Johnson likely to make return at Torrey Pines

Dustin Johnson (file photo)

KAPALUA, Hawaii – Dustin Johnson, who had surgery to repair cartilage damage in his right knee Nov. 29, is recovering well and likely to make his 2012 debut at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines Jan. 26-29, according to his manager.

Johnson, ranked seventh in the Official World Golf Ranking, had hoped to make it to Kapalua for this week’s season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions, but decided not to rush his comeback. Johnson had experienced nagging discomfort in his right knee dating to last summer, and had an MRI – and eventually, surgery – performed when he returned from the Presidents Cup in Australia.

“He’s been playing and practicing every day at home (in south Florida), and the longer he’s at home, the longer he continues his daily rehab regimen,” said David Winkle of Hambric Sports. “Dustin has had no pain, no discomfort, but he decided he wasn’t going to push it to try Hawaii. The biggest mistake he could make is to jump out too early.”

There is an outside chance Johnson could commit to play the Humana Challenge (formerly the Bob Hope) in Palm Springs, Calif., in two weeks, but Winkle said Johnson likely will start his season at Torrey Pines. Johnson tied for third there in 2011.

“He wants to start strong and start fast,” Winkle said.

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