Perhaps the cordite breath is meant to fill the air throughout the golf season. Glory to Dustin Johnson At WGC-Mexico, his second success in just three appearances here, was overshadowed in part by the type of controversy that suddenly became a bedfell for a sport once described as being gentile in nature. The contentious moments are the new normality.
Johnson will have little interest in background noise – he never did – as he celebrates a twentieth US PGA Tour Success. His ultimate canter was such that a closing round of 66 for a total of 21 under par was enough to claim the trophy by five shots.
Yet for many others, including fans of Rory McIlroy, this Johnson success will sit badly uncomfortable. McIlroy started the day with four shots at Johnson, with a split advantage in three holes. Johnson had stretched his cushion to three when the leaders took fifth place. There, depending on your prospects, Johnson was either shockingly lucky or guilty of manipulating the rules.
Johnson's hard training ended at the foot of a tree and it was not possible to shoot forward, blocked. The American called and got a free fall because his position to play his second shot would have hit a golf cart trajectory. This marked an incredible fortune, as the man himself admitted.
"I had a break there and ended up doing a nice average," said Johnson. "That's why I called the rules official just because you felt almost a little bad. But that was the only way for me to play it. I even tried to really approach him and I was always on the way, so I was entitled to some relief and sometimes the rules work to your advantage. "
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Two elements of this grated with many spectators. Johnson's demonstration of this stance seemed unusually wide for what could only be a punch in the fairway. Secondly, he chose to play and find the green in his relief zone rather than performing the basic clean-up work that would otherwise have been his only option.
In the rules, Johnson has done nothing wrong. knowing if he acted in the spirit of the game is another matter. If he had hit number two, he would have won widespread applause.
Any annoyance McIlroy was simply aggravated in the 6th. There, in a monstrous twist of fate, his reader found himself behind a tree that was also adjacent to a cart path. Unlike Johnson, McIlroy appealed in vain for free relief; Mike Stewart, the rules official, insisted that the shot he intended to play with his feet on asphalt was not possible because his backswing would have hit a tree root. McIlroy was clearly displeased; his worry intensified as he took a six-by-four bogey, which almost made the tournament third in the world. Johnson was five points ahead of McIlroy, and that was the case.
Dustin Johnson shakes hands with Rory McIlroy after winning five shots. Photography: David Cannon / Getty Images
McIlroy, to his credit, was not bitter. "I accepted my decision and moved on, I did not ask for a second opinion," he said. "I knew what had happened with Dustin, I can not control that.
"If the manager thought it was reasonable for Dustin to take the fall but not me, then so be it. That's why we have referees. I could see where he came from. "
In any case, added McIlroy: "When you have a lead of four strokes and you go out to shoot five, you will not be beaten."
Paul Casey and Ian Poulter He shares the third place with Kiradech Aphibarnrat at under 11. Casey signed with a 65 before stating that he had high hopes for this year's Masters at Augusta. "I think it's my best chance of being major this year," he said. A Sunday 62 of Justin Thomas left him ninth.
Tiger Woods had his last dismal day with the putter in hand as he headed for a 69. The five-time champion has now produced consecutive tournaments including six throws of three putts for the first time since 1997. His final round put it in 10th position.