MELBOURNE — This might shock you, but Dustin Johnson is not stressing about the Presidents Cup being his first event since knee surgery.
"I'll play as much as Tiger wants me to play," Johnson said before Thursday's four-ball matches, when he and Gary Woodland will face Abraham Ancer and Louis Oosthuizen.
"I wouldn't be here if I wasn't ready to play. ... I'm as good as I can be."
Johnson underwent arthroscopic surgery on Sept. 5 to repair cartilage damage in his left knee, an ailment that had been bothering him since as far back as January. He was scheduled to play in last week's Hero World Challenge but pulled out on the Saturday before the 18-man exhibition in the Bahamas began.
That sparked speculation that Johnson might become the second player to withdraw from this Presidents Cup with knee issues—his buddy Brooks Koepka did so on Nov. 20 and was replaced by Rickie Fowler—but Johnson said he was never seriously considering missing his fourth Presidents Cup.
"I was close to ready, I just didn't feel like I was 100 percent," he said. "I just wanted that extra week to be ready for this. I felt like the extra 10 days was a big help.
"There was no issue with my knee. Everything has gone very well. The only—with the driver, and not on the range, more when I was playing, every once in a while I'd feel my knee in the transition. So it was just something I needed to work through. Even though there wasn't any pain."
Johnson said he started hitting balls three or four weeks after the surgery, meaning he's been practicing for a solid nine weeks. He prepared for this week in Florida, then flew to the Bahamas to catch the charter with the rest of his teammates.
U.S. captain Tiger Woods said he had no hesitation in picking Johnson to go out in the first round of matches, despite the fact that the world No. 3 hasn't teed it up in competition since finishing last in the Tour Championship, and that he hasn't finished better than T-20 since the PGA Championship in May.
"More than anything with DJ, it's just making sure that he recovered from the flight," Woods said. He's feeling good. He's worked out each and every day we've been here. His lifts have been good. Game is coming along, and he was chomping at the bit to get out there."