to get my first win again, the game's still in really good form and I'm really excited about the rest of the year," said DJ on the win.

"It's tough to win on The European Tour, PGA TOUR, no matter what ranking you are. But winning as Number one is definitely good, and obviously it gives me a little bit more of a lead."

Impressive stuff, right?

It gets better. He's now collected 16 wins from his last 100 worldwide starts and from his last nine events, the 36-year-old has as many wins as rounds over par.

With eight top-10 finishes in his last 10 tournaments, DJ is on a roll.

His record at The Genesis Invitational

2008 - T59th

His finish of T59 doesn't tell the full picture of what was a promising performance from DJ on his debut at The Riviera Country Club.

After the first round, Johnson was T5, carding a 3-under 68.

2009 - T10th

An opening 66 saw Johnson sit T3, behind by only three shots going into the second round, but he couldn't build on it. This was, however, the first of DJ's nine top-10 finishes at the event.

2010 - T3rd

Leading by one shot after 36 holes, a 3-over 74 in the third round resulted in him dropping to tied fifth. He couldn't muster a comeback and finished three shots off the winner, Steve Stricker.

2011 - Missed cut

One to forget for DJ. A 73 and a 75 meant he fell short of the weekend's play for the first time in three years.

2012 - T4th

It was a very different outcome in 2012. One-over after 36 holes, his notable 67 in the third round climbed Johnson from T21 to T6 going into the final day.

He finished in a four-man split for fourth, just two shots shy of winner Bill Haas.

2013 - Missed cut

A second early exit in the space of three years. However, this is the most recent time he hasn't featured on the weekend.

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2014 - 2nd

His best finish yet. It was the start of a remarkable, yet frustrating run for DJ.

Setting the pace after the first 18 holes, leading by a shot, he slipped to T6 as the final day approached.

Clawing his way back to second, he eventually finished two off Bubba Watson.

2015 - T2nd

This one will have hurt Johnson. He was trailing by six shots going into the final two rounds but managed to find himself at the top of the leaderboard by the end of Sunday, level on 6-under with Paul Casey and James Hahn.

A three-man playoff ended up being a straight battle between Johnson and Hahn, but the latter sealed the deal on the par-3 14th with a birdie-putt.

2016 - 4th

Being only one-shot off the lead after 54 holes, Johnson had to settle for a solo fourth place finish, after carding a 2-under 69.

His fifth top five in just seven outings.

2017 - WINNER

It was his year. The taste of success had finally arrived at Riviera.

Shooting 66 in his first round which saw him placed second, DJ found his way to the top of the field on Friday and didn't look back.

Sitting at the top of leaderboard for the rest of the tournament, Johnson won by a commanding five shots, taking victory on 17-under-par.

The Genesis Invitational was his 13th PGA TOUR win and moved him to number one in the Official Golf World Rankings.

2018 - T16th

It wasn't the title defence that DJ was hoping to make.

An horrendous start left him struggling in T105 after posting a 3-over 74 in round one. The next two days were much improved and surged him to T8 ahead of the final 18 holes.

But a 73 on the final day meant it would be his worse finish in five years.

2019 - T9th

Jumping from T117 to T22 in the space of three rounds, DJ then made sure he was to feature once again in the top 10 after scoring a 2-under 69 to finish T9 with four others, including Jon Rahm and Hideki Matsuyama.

2020 - T10th

Three years now for the Masters champion without a top five finish. After a third-round 67, DJ was sixth going into Sunday, just two strokes off the lead.

A 1-over-par 72 dampened all hopes of Johnson collecting his second win in California as he ended four shots behind Australian Adam Scott.

Since he made his debut in 2008, DJ has only scored 70+ once in his 12 Saturday laps. 'Moving Day' is when he can be dangerous.

DJ's thoughts on The Genesis Invitational

"It feels good to finally win because I felt like I've been so close quite a few times and it's one of my favourite courses to play on tour all year." - when he won in 2017.

"I was coming in here to put myself in a position to win and I did that, and I played really well."

Dustin Johnson at The Genesis Invitational.
Dustin Johnson at The Genesis Invitational.

"This is one of my favourite golf courses we play all year. After winning last year, it's just a place that's always special to me and I enjoy coming back here." - after returning in 2018.

"I consider this one of our biggest events on Tour. It always has a great field on a great golf course. It should have elevated status." - 2019.

"I'm playing really good. I love this golf course, I'm swinging it really well, but missed some short putts, which you're going to do around here so can't get frustrated, just got to keep going." - after shooting 4-under in the third round in 2020.

Paddy Power have priced Dustin Johnson at 11/2 to win The Genesis Invitational.

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