AUGUSTA, Ga. – Dustin Johnson’s plan for Wednesday evening is quite simple.
“I’m going to take it really easy,” he said.
If only he’d done that a year ago.
It was on the eve of the Masters last year that Johnson slipped on a set of wooden stairs in his rental house and injured his back. He attempted to warm up through the discomfort, but he ultimately decided to withdraw from the event – a stunning blow considering his career-best form entering the tournament, with three consecutive titles.
A year later, he’s still reminded about that blunder.
“I get asked it every day out here on the range or walking down the fairway,” he said. “I’m reminded all the time. So, yeah, I definitely was thinking about it. But it is what it is. It was just a freak thing and it happened; there’s nothing I can do about it except I’m here this year. Hopefully I can tee it up on Thursday, and I’ll definitely be looking forward to that.”
Johnson hasn’t been nearly as dominant this spring. He nearly lost his No. 1 ranking last month, and his only win this calendar year was his runaway victory at Kapalua. He added three other top-10s but in his most recent appearance, he lost all three matches at the WGC-Match Play.
Asked to compare, on a 1-10 scale, his confidence level now as opposed to last year, Johnson replied: “Last year I was about as confident as I’ve ever been, so it was probably a 10. This year it’s probably a 9 ½. I’m starting to swing it a lot better.”