PGA Tour

'Reset' Johnson aims to bounce back after winless 2021

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Dustin Johnson. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Dustin Johnson. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

A recharged Dustin Johnson will make his 2022 debut at the Farmers Insurance Open in California on Wednesday hoping to bounce back after a winless 2021.

The two-time major winner and former world number one endured a frustrating 2021, failing to win a tournament in a calendar year for only the second time since he joined the PGA Tour in 2008.

Johnson - whose last tournament appearance came at the CJ Cup in Las Vegas last October - opted to take a lengthy break following that outing in Nevada, where he finished tied for 45th place.

It has left the world number four feeling refreshed as he prepares to tackle the demanding layout at Torrey Pines outside San Diego this week.

"I just needed a reset with mind, body, everything," Johnson said on Tuesday.

"I was really frustrated with how I played this year."

Johnson believes he will reap the benefits of his three-month break from golf at the back end of this year, as the PGA Tour playoffs and other big tournaments come thick and fast.

"It's a long year," Johnson said. "Especially when it comes down towards the end of the year when we have a lot of big tournaments all in a row. I'll still feel fresh and rested."

Johnson's problems in 2021 were all the more baffling after he finished 2020 in blistering form, with wins in the Travelers Championship, the Northern Trust and Tour Championship followed by a victory in the rescheduled Masters at Augusta in November that year.

But the consistency which underpinned those victories vanished in 2021.

"I put a lot of good rounds together, but I just couldn't put four rounds together," Johnson said Tuesday.

"It felt like when I was hitting the driver good, I wasn't hitting my irons very well. If I was hitting my irons well, I wasn't driving it good. Just nothing was matching up.

"It just gets frustrating when you do it for eight months straight. Especially after like the Fall I had the year before, it was really frustrating."

Johnson, who spent his time off with his family with some fishing thrown in, said he is already seeing signs that his form has been rejuvenated.

"Last week I started hitting balls again and it's been pretty good," he said.

"The progression's been nice. Each day I see it's getting a little bit better, a little bit more consistent.

"That's what I wanted. After last year I was frustrated with everything, so a break was what I needed."

This week's tournament meanwhile marks a happy return for world number one Jon Rahm, who tees off at Torrey Pines on Wednesday just seven months after winning his maiden major title at the course last June with victory in the US Open.

Rahm clinched that crown with back-to-back birdies on the final two holes, and admitted returning to San Diego this week gave him an "incredible sense of pride."

"I remember all those times when I was a kid thinking, 'Oh, this is to win a major.' It's an incredible sense of pride to myself to all those times when I was a kid and said, 'One day I'll be a major champion,' and being able to do it and being able to do it at a place I love so much," he said.

"So hopefully I can keep adding to it."

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