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Dustin Johnson begins season in Las Vegas at CJ Cup looking to become Dustin Johnson again

LAS VEGAS – Dustin Johnson was having breakfast Wednesday ahead of his pro-am round for the CJ Cup when Rory McIlroy sat down next to him.

“Are you going to start in Maui like you usually do?” McIlroy asked him, referring to the year-opening Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.

“I’m not in,” Johnson replied.

McIlroy was stunned.

“I was like, ‘Oh, sorry,’” McIlroy said. “DJ’s the second-ranked player in the world and he didn’t win on Tour last year. It just shows you how tough it is (to win).”

McIlroy isn’t the only one stunned. Johnson was the best player on the planet by miles heading into 2021, having won the November Masters, the Tour Championship, the Northern Trust, the Travelers Championship and finishing runner-up in the PGA Championship, the BMW Championship and the Houston Open in a span of five months.

But aside from winning the Saudi International on the European Tour in February, Johnson struggled for most of 2021, missing four cuts and having four finishes north of 28th. He went 10 tournaments in one stretch and had just one top-10.

He had issues with his driving, his putting and his iron play.

Heading into his season debut this week at…

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