By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
DUBLIN, Ohio -- One half of the U.S. Presidents Cup team was hitting balls on the range at Muirfield Village Tuesday afternoon.
Five of them went about their business under the watchful eye of their caddies. For Zach Johnson, though, it was a stop-and-start proposition as TV cameras and tape recorders interrupted the flow.
Johnson has been battling what he called a "24-hour bug" that began about 9:30 Sunday night as he was packing for his third Presidents Cup. He was so sick he delayed his arrival by a day but Johnson said he was feeling surprisingly good on Tuesday afternoon.
"I'm much better," he said. "Every square inch of my fibers hurt. I mean, I was in pain, and obviously, I was frequenting the throne, so I felt horrible, and the thoughts that were going through my head were, I'd rather not even say.
"But it's amazing, it's just a 24-hour bug. My body's not normal, but it's really close. When I landed here, I was like, okay, I'm ready to go play. And I want to go play today but I think I'm going to hold off and probably play 18 holes tomorrow instead."
"It's amazing how quickly your body can recover from something like that."
Among those thoughts was whether Johnson would even be able to play this week at The Presidents Cup. He called that the "worst case scenario" as he was essentially quarantined in his bedroom in his St. Simon's Island, Ga., home.
"Couldn't see my kids, and obviously my wife didn't sleep next to me," Johnson said. "I slept great, though. That's the nice thing, I had to get some meds. Slept for at least 16-and-a-half hours, Sunday to Monday. I essentially turned the TV on at like 4:30 p.m. on Monday and was starting to get some food in me by that point, too. So, feeling good."
Johnson was supposed to fly to Columbus, Ohio, with two other coastal Georgia residents, assistant captain Davis Love III and teammate Matt Kuchar, and their wives. Before the plane left around noon Monday, though, Johnson knew they'd have to go wheels-up without him.
"I was talking to my wife for about five minutes is all it took," Johnson said. "... I was just, there's no way. I could have got on the plane and I could have got here but then I'm subjecting them to something that I don't know what it is."
Johnson says he is not 100 percent -- but he's close. Iowa's 23-7 win over Minnesota last weekend didn't hurt his disposition, either.
"Now it's just the energy and getting my body and the aches -- laying in bed for 20 hours, my back hurts right now, but I'll be fine," Johnson said. "I've got my physio guy here and I'm better now than what I was three hours ago. It's just going to take a little bit of time. Keep hydrating. And the Hawks won."