Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

Pacific Palisades — Top golfers needed to pick up their games to keep pace with Dustin Johnson, Australian Jason Day said on Sunday after losing the top ranking to the long-hitting US golfer.

After 47 consecutive weeks at the top, Day ceded his position when Johnson won the Genesis Open in southern California
on Sunday.

Johnson had knocked on the door before, spending much of 2016 in second position, before making another push at the start of 2017 and finally passing Day.

"Whatever he’s doing, he just needs to keep doing it," Day said after finishing a distant equal 64th at Riviera. "If he keeps playing the way he’s playing, we’ve got to pick our game up and try to compete with him."

Another former No1, Adam Scott, advised Johnson to enjoy his new status while it lasts.

"Just enjoy it, because as we’ve seen since Tiger [Woods] really dominated that position, no one’s staying there too long," said Scott, who was No1 for 11 weeks in 2014. "The target’s on your back and everyone’s coming for you. There just isn’t the separation between the top players that there was during that long period of time when Tiger was far ahead."

Woods, who is struggling to mount a comeback after major back surgery, was ranked No1 for a record 683 weeks in total, including a record 281 consecutive weeks between June 2005 and October 2010.

Another former No1, Jordan Spieth, said it was no surprise that Johnson had kicked on since his Major breakthrough at 2016’s US Open.

"Once that happened, that was a big monkey off his back mentally, and it frees him up," said Spieth, who headed the rankings for 26 weeks in 2015. "He was given a hard time about close calls in Majors."

The 2013 US Open champion, Justin Rose, said: "Johnson is just one of those natural-born golfers."

Reuters

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