World number one Dustin Johnson continued his hot streak by becoming the first player to complete the World Golf Championships grand slam with victory at the Dell Match Play in Austin, Texas – to cement his status as the favourite for The Masters next month. The American beat Spaniard Jon Rahm in the final to claim his third tournament victory in a row and climb to the summit of the FedEx Cup standings.
Johnson, who had not trailed all week at the match play event, was five up through eight holes and threatened to overwhelm his 22-year-old opponent. Rahm staged a fine comeback however and took the clash down the 18th where Johnson held his nerve to take the title, to add to his WGC crowns at the HSBC Champions, Cadillac Championship and Bridgestone Invitational.
The 32-year-old is now as short as 11/2 with some bookmakers to win the Masters at Augusta which starts on 6 April. Johnson was tied for fourth in 2016 but is the big favourite to collect his maiden green jacket when the opening major of the season gets underway next week.
"It was a lot longer match than I would have liked it to have been but Jon was a great competitor and it was a great match," said Johnson. "It's impossible to win every week. I know that. I've won my last three but I'm just going to have to keep working hard, keep working on the things that I'm working on right now.
"Being the number one player in the world kind of drives me to work harder and to get better. There's still a lot of room for improvement in my game. So I'm just going to keep working on it."
"Definitely kind of cool to be the first one to win all four. These are the biggest events besides the majors, with the best golfers in the world. I feel like there will be some more to do it. But I'm very, very pleased with it."
Preparations for the Masters will conclude at the Houston Open in Texas, the final event before the tour reaches Augusta. While Johnson will compete at the event, the likes of Rory McIlroy and Jason Day – who has taken an indefinite break from the game to be with his mother who has been diagnosed with cancer – will sit out the tournament.