(Reuters) - Dustin Johnson enters this week’s Tour Championship hoping to make up for his disappointment at the season-ending event a year ago and said on Tuesday his game is right where it needs to be.
Johnson, who is third in the season-long points race, is one of five golfers who control their fate this week at East Lake in Atlanta where a win would secure the FedExCup title and the $10 million (7.41 million pounds) first-prize bonus.
Johnson also controlled his destiny at the same event in 2016 but lost out on the biggest payday in golf after a poor final round.
“Feel like the golf game is in good form,” American world number one Johnson told a news conference in Atlanta. “Had a good practice day today. The golf course is in really good condition and it’s a golf course that I enjoy playing.”
No golfer had been hotter than long-hitting Johnson in the three months leading into last year’s Tour Championship but he started to unravel in the final round with three bogeys over a four-hole stretch beginning on the fifth.
He stumbled to a three-over 73 but sat in the clubhouse with a chance of collecting the FedExCup honours, needing anyone but Rory McIlroy to win the tournament.
McIlroy, three shots behind with three to play, finished eagle-par-birdie to join a three-man playoff which he won on the fourth extra hole to become a most unlikely FedExCup champion while Johnson settled for a share of sixth place.
“Played it pretty well last year for, I don’t know, 63 holes maybe. The last nine I didn’t play so well on it,” said Johnson. “But I‘m right where I want to be (now). I feel like the game is in good form and I am looking forward to this week.”
Johnson had three consecutive wins this year until being sidelined with a back injury suffered on the eve of the U.S. Masters in April. He got his swagger back in the first leg of the FedExCup playoffs where he beat Jordan Spieth in a playoff.
Johnson, who will tee off in Thursday’s opening round with Australian Marc Leishman, shrugged off any notion that a shot at a massive payday brought on added pressure during last year’s final round.
”I don’t think I felt any different other than I had a chance to win,“ said Johnson. ”Obviously that’s a lot of money but it’s not going to change my life or anything.
“For me it’s more about winning the Tour Championship and becoming the FedExCup champion than it is about the money. That’s just a very nice bonus.”
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Toby Davis