LIV Star Puts Dustin Johnson In His Top Three

Johnson's former 4 Aces GC teammate Talor Gooch claims it's between DJ, Jon Rahm and Rory McIlroy for the world's best three

Talor Gooch at the 2023 Saudi International
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Talor Gooch has stepped into the world ranking debate, claiming that his former 4 Aces GC captain on LIV Golf, Dustin Johnson, is one of the three top players in the world.

The debate on the world’s best players has been raging for months, particularly considering the fact that the performances of LIV Golf players in its tournaments are not included in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR).

That has led to LIV Golf players inevitably falling down the rankings. One affected player is former World No.1 Johnson, who enjoyed a highly successful opening LIV Golf season that included one win among six top-10 finishes in the individual events. Not only that, but he also finished tied for sixth in the 150th Open at St Andrews. 

However, to look at the OWGR, you would hardly think he had been in such fine form, as he recently fell out of the top 50 for the first time in 13 years and currently stands at World No.54.

Still, Gooch thinks Johnson is one of the top three players in the world, whatever the OWGR says. The American expressed his opinion on Twitter in response to a clip of World No.1 Jon Rahm claiming that when he’s firing on all cylinders, in his mind, no one can beat him. Gooch wrote: “Rahm, DJ, Rory. This is facts, the order is opinion. Everyone else is chasin. “

While Gooch seems adamant only Rahm, Johnson and Rory McIlroy are in the reckoning, there are at least a couple of other players who could legitimately lay claim to being one of the three best current players, including fellow LIV player Cameron Smith – who is still as high as World No.5 despite his limited capacity to earn points – and World No.2 Scottie Scheffler. However, Gooch, when asked about the omission of Scheffler in particular, said: “He’s incredible, but firing on all cylinders, there’s only three.”

Recently, Sports Illustrated has begun publishing an alternative world ranking that takes into account the performances of players in LIV Golf tournaments, but while it currently has the same top three as the OWGR, Rahm, Scheffler and McIlroy, Johnson is at World No.15 in this week's list. 

While that's a significant improvement on his standing in the OWGR, it still falls significantly short of where Gooch thinks he should be. 

Mike Hall
News Writer

Mike has over 25 years of experience in journalism, including writing on a range of sports throughout that time, such as golf, football and cricket. Now a freelance staff writer for Golf Monthly, he is dedicated to covering the game's most newsworthy stories. 

He has written hundreds of articles on the game, from features offering insights into how members of the public can play some of the world's most revered courses, to breaking news stories affecting everything from the PGA Tour and LIV Golf to developmental Tours and the amateur game. 

Mike grew up in East Yorkshire and began his career in journalism in 1997. He then moved to London in 2003 as his career flourished, and nowadays resides in New Brunswick, Canada, where he and his wife raise their young family less than a mile from his local course. 

Kevin Cook’s acclaimed 2007 biography, Tommy’s Honour, about golf’s founding father and son, remains one of his all-time favourite sports books.