Top-ranked Johnson back to 100% after knee issues

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Top-ranked Dustin Johnson says he is feeling 100% on the eve of the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island after struggling with a sore knee last week
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Top-ranked Dustin Johnson, nagged by a knee injury since his Masters victory last November, said Wednesday he is finally back on form on the eve of the 103rd PGA Championship.

The 36-year-old American, a home-state hero this week at wind-swept Kiawah Island, is among the favorites on the 7,876-yard Ocean course, the longest layout in major golf history.

Johnson withdrew from last week's US PGA Byron Nelson event in suburban Dallas with knee discomfort, staying home for rehabilitation work instead of playing a final tuneup event.

"Health is good," Johnson said. "I just want to spend more time on making sure I was feeling 100% for this week. Done a lot of work at home and I feel really good coming into this week."

Johnson had surgery on his left knee in 2019 and said it had bothered him "off and on a little bit over the probably past six months," or just after he won the green jacket at Augusta National.

"It just didn't feel right," Johnson said. "I got an MRI. Everything was fine. Just got together with the doctor and physio down there that I use for my rehab and just put together a little bit of a plan to get a little bit stronger.

"It feels good, though."

Johnson, whose first of two major titles came at the 2016 US Open, could be overtaken by second-ranked compatriot Justin Thomas for the world number one ranking this week if Thomas wins the PGA and Johnson finishes worse than alone in fifth.

Since last year's Masters, Johnson has finished in the top 10 only once, sharing eighth at Riviera. He missed the cut last month in defending his Masters crown.

"Mix of everything," Johnson blamed for his recent woes. "I feel like it has been close the past few months. Just haven't put it all together at the same time.

"But everything feels really good right now. I've got a lot of confidence coming into this week. I feel like I've been working hard on the game and looking forward to it."

Johnson will be challenged on the blustery coast, where his long-driving skills will be put to the test.

"It's tough," he said. "The greens are firm, they're all raised. Hitting long clubs in. When the wind is blowing, even the downwind holes are tough just because it's hard to stop the ball.

"It just requires you to do everything well. You've got to hit the fairways. They are fairly generous but with the winds the way they are and a lot of crosswinds and the way the holes are angled, you've got to hit good drives."

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