Being crowned the FedExCup champion

SEPTEMBER 11 — It means a lot to finally win the FedExCup. Obviously, it’s a very tough trophy to win, and I’ve been close several times. This time I controlled my own destiny, which I knew I had to do. I had the lead entering the TOUR Championship and again going into the final round, but I still had to go out and play well. I’m very proud of the way I played. Obviously, I played really well over the last four tournaments (Editor’s note: Johnson also won THE NORTHERN TRUST and finished runner-up at the PGA Championship and BMW Championship).

It’s very satisfying to be the FedExCup champion. Obviously coming in here, I was in first with a two-shot lead, and I needed every stroke I could get. East Lake is a tough golf course, but I feel like I played pretty solid all week. The final round was a tough day, and I’m definitely excited it’s over and that I can celebrate a little bit now. It was a grind out there.

When you look at the leaderboard, there were a lot of great players behind me and they played some good golf. It got pretty close at the end, which is what I thought it would be. I knew I was going to have to come down the stretch and hit some golf shots.

I was also nervous at the start of the day. I always get nervous because it means something. I mean, I got nervous on the first hole, but then I settled down a bit. Then obviously on the back nine I could definitely feel it again, just because there were a lot of really good players around me and they were all still playing well. So I knew I was going to have to shoot a good score on the back nine if I wanted to win.

It was good that I got this win. Last week at the BMW Championship, I had the lead going into the final round and played a solid round, made a great putt to get into a playoff, but ended up losing in the playoff to Jon Rahm. Having a five-shot lead into the last day of the season, it’s something, I needed to finish off.

Obviously, I’ve got a couple days to celebrate with my wife Paulina and our kids, and then I’ve got to get back to grinding again. I’m definitely playing the best golf I’ve ever played. I really feel like everything is dialled in pretty well. I’ve got a lot of confidence in every part of my game right now. However, I feel there’s still plenty of room for improvement. Compared to 2017-18, when I won three times, I feel like I’m playing even better. At times I’m firing on all cylinders, and there are other times where I’m not. But right now I’m playing good enough to a point where I still can give myself a chance to win.

I’m very thankful to FedEx and the amount of money they put up for us, but it’s not about the money for me. It’s more about the trophy. At this stage of my career, I’m fortunate enough where I don’t need to think about money. It’s all about winning and the trophies. I don’t really care about money. I want to win tournaments, and I want to win trophies.

Dustin Johnson with the FedEx Cup trophy after the final round of the Tour Championship golf tournament in Atlanta September 7, 2020. — Picture by Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports via Reuters
Dustin Johnson with the FedEx Cup trophy after the final round of the Tour Championship golf tournament in Atlanta September 7, 2020. — Picture by Adam Hagy-USA TODAY Sports via Reuters

The prestige of just being a FedExCup champion is something that I really wanted to have. I wanted to hold that trophy at the end of the day. It was something that I wanted to accomplish in my career, and obviously I’ve got one of them now. I’m going to try to get me another one.

It was a bit different during my early days in professional golf. When I went through all three stages of Qualifying School and got my TOUR card, I think they gave me like a US$25,000 check. Yeah, I thought I was rich because I didn’t have but a couple hundred bucks in my bank account probably.

Then I went to the first tournament in Hawai’i, I think, and I finished 10th, and I don’t know, it was a hundred grand or something. That was big, and obviously that was a lot of money to me then.

It was great that Paulina flew up to the TOUR Championship. I loved having her here and I also got to Facetime with the boys and got to show them the trophy. They’re not quite old enough to know exactly what it is, but they know their daddy won the trophy and I won the golf tournament. They were so excited and I’m glad I got to Facetime with them right after I got done. That was pretty cool.

And my brother and caddie, AJ, is a big part of the game. Obviously he’s my brother and we’re a good team. He reads the greens well so I know when I line it up and we’ve got it in the same vicinity that when we’re doing a good job. He’s done a great job over the last four weeks and I’m glad to have my brother on the bag with me.

I’m excited with the US Open and Masters Tournament coming up. I’ve got a lot of confidence in the game, so I’m really looking forward to the next couple months. But after that, I’m looking forward to some time off. It’s been a long stretch, but it’s made it a lot easier playing well, that’s for sure.

* Note: American Dustin Johnson is now 23-time PGA TOUR winner and you can watch him and the PGA TOUR on Astro Golf Channel and GOLFTV powered by PGA TOUR.

** This is the personal opinion of the columnist.

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