The American has to be content with a tie for ninth place on his second appearance at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, eight shots behind winner Tommy Fleetwood.
World No 1 Dustin Johnson admits he did not have 'his best stuff' at Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship
Given the strength of the Abu Dhabi field, even the world No 1 requires his 'A' Game to get within a sniff of victory.
Dustin Johnson did not quite have it this week, with golf’s top dog finishing in a tie for ninth on Sunday in his second appearance in the capital. When Johnson last played, in Hawaii earlier this month, he lapped his competitors to win by eight strokes.
This time, though, the American came in eight shots shy of winner Tommy Fleetwood, the man who just about pipped him to the Falcon Trophy 12 months ago.
Johnson went 72-64-68-70 through the four days at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, presented by EGA. He finished on 14-under. Yet on reflection, only Round 2 really showcased his typical strut.
“It was OK,” Johnson said when asked to assess his week. “Had one good day on Friday, but other than that, it was just OK. A little bit off.
“Just made a few too many mistakes, really. But all in all, it was a solid week I guess. Just didn't have my best stuff, that's for sure.”
Beginning his final round five shots off the summit, Johnson probably realised only his finest would do. But his race looked run when he opened with a bogey and added another on the fifth.
Still, he managed to make five birdies in his final 11 holes – there was another dropped shot on 17 – and thus heads back across the Atlantic in decent enough nick. So just dust himself down and go again.
“I feel like my game is in good shape,” said Johnson, who within weeks of Abu Dhabi last year ascended to world No 1 and won three times on the bounce.
“Got two weeks off, so I'll get a little practice in. I have [AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am] and [Genesis Open] my next two events, so get ready for those. Both tournaments, I really like the golf courses and I really like the event, so definitely looking forward to that.”