Dustin Johnson has been absent from the game for so long that he’s forgotten to bring some essentials with him to this week's Memorial Tournament at Muirfield Village.
“It’s definitely been a long time,” said the big-hitting American, who hasn’t played since the WGC-Cadillac Championship in March. “I forgot to pack my belts!”
Johnson didn’t hit a ball for nearly six weeks after wrenching his back while pushing a jet ski near his home in South Florida but admits he’s ready to get back in the swing of things at Jack Nicklaus’ event this week.
“I’m excited to start playing again and the game is starting to come around,” added the World No.20, who finished tied fourth in Ohio last season. “I’m healthy now, feeling good and ready to play golf.”
Another player looking for a quick return to the top of the game is four-time Memorial Tournament champion Tiger Woods.
Woods, who took questions from fans in a 34-minute chat called a ‘hangout’ on YouTube last night, explained he was comfortable with how is swing is progressing.
“We’re excited about what we’re working on,” said the 14-time major champion, speaking of the work he has done with swing coach Sean Foley.
“I hadn’t played well in a couple of weeks but we know what it is. It’s a matter of getting repetitions in and getting the trust in it.”
Newly-promoted World No.1 Luke Donald will start as the warm favourite following the manner of his four-shot victory at the BMW PGA Championship last week and will partner Rory McIlroy, who has just come off two consecutive missed cuts in both flagship events on the PGA and European Tours.
For McIlroy to trade places with the Englishman as No.1 for the umpteenth time this season, the 23-year-old will need to win and hope Donald finishes outside the top-13.
This week’s star-studded field also includes defending champion Steve Stricker, Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose, Ernie Els, Jason Day and Masters champion Bubba Watson, who is teeing up in his first event since the Zurich Classic of New Orleans last month.
Muirfield Village GC, Dublin, Ohio
Thursday May 31 to Sunday June 3
Par-72; 7,386 yards
$6,200,000 (winner: $1,116,000)
Steve Stricker (-16)
Most wins: 4 Tiger Woods (1999, 2000, 2001, 2009)
Lowest score to par: -20 Tom Lehman (1994)
Did you know?
As a restricted field event on the PGA Tour, only the first 75 players on the previous year’s money-list are guaranteed invites
Thursday: Sky Sports 1 from 8pm
Friday: Sky Sports 3 from 8pm
Saturday: Sky Sports 1 from 5.30pm
Sunday: Sky Sports 1 from 5pm