DJ confident he’ll be fit for LIV opener in Mexico after Asian Tour withdrawal

Bernie McGuire

Dustin Johnson (Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

by Bernie McGuire Royal Greens GC, Saudi Arabia

Dustin Johnson’s confident he will be fit for the opening event later this month of the 14-event 2023 LIV Golf series in Mexico.

Johnson arrived in Saudi Arabia with a lower back strain forcing him out of Wednesday’s Pro-Am and then to withdraw from the now $US5m Asian Tour event he won both in 2019 and 2021 on the Royal Greens course.

However the former World No. 1 chose to remain in Saudi Arabia mingling with VIP guests and also delighting around 25 teenagers in a practice session on the host club practice range mid-afternoon Friday.

“I’m feeling okay with doing everything other than hitting golf balls”, he said.

“We’re not really sure what the injury is though there’s bruising down the lower right side of my back, and I guess an 18-hour journey from the States to here didn’t help it.

“Every time I bend on my right side I seem to aggravate it.

“It was a long way to travel and then being forced to withdraw, as this tournament has been very good to me, winning the first hosting of the event in ’19 and then two years later, so very fond memories coming back here each year.

“It’s a golf course I have played well on and I think the worst I’ve finished here is seventh but never mind and besides if I didn’t think I was going to play I would have stayed home.

“The thing is also if the tournament were to be starting tomorrow (Saturday) I probably would have been okay to tee-up.”

Indeed, Johnson will return home for three weeks before heading to Mexico for the February 24th starting event at Mayakoba.

“I’ve never been to Mayakoba but then I hear it’s really nice,” he said.

“So, I’ll head back home from here, get some treatment on the back, rest-up and be ready to go in a few weeks.

“I’m confident I’ll be ready to go when I get to Mexico”.

“There’s a few venues on the LIV Tour this year where I haven’t played before including heading to Adelaide. I’ve been to Australia a few times as I’ve played in the Presidents Cup twice at Royal Melbourne while I played an Aussie Open one year in Sydney, while I played an event in Perth back in 2013 for the ISPS Perth International.

“I remember that it was AJs (brother Austin Johnson) first week caddying for me and then we went to the HSBC Champions in China and we won. It was my first win on the European Tour and he’s been caddying for me ever since”.

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