DUBLIN, Ohio – Beware the sick golfer. If the adage is indeed true, then the International team might steer clear of Zach Johnson at the Presidents Cup this week.
Johnson was scheduled to fly into Columbus, Ohio, from Sea Island, Ga., along with U.S. teammate Matt Kuchar and assistant captain Davis Love III mid-day Monday, but was too sick to even board the flight. He said as he packed late Sunday night, was stricken suddenly with a 24-hour bug and spent the next 20 hours at home in bed.
Though he missed the U.S. team picture – it will be re-shot to include him – Johnson did arrive on the grounds at Muirfield Village on Tuesday, and made his way to the practice tee and was able to chip and putt. He’s expected to play a practice round on Wednesday.
“When I landed here,” Johnson said, “I was like, okay, I’m ready to go play. And I want to go play today but I think I’m going to hold off and probably play 18 holes tomorrow instead.”
Johnson made a late run to make this year’s Presidents Cup team, his third, earning his way inside the points table by holing a 25-foot birdie putt on his 72nd hole at the Deutsch Bank Championship outside Boston on Labor Day. He then went out and won the BMW Championship the following week outside Chicago, his 10th PGA Tour title.
Johnson said while at home, quarantined in his room away from his wife and kids on Monday evening, thoughts briefly ran through his head that he might not even be able to compete this week. Love took his place in the U.S. team pairings on Tuesday. Johnson is expected to be fine; had he not been able to play, U.S. captain Fred Couples would have had until 6 p.m. on Wednesday to name an at-large captain’s pick to replace him.
“Now it’s just the energy and getting my body and the aches – laying in bed for 20 hours, my back hurts right now, but I’ll be fine,” Johnson said. “I’ve got my physio guy here and I’m better now than what I was three hours ago. It’s just going to take a little bit of time.”