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Dustin Johnson wins season-opening Tournament of Champions in Hawaii

Johnson wins by four shots over Steve Stricker in tournament shortened to three rounds because of weather.

January 08, 2013
  • Dustin Johnson won the first event of the PGA Tour season, the Tournament of Champions, on Tuesday after the tournament was shortened to three rounds due to weather.
Dustin Johnson won the first event of the PGA Tour season, the Tournament… (Christian Petersen / Getty…)

Dustin Johnson ended a windy week with a wild ride Tuesday that carried him to the first win of the PGA Tour season.

Despite hitting two drives into native areas that cost him three shots, Johnson never lost the lead at Kapalua, Hawaii. He closed with a five-under-par 68 for a four-shot victory in the Tournament of Champions, though it was up for grabs with five holes remaining.

Steve Stricker came within a fraction of an inch of tying for the lead until his birdie putt peeled away from the cup on the 13th hole, which Johnson chopped up for a double bogey. With only a one-shot lead, Johnson pitched in from 50 feet in front of the 14th green to restore his three-shot lead, and Stricker never challenged him after that.

And so, the tournament that didn't start until the fourth day because of a powerful wind finally ended with a guy who overpowered the Plantation Course.

Johnson, who finished at 16-under 203, won for the sixth straight season. Only Phil Mickelson with nine straight years has a longer active streak of most consecutive seasons with a PGA Tour victory.

"He's very athletic, and he's just going to continue to get better," Stricker said. "It's fun to watch. You never know what he's going to do, and he's got a lot of talent."

Johnson also added a peculiar footnote to his record. He now has won the last three PGA Tour events reduced to 54 holes because of weather — rain at Pebble Beach in 2009, a hurricane at the Barclays in 2011 and gusts that topped 40 mph in Hawaii from a freak weather pattern that led to a bizarre season opener.

Johnson moved to No. 12 in the world ranking.

The tournament ended just over 29 hours after it started. Then again, 54 holes were all that was needed to show who was playing the best golf.

"It gives me a lot of confidence going into this year," Johnson said.

Not since Tiger Woods has a player gone straight from college to winning in his first six seasons on tour.

Stricker put up a good fight on one good leg. He has been feeling a shooting pain down his left side on every shot and limped his way around the most mountainous course on tour for 54 holes in two days. He closed with a 69.

Brandt Snedeker went five-under during a four-hole stretch on the front nine to get within one shot of the lead until he closed out the front nine with three straight bogeys. Snedeker had a 69 and finished alone in third, six shots behind. He moved to No. 8 in the world ranking, second only to Woods among Americans.

Masters champion Bubba Watson (71) and former PGA champion Keegan Bradley (70) were another shot back.

Etc.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was fined $50,000 by the NBA for publicly criticizing the officiating.

Cuban, who has been fined more than $1.5 million by the league during his 13 years owning the Mavericks, expressed his frustration with the officiating on his Twitter page following a 99-96 overtime loss to New Orleans on Saturday.

Cuban apologized to fans in the tweet, saying that he's "tried for 13 [years] to fix the officiating in this league and I have failed miserably" and asking for their suggestions.

An NBA spokesman confirmed the fine Tuesday. The league did not announce the penalty.

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New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony said Tuesday he lost his cool after the Boston Celtics' Kevin Garnett said things to him that he feels shouldn't be said to "another man."

Anthony said he sought out Garnett after the Knicks' home loss to Boston on Monday night so they could discuss it. He would not elaborate on what was said.

Anthony went toward the Celtics' locker room and waited for Garnett outside the team bus. He said they have spoken and sorted out the matter.

"There's certain things that you just don't say to men, another man," Anthony said. "I felt like we crossed a line, but like I said, we both had an understanding right now, we handled it the way we handled it. Nobody needs to know what was said behind closed doors, so that situation was handled."

The All-Star forwards exchanged words during the game and Anthony clearly was affected. He shot six for 26, seeming at times in the second half to be most concerned with pushing and shoving Garnett, and acknowledged Tuesday that he "allowed some negativity to come into my circle."

The NBA is investigating and has video evidence. It could decide to penalize Anthony, who said he shouldn't be suspended.

::

Brooklyn Nets forward Andray Blatche was questioned by Philadelphia police, but not charged, as part of a sexual assault investigation at an upscale hotel.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said Blatche was among the witnesses interviewed by police on Tuesday. Ramsey told reporters preliminary findings of the investigation show Blatche was not involved.

Officer Jillian Russell says the possible assault reportedly happened around 3:30 a.m. Tuesday in a room at the Four Seasons Hotel.

The Nets were in Philadelphia to play the 76ers and Blatche played.

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