The Loop

Dustin Johnson's reign at No. 1 begins with a fantastic birdie from the trees

March 02, 2017

No matter what happens at this week's WGC-Mexico Championship, Dustin Johnson can always say he didn't have the shortest reign as World No. 1. Johnson has already passed that distinction held by Tom Lehman, although he obviously has eyes on keeping the top spot for more than a couple weeks. And he couldn't have asked for a better beginning.

Starting Thursday's round on the par-4 10th hole at Club de Golf Chapultepec, Johnson's inauspicious first tee shot as lord of the golf universe went left into the trees. But after a nice kick, Johnson was able to bend his approach shot to nine feet to set up an opening birdie:

Johnson would also birdie the par-5 11th to quickly grab a share of the (very) early lead. So much for

This week's field consists of 49 of the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking. The one missing, however, is World No. 2 Jason Day, who Johnson replaced atop the ranking with his win at Riviera. Day withdrew before the event with a double ear infection and the flu.

That means the only person who can re-take No. 1 this week is World No. 3 Rory McIlroy, who is making his 2017 PGA Tour debut after sitting out a few weeks with a rib injury. And the two will have a great view of each other during (at least) the first two days as McIlroy (one under thru 2) is playing with Johnson and fourth-ranked Hideki Matsuyama.