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Friday 19 October 2018

Johnson: Having top spot in world gives me an edge

PRIMED AND READY: Team USA’s Dustin Johnson yesterday. Photo: Reuters
PRIMED AND READY: Team USA’s Dustin Johnson yesterday. Photo: Reuters

World number one Dustin Johnson believes reclaiming top spot from European Ryder Cup rival Justin Rose is a psychological advantage.

The big-hitting 34-year-old American, playing in his fourth Ryder Cup, regained his world number one spot from European opponent Rose at Sunday's Tour Championship.

The Englishman held the top slot for just one week, even if he did leave East Lake with the $10m FedEx Cup prize.

Johnson was asked whether he felt that dealt a psychological blow to the Europe's team.

"Sure. I guess it depends on how you look at it. For me? Yeah, I like being (number) one," he said.

Le Golf National is not a course suited to Johnson's long game as it has been set up with narrow fairways and thick rough.

"This golf course it's what it calls for. It doesn't really give you an option to do it," he added.

"There's some long holes but around here it's all about getting it in the fairway. You don't have to hit driver a lot of holes."

Meanwhile, USA rookie Tony Finau hopes playing in his first Ryder Cup is a suitable reward for the sacrifices his family made in order for him to become a professional golfer.

Growing up in Salt Lake City, Finau's talent in the sport caused a problem for his Tonga-born dad Kelepi, who had to support a family of nine and could not afford to pay for his son to have lessons, a full set of clubs or even practice facilities.

He did what he could, buying individual clubs from charity shops, cutting them down to junior size and putting a mattress on the garage wall and strips of carpet on the floor so Tony and younger brother Gipper could hit balls.

Finau senior also borrowed Jack Nicklaus' "Golf My Way" from the library and began to coach his boys. Tony turned professional at 17 and, after seven years' toil on the mini tours, he graduated to the PGA Tour.

"I think this is pretty cool for him for sure. I think he's going to enjoy this week," he said.

"My parents sacrificed a lot for me to be in this position. Golf is an extremely expensive sport, and growing up, I didn't come from a lot.

"My goals were their goals. My family is a big part of why I'm here, and they have given up a lot."

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