DJ's Honda absence good for guys wanting 'W'

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PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – The Honda Classic is a respite from Dustin Johnson.

Johnson, who vaulted to world No. 1 with his victory Sunday at the Genesis Open at Riveiera, isn’t in the field this week. That’s a good thing for more than one PGA Tour pro wanting to win.

Daniel Berger, who nearly won the Honda Classic as a rookie two years ago, was asked who he finds the toughest player to face when that player’s at the top of his game.

“The hardest guy for me to beat would be Dustin,” Berger said. “I know, obviously, he’s No. 1 in the world, but the times I’ve played with him, like I played with him at Augusta last year, and I played with him a few other times, you really have to not pay attention to him, because he hits the ball so incredibly far.

“When you play with him, it’s like another level of speed that he has. You almost end up swinging out of your shoes trying to catch him, and the guy just doesn’t even know. He just keeps going and going and going.”

Johnson has won four times in the last eight months. In his last 16 starts, he has finished third or better in eight of them.

Johnson isn’t the lone star taking the week off. None of the top six in the world is playing at PGA National. Adam Scott, the defending champion, is the top ranked player in the field at No. 7 in the world.

Berger was also asked Tuesday who wins if each of the top six players in the world are at their best.

“You can’t really pinpoint a guy,” Berger said. “It seems like when any one of those guys are on, they are not impossible to beat, but they are hard to beat.”