Re­cent vic­to­ries boost John­son’s con­fi­dence for Play­ers

New Straits Times - - Sport -

RALEIGH: Ster­ling play has been a chal­lenge for Dustin John­son at The Play­ers Cham­pi­onship, but the Amer­i­can World No 1 is hop­ing this week’s tour­na­ment will be more in­dica­tive of his re­cent suc­cess.

“I think my game as a whole has got­ten a lot bet­ter,” John­son, whose pre­vi­ous best fin­ish in eight starts at The Play­ers has been a tie for 28th, told a news con­fer­ence in Ponte Ve­dra, Florida on Wed­nes­day.

Three vic­to­ries and a tie for sec­ond in his last four starts have given the big hit­ter plenty of con­fi­dence, but he ad­mit­ted TPC Saw­grass, where ac­cu­racy off the tee is of­ten more im­por­tant than length, will be a chal­lenge.

“I haven’t had a lot of suc­cess around here, so it’s def­i­nitely a chal­lenge for me,” John­son said. “But I feel like if I’m go­ing to play well here, this is the time.

“Ev­ery­thing through­out my whole game is in re­ally good form right now.”

John­son re­bounded from an un­lucky fall that ruled him out of the Masters to tie for sec­ond in last week’s Wells Fargo Cham­pi­onship, com­ing on strong over the last 36 holes af­ter barely mak­ing the half­way cut.

His con­fi­dence — and game — are con­tin­u­ing to im­prove, John­son said, as he pre­pares to face Masters win­ner Ser­gio Gar­cia, newlywed Rory McIl­roy and de­fend­ing cham­pion Ja­son Day.

“I played a lot bet­ter on the week­end,” John­son said. “I’ve had a cou­ple good prac­tice days the last two days, so I’m ex­cited to get the tour­na­ment started.”

But John­son, who has only bro­ken 70 twice in 26 rounds at TPC Saw­grass, knows the Florida lay­out can chal­lenge the best.

While a cou­ple of holes have been length­ened since last year, the course still favours pre­ci­sion over power, es­pe­cially when con­di­tions are firm, as they were on tour­na­ment eve.

“This golf course is tough,” he said. “You’ve got to have all facets of your game work­ing if you want to con­tend around here.

“You’ve got to be do­ing ev­ery­thing well be­cause you’ve got to hit all kinds of dif­fer­ent shots, ev­ery club in your bag, and you’ve got to re­ally con­trol your golf ball.” Reuters

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