Johnson is teeing-up in his home state of South Carolina for a first occasion in nine-years but with the host Harbor Town Golf Links officially the shortest on the PGA Tour.
The course is barely just over 7,000 yards and indeed some 400 yards shorter than last week’s Masters venue at Augusta National and also around 400 yards shorter than the Plantation Course at the Kapalua Resort in Hawaii where Johnson in January captured the Sentry Tournament of Champions.
Harbor Town also has some of the smallest greens on the PGA Tour making not only the tight fairways difficult to hit but also requiring pinpoint accuracy to find the greens.
But after finishing top-10 in last week’s Masters, Johnson is up for the challenge.
“It’s a different golf course than we play most weeks but it’s just like any other golf course as there’s a spot you’re supposed to hit it to and you go from there,” he said.
“It doesn’t matter where you play or what course it is, you’ve still got to hit good golf shots no matter what you’re hitting off the tee. I like this golf course. I like tight, tree-lined golf courses, it’s what I grew up playing. It’s not like it’s anything new.
“But I don’t hit many drivers, I get to hit a few around here. No matter what club you’re hitting, you need to hit it straight and place it in the correct side of the fairway and kind of go from there. The greens are small and they’re tough greens. They’re fairly flat, but they’re small, and you don’t really want to miss them.
“So controlling your ball coming into the greens is very imperative, too.”
The RBC Heritage is the only PGA Tour event in South Carolina and with Johnson last teed-up in the event in 2009 but missing the halfway cut and then also ranked No. 42 in the world.
This week Johnson also has the chance to extend his lead atop of the World Rankings after being under threat in recent weeks from fellow American Justin Thomas.
“It would definitely mean a lot to win here in my home state,” Johnson said.
“One of the reasons I haven’t been back in so long is it just always – with scheduling, it’s right after Augusta. And usually kind of – I usually take a break right after the majors. But I’ll wait until next week to take a vacation.
“But that’s one reason I haven’t been back here, pretty much the only reason as I am now an RBC ambassador, so I’ll be back here for the next few years.”
Also in the field is five-time former Heritage winner, Davis Love 111 along with double event winner and current USA Ryder Cup Captain, Jim Furyk.
Love III has been drawn to contest the opening two rounds along the recent British winning duo of Paul Casey and Ian Poulter.
Indeed, there is a strong British presence this week with Casey, winner of the Valspar Championship, and Poulter who captured last fortnight’s Houston Open, being joined by former winner Graeme McDowell along with past World No 1 Luke Donald, Ross Fisher, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Tyrrell Hatton.
And not forgetting the Scottish duo of Martin Laird and Russell Knox.
Source : EXPRESS