The stats, as incredible as they were, don't tell the whole story of Dustin Johnson's monster 2019 WGC-Mexico Championship win, the 20th PGA Tour victory of his career. D.J. touched off a five-stroke title over Rory McIlroy and 10 strokes over the rest of the field with a tidy 5-under 66 on Sunday in the final round that included a closing 31 on the back nine, just for show at that point.
Johnson made his first bogey of the week on the third hole on Sunday (he also had a double bogey on Saturday) and stalled a little bit with eight 4s and a 3 on the front nine. McIlroy didn't truly push him as he shot a 1-over 36 of his own on the front. Then the fireworks started. Johnson birdied his first two on the back nine, and he and McIlroy combined for a best ball 29 coming home with 11 birdies between them, which was good for Rory but great for D.J.
Add them all up and Johnson had 22 birdies and an eagle on the week. He finished second from tee to green and first in putting. He gained over five strokes per round on the best field of the year in a sport where anything north of five is pretty much a guaranteed victory. He was more or less flawless on the scorecard, but that doesn't mean there weren't bumps along the way.
Johnson got multiple fortuitous rulings on the weekend that allowed him free drops clear of debris.
He also made par-saving putts of 18 feet and 6 feet on the front side in his final round. When the final 18 tried to go sideways, Johnson wouldn't let it. He wrestled it into the ground, defeated one of the best in the game playing as well as he's played in years and made a bit of history in the process.
He joined only Tiger Woods, Tom Watson, Phil Mickelson, and Johnny Miller to reach 20 PGA Tour wins before the age of 35.
McIlroy finished five shots clear of third but five back of the thoroughbred ahead of him. If there was a hole he'd probably like to have back it would be the par-5 sixth, which played to an average of about 19 strokes on the week. McIlroy made three bogeys there (including one on Sunday) and played it in 23 strokes. Still, that's four straight top-five finishes to start the season and two straight weeks of 63s.
Justin Thomas finished ninth and shot a 62 -- which tied his own course record -- with 10 birdies, seven pars and a bogey. He was eight strokes better with his putter on Sunday than he was on Saturday (-4.9 to +3.1) and finished first in the field in strokes gained from tee to green, too. It was not quite the round of the tournament (McIlroy holds that distinction from his play on Thursday), but it was an absolute show as J.T. made nine birdies in his first 12 holes and looked as if he would maybe do what he's done before: shoot 59 with a bogey.
Tiger Woods tied for tenth and hit the ball really well all week and seemingly unlocked whatever secrets he needed to solve the Mexican altitude. He three-putted four times, though, and tossed in another four-putt to finish outside the top 60 in putting in both weekend rounds (there were only 72 players in the event). He did give us the shot of the event on Friday, though, when he hit this twisting, ludicrous bunker shot that spun hard right and scared the hole. We forget because it was 12 months ago, but having Big Cat seriously contend at WGC events and talking about his strokes gained-putting instead of his strokes gained back surgeries is a great place for golf to be.