PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Dustin Johnson has gone two months without playing on the PGA Tour, though he plans to gradually get back to practice.
Johnson had surgery to repair cartilage damage in his knee during the offseason, but he withdrew from his first tournament because of back pain that never quite went away. He withdrew from Bay Hill with hopes of being ready for the Masters, and then hurt his back again the Friday before the Masters lifting a jet ski from the water near his home in South Florida.
The Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass has hosted The Players Championship every year since 1982. The event moved from March to May in 2007.
"I can promise you, I won't be doing any more heavy lifting, other than in the gym," Johnson said in a statement from Hambric Sports Management. "I've learned a valuable and expensive lesson the hard way."
Johnson has three top-10s this year, though only one serious chance at winning, when he missed a playoff at Riviera.
He is behind in Ryder Cup points, but he still has three majors and a World Golf Championship to make up ground, along with the rest of his schedule. He has not said when he would return. The release said the "coming weeks." Johnson said he would take it slow.
"There's no point in me taking any dumb risks and hurrying my return just because I'm anxious," he said. "The next time I tee it up, I'm going to be healthy, strong and 100 percent ready."
TIGER & PAVAROTTI: British player-turned-broadcaster Peter Alliss is among those who believe Tiger Woods is getting too much instruction.
At a news conference before his induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame, Alliss said Woods' "golfing brain for some reason or another is completely addled." What astonished him was a scene from the practice range at the Masters last year. Alliss said he was sitting with Arnold Palmer at the end of the range.
"And there 50 yards away is Tiger Woods at the green nearest the television facility being shown how to chip," Alliss said. "`You must do it this way, this way.' And I said to Arnold, `Are we seeing ...?' He was the greatest chipper in the world for a period, and this guy is teaching, `No, don't do it that way.'
"It's like Pavarotti saying, `I'm fed up with being a tenor. I think I'm going to sing as a baritone.' Land sake," he said. "That's as stupid as that, in my opinion. That's not a criticism, that's an opinion. But that's why he's fuddled and befuddled. ... But he's gone. He's gone at the moment."
LOPEZ HONOR: Nancy Lopez will receive the Byron Nelson Prize next week at the HP Byron Nelson Championship outside Dallas. The award recognizes people in golf who show the same philanthropic spirit for which Nelson was known.
Lopez sparked popularity in the LPGA Tour as a rookie in the late 1970s. She won 48 LPGA Tour events, including three major championships, and was a four-time player of the year. She was twice voted Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year.
The Salesmanship Club of Dallas makes a $100,000 donation to the charity picked by the winner of the Byron Nelson Prize. Lopez has chosen AIM for the Handicapped.
OVERDUE TRIP: Phil Mickelson was getting serious with his girlfriend, Amy, when he went to Paris to play a golf tournament and wanted her to go with him. So he asked her parents, Gary and Renee McBride, and "explained to them how this was somehow a good idea."
"Gary, in his great parenting, put it on us and said, `Listen, you're going to have plenty of time to go to Paris together. Amy, it's your decision. But you're not going,'" Mickelson said during his induction speech for the World Golf Hall of Fame, as the room laughed. "I do want to say to him that we still have not been to Paris together."
That's about to change. Mickelson said they would go to Paris in a few weeks for his wife's 40th birthday.
DIVOTS: Rory McIlroy is to throw out the first pitch at a San Francisco Giants game June 12, two days before the start of the U.S. Open at The Olympic Club in San Francisco. ... Matt Kuchar at No. 14 is the highest-ranked American in the Ryder Cup standings who either has not won a major or has not won this year. ... The Irish Open got another boost Tuesday when PGA Champion Keegan Bradley announced he was playing. The field will feature three of the last four major champions -- Bradley, McIlroy and Darren Clarke. ... The Players Championship is missing four of the top 50 in the world ranking -- Charl Schwartzel, Dustin Johnson, Anders Hansen and Paul Lawrie. ... McIlroy has decided to put a 2-iron in the bag for The Players Championship, taking out his 5-wood. He has never been a fan of hybrids.
STAT OF THE WEEK: There were 83 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame at the induction ceremony in Canton, Ohio, last August. There were 14 members of the World Golf Hall of Fame at the induction Monday night in St. Augustine, Fla.
FINAL WORD: "His problem isn't his swing. It's just playing golf. And that's everyone's problem." -- Hunter Mahan on Tiger Woods.