Tagged in: Rookie

Dustin Johnson wins FedEx Cup

Dustin Johnson only looks like he plays without a pulse. Beneath his stoic stare and that swagger as he walked the fairways of East Lake on Monday were jangled nerves because it meant so much to him.

The $15 million prize for winning the FedEx Cup? That would get anyone’s attention, especially someone who thought he was rich when Johnson cashed his first tournament check for $113,571 as a PGA Tour rookie.

But there was more.

“The prestige, for sure,” Johnson said after delivering a key par putt and steady play down the stretch for a 2-under 68 and a 3-shot victory in the Tour Championship.

“Being a FedEx Cup champion is something that I really wanted to do. I wanted to hold that trophy at the end of the day. It was something that I wanted to accomplish during my career.” He did it by hitting his stride at just the correct time

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He acquired two of the three FedEx Cup postseason events and lost in a playoff by a 65-foot putt in the other.

It all came down to the final day of the final event, and even with a 5-shot lead, it was never easy.

“It’s a very tough trophy to win,” Johnson said. “I controlled my own destiny, but I still had to go out and play well. I had a lot of great players right behind me. It got close at the end. I knew it was going to come down the stretch and I’d have to hit some golf shots.”

None was bigger than the 20-foot par putt on the 13th hole to keep his lead at three shots, the 5-iron safely on the green on the toughest hole at East Lake, another 5-iron over the water on the par-3 15th — the one hole where big numbers lurk — and a wedge out of a deep bunker and onto the green at the 16th.

“This is a tough golf course. No lead is safe,” Johnson said. “The guys gave me a good fight today.” Johnson became the first No. 1 seed at the Tour Championship to collect the FedEx Cup since Tiger Woods in 2009.

Now Johnson has his name etched on the silver trophy alongside some of the best from his generation, starting with Woods and most recently Rory McIlroy, with Hall of Famers, major champions and former world No. 1 players in between.

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Packers rookie Kamal Martin has surgery on knee, to miss at least six weeks

The Green Bay Packers got some unsatisfactory news on the injury this week. Head coach Matt LaFleur alluded to some injuries on Monday during his press availability, noting that there were a few players who were banged up and whose statuses could affect the makeup of the 53-man roster.

Indeed, it appears that the team will be without a promising young player for at least the first several weeks of the 2020 regular season. That player is linebacker Kamal Martin, the Packers’ fifth-round draft pick in April.

According to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky, Martin will be having knee surgery that will keep him out for an extended period of time. The injury is to Martin’s meniscus, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, who notes that it is not expected to be season-ending. It would therefore appears that Martin may be a candidate to start the regular season on injured reserve.

He injured a knee last campaign while playing for the University of Minnesota, though it is unclear if the injuries are related.

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The Packers can maintain Martin’s eligibility to return this season from injured reserve if they keep him on the active roster through the 53-man roster deadline on Saturday and place him on IR afterwards. However, if they send him there before the cut-down deadline, he would be lost for the entire season.

Martin has fascinated heavily in training camp this summer and was reportedly taking snaps with the starting defense early in camp before the team cracked down on the detail that media members could report about the depth chart in practice.

This is just the latest injury at a position that keeps to be a problem for the Packers

Oren Burks missed a few days of practice late in camp and Curtis Bolton remains on the Physically Unable to Perform list in his attempt to return from a torn ACL he suffered last preseason.

That leaves the Packers with just presumed starter Christian Kirksey plus youngsters Ty Summers, Krys Barnes and potentially Tipa Galeai (who seems to be a better physical fit on the inside than on the edge) at the position.

Martin and Burks appeared to be the front-runners to start this season next to Kirksey, but if both of them are unavailable or unready to play, this could drive defensive coordinator Mike Pettine back to using a safety like Raven Greene at the second linebacker spot.

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Dolphins lose WR Preston Williams for rest of the season

Preston Williams was one of the brightest gems the Miami Dolphins revealed during the first year of their rebuild. Now, his first NFL season has come to an end.

Williams — who emerged as an undrafted rookie free agent to lead the Dolphins in receiving this season — suffered a left knee injury Sunday that ended his season, coach Brian Flores said on Monday.

“It’s a big loss for us,” Flores said. “I talked to him [Monday] morning. He’s done an incredible job. He came to us as a free agent and has really grown over the last six, seven months.

“I was devastated for the kid, and he was as well,” Flores added. “But I told him this is just a bump in the road. He’ll be back.” Williams suffered the injury, which is reportedly an anterior cruciate ligament tear, while returning a punt during the fourth quarter of Miami’s 28-16 win over the New York Jets on Sunday. He planted his left leg into the field to make a move before being taken down by a Jets player near the opposing sideline.

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He ended the game with five catches for 72 yards and two touchdowns before limping over to the Dolphins sideline and being carted off the field with a towel draped over his head — in what may have been the most disappointing note in Miami’s first win of the season.

The Dolphins identified Williams as a player that could stretch the field and emerge as a No. 1 receiver in the midst of their rebuild.

His role expanded to handling punt return duties from Dolphins receiver and speedy return specialist Jakeem Grant.

Now, his rookie season will end with a lengthy rehabilitation process likely ahead of him.

Flores did not have a timetable for Williams’ potential return. “If he attacks his rehab and training like he did from the time he got here, he’ll be just fine,” Flores said.

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