Notebook: Johnson plans to return at Memorial after three months on shelf

Dustin Johnson
Getty Images
Dustin Johnson had planned to play at the HP Byron Nelson Championship this week, but has decided to wait two more weeks.
By
Doug Ferguson
Associated Press

Series: PGA Tour

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- DUSTIN RETURNS: Dustin Johnson will have missed nearly three months when he returns at the Memorial.

Johnson aggravated a back injury while lifting a jet ski from the water the weekend before the Masters, and he has not played since then. He has slipped to No. 67 in the FedExCup standings, and No. 21 in the Ryder Cup standings.

''Obviously, I can't wait to get back out and compete,'' Johnson said in a statement from his management company. ''I came into this year with some big goals, including making our Ryder Cup team, so I've got some serious ground to make up this summer.''

Johnson had planned to play at the HP Byron Nelson Championship, but decided to wait two more weeks. He did not say how much he plans to play in the summer, but indicated that another two weeks off wasn't going to hurt him.

''It will be great to get back out there, and I can assure you I'll be plenty motivated,'' he said.

WHAT'S IN A NAME: Sunghoon Kang, who made an 8-foot birdie putt on the last hole of the last tournament to keep his PGA Tour card last year, quietly altered his name the last two weeks without much notice.

He now is Sung Kang.

What happened to the last part of his first name?

''It's hard for you guys to say it,'' he told a group of reporters at Sawgrass. ''You guys didn't even try to say it right, so I changed it for you guys.''

He could have used initials like K.J. Choi or S.Y. Noh, or even K.T. Kim. Kang, however, thought that might be a problem.

''Then you guys would say, 'Shhhhh,''' he said with a laugh.

Despite not going to college, Kang has become proficient in English. He said he used to come to the United States as a teenager to train for a few weeks in the winter and summer. Most of his time was spent in Dallas with the Hank Haney group.

Asked if he ever bought cowboy boots, Kang must have misunderstood.

''No,'' he said. ''I'm a Lakers fan.''

IMG CHANGES: About the only disruption for Luke Donald this year is off the course.

His agent, Jon Wagner, was among three employees who left IMG two weeks ago. Golfweek magazine reports this week that two of his clients, Trevor Immelman and Sean O'Hair, also have left IMG. Donald remains with IMG, as his contract does not expire until the end of 2013. His business affairs will be managed by Jon Heaton, whose clients include Steve Stricker.

Meanwhile, Golfweek reported that IMG Worldwide was granted a temporary restraining order to keep Wagner from recruiting IMG employees, clients or prospects. A hearing is scheduled this week to decide if it should be permanent.

A year ago, Mark Steinberg left IMG as head of the golf division when he could not reach agreement on a new contract. He took Tiger Woods with him to Excel Sports Management, though Stricker and Annika Sorenstam stayed put.

The magazine cited sources in reporting that IMG's staff of player reps has dwindled from 40 employees to 13 in the last 12 years.

CVS CHARITY CLASSIC: Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa return to competition next month for the CVS Caremark Charity Classic, the two-day event hosted by Brad Faxon and Billy Andrade that has raised more than $15 million for New England charities.

The two retired stars will have some LPGA company June 17-19 at Rhode Island Country Club. They will be joined by Yani Tseng, the five-time major champion and No. 1 in women's golf, and Lexi Thompson. Organizers say Juli Inkster, out all year recovering from elbow surgery, also plans to play.

Among the male players are Mark Calcavecchia, Corey Pavin and Peter Jacobsen.

DIVOTS: Paul Lawrie is making his 500th career start on the European Tour when he plays in the Volvo World Match Play Championship this week in Spain. He is the 22nd member to join the ''500 Club,'' and for his efforts, he received an engraved ice bucket from the tour. The record for most starts is Sam Torrance at 706. ... Angel Cabrera had a good week -- the son of the two-time major champion, anyway. Angel Cabrera Jr. was among 67 players who earned cards on the Canadian Tour at qualifying school. ... Now that he is in the World Golf Hall of Fame, Sandy Lyle can play in full-field tournaments on the Champions Tour. He previously had limited status. ... Pierre Bechmann of France will be captain of The Royal & Ancient Golf Club starting in September. He is the first captain from continental Europe.

STAT OF THE WEEK: Ben Curtis has earned $2,096,730 in his last four tournaments. That's more than the $2,035,126 he made from 2009-2011 combined.

TWEET OF THE WEEK: ''Between Na's routine, Barkley's swing and my speech. We would make one hell of a threesome.'' -- Sophie Gustafson, LPGA Tour player with a severe stutter.

FINAL WORD: ''If there had never been a Tiger Woods, there's no telling how many tournaments Phil Mickelson or Ernie Els would have won. But there is a Tiger Woods.'' -- Butch Harmon, who has worked with all three of them.