The Loop

Toe injury threatens Zach Johnson's debut

January 04, 2011

KAPALUA, Hawaii - Zach Johnson was sporting newly purchased FootJoy sandal spikes in the lockerroom at Kapalua Resort's Plantation Course Tuesday morning, more as an act of desperation than a fashion statement.

The former Masters champion was hoping his pro shop purchase would allow him to compete in this week's Hyundai Tournament of Champions after he smashed his right big toe last weekend while on vacation on Grand Cayman Island.

"We're going to give it a try. I can put my full weight on it, but I don't know about a golf swing," said Johnson, who qualified for the PGA Tour season opener by winning the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. "I guess worst-case scenario is I hit my first tee shot, and then go on to the Sony Open. But I hope I don't have to do that."

Johnson, who finished 18th last year at Kapalua, is scheduled to tee off at 12:20 p.m. HST Thursday with Justin Rose in the fifth-to-last pairing. If Johnson were to hit one shot and withdraw, he would earn unofficial last-place money in the 34-man field. He would not be paid if he could not make it to the tee. Johnson won the 2009 Sony Open in Hawaii.

The accident occurred Saturday when Johnson, 34, tripped on a stone staircase and stubbed his toe, tearing off most of the nail. He said the toe has since become infected and is very sore, so sore that he had to cut off the top of his sock, exposing the heavily bandaged digit. He had not hit a ball since then but was on his way to the range to gauge the feasibility of competing.

"It's a tough deal for sure, and I know in another week I'll probably be OK," Johnson said. "But I definitely want to play here, and I'll do everything I can up to the last minute to be ready."

-- Dave Shedloski