Two powerhouses in golf, Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy have both struggled at times in 2017 and their struggles share a common denominator: injury.
McIlroy was on the back foot before the year even began. Hindered by a rib injury, the Northern-Irishman fought to a second-place finish at the BMW SA Open in January before sitting out for six weeks, only to aggravate it further at THE PLAYERS Championship in May. As a result, McIlroy is still without a win this year – he hasn’t gone a full calendar year without a win since 2008 – and has fallen to his lowest world ranking in over three years, eighth.Embed from Getty Images
The year start for DJ was quite the contrary. The 33-year-old began 2017 with six top sixes in his first seven events and headed into The Masters as clear favourite directly on the back of three consecutive wins. In the process, he became world-number-one for the first time in his career – a spot he still holds today. However, a slip down the stairs on the eve of the first round at Augusta National scuppered his chances of competing and left him sidelined; he still believes he’s suffering from that injury today.Embed from Getty Images
Johnson has not been short on sympathy for McIlroy, though, admitting he’s felt some of his pain this year himself.
“It sucks and I feel for Rory as I was playing so well leading into Augusta and I had everything dialled in so well heading to the Masters. So I can understand first-hand how frustrating the year has been for him,” he said.
“As for myself, I was swinging the golf club the best I had ever done. I was ultra-confident having won three events in a row and everything was really solid. So, to get the injury I did, and it was such a freak injury, just de-railed everything for me.Embed from Getty Images
“Standing here now I am still struggling to get my swing back to where it was when I got to Augusta; it’s still not the same as it was in winning three times. It’s getting there but it’s not the same and it’s all due to that fall down the stairs I had. It did take a long time for my back to heal and while the back is fine now, my golf swing is still aching,” he added.
“So, I can sympathise with Rory 100% that he just wants to shut down his season.
“We all know, the only way any injury is going to heal properly is to give it rest, and even though Rory’s been playing all he is doing is aggravating the injury so he’s wise to take a long break from the game,” Johnson finished.
Unlike McIlroy who failed to qualify to defend his titles, Johnson will tee off in the penultimate group at the TOUR Championship today knowing a win would seal the FedExCup crown to salvage the latter half of his year.