There was good news for Captain Woods as Rickie Fowler and Dustin Johnson returned to loose action ahead of the Presidents Cup.
Neither have played since the final round of the Tour Championship on August 25 with Johnson coming back from arthroscopic knee surgery while Fowler, a recent replacement for Brooks Koepka, has been off getting married and then withdrawing from the Mayakoba Classic with food poisoning.
And not much has changed in the interim; Fowler birdied his first four holes in the Pro-Member at The Floridian while Johnson turned up with about 10 putters half an hour before teeing off.
Making up the fourball were just your usual regular guys with Butch Harmon, who has a school on the property, partnering Johnson while Fowler teamed up with the owner of the course and the Houston Astros Jim Crane. Come the end of the round Fowler and Crane had a betterball 63 to finish runners-up to the Texas Open champion Corey Conners and Kevin Sullivan, with Johnson and Harmon tying for fourth.
Jon Rahm moves to the No. 3 in the world rankings after his success this weekend.
This sees DJ drop out of the top 3 for the first time since before his 2016 US Open win.
— Joe Hughes (@JoeHughesNCG) November 25, 2019
“They haven’t played much but the both of them know what to work on when they come back,” Harmon told the Golf Channel. “Rickie putted the ball beautifully. Dustin putted the ball beautifully. They’d hit a loose drive here and there, but in general they both played beautiful golf. You can’t hide talent. It’s just a matter of going back to work, going back to the things you’ve always done.”
Fowler added that he had still played a lot prior to his wedding, maybe in anticipation of Koepka not being fit for Royal Melbourne, while Johnson found the exercise useful.
“I know even after a long lay-off what it takes to be ready in tournament shape. Obviously simulating tournament rounds is very difficult. Stuff like this helps, though. I know it’s pretty relaxed, but you still can put a little pressure on yourself. You’ve got to make some putts so it definitely helps.”
The pair will get a proper run-out at Tiger’s Hero World Challenge next week before the team head down to Australia to take on Ernie Els’ International side.
Could the golf ball be rolled back for everyone?