DUBLIN, Ohio –- Dustin Johnson knew it’d been a while since he’d been on tour when he arrived at the Memorial Tournament and realized he forgot to pack a key part of his wardrobe -– belts.
“Wasn’t quite in the routine,” Johnson joked Tuesday at Muirfield Village.
Johnson has been sidelined with a back injury he suffered while trying to help a friend move a jet ski. The injury forced Johnson to miss the Masters, and he hasn’t played in a tournament since a T35 at Doral in March.
“I really didn't touch a club for five, six weeks,” Johnson said.
This is the second time in less than a year that one of the tour’s brightest stars has been out with an injury. Johnson had knee surgery in November to repair cartilage, and he was returning to full strength when he injured his back.
“I had knee surgery and then I rehabbed that, and really, that went really well,” Johnson said. “And then to have a back injury was pretty frustrating. But I'm all healthy now and all good, and I'm ready to play golf.”
Johnson’s back will be tested in the next few weeks as he tackles Muirfield Village this week, and then Memphis next week before heading to the U.S. Open at Olympic Club, a place Johnson knows well. In 2007, Johnson lost in the first round of the U.S. Amateur at Olympic.
“It played tough during the U.S. Am,” Johnson said. “I know they've made some changes, but I think it's a good course.”
Johnson could use a good finish this week, not only for his confidence, but also because he’s slipped all the way to 24th in the Ryder Cup standings. Johnson was a key part of the last U.S. Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup teams, but he calmly dismissed the notion there was any added pressure to make the team.
“I want to be on the team, and I'm going to do whatever I can to make it,” Johnson said. “Obviously having a couple months off hurts a little bit, but I've still got plenty of time to make the team.”
(Photo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)