Johnson states case as America’s best young player

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For one thing, it put him atop the FedEx Cup standings and gave him a nose in front as players chase the $10 million prize. It also removed any doubt _ if there was any _ that he is top American.

Johnson moved up to a career-best No. 4 in the world ranking. His last two wins have come against some of the strongest fields, both of them FedEx Cup playoff events. And while he has yet to win a major, he has played in the final group in every major but the Masters over the last two years.

That’s why he spoke with such confidence at the start of the year.

He was asked at the season-opener in Kapalua about the prospects of Woods, and whether it was important to golf for Woods to start winning again. And if that were the case, would it mean fewer chances for others to win? Johnson said he would to see Woods return to form, but that’s where his interest ended.

“Doesn’t matter to me,” he said. “I’m still going to win.”

He did, although it took him longer than he imagined. The key for Johnson was spending extra time on his putting, at home in south Florida and early in the week at Plainfield.

“Not necessarily making putts, but just getting it started on line,” Johnson said. “Because I read the greens very well. So to me, you can’t control if the ball goes in, but you can control where you start it. I’ve just been working on starting it where I’m looking.”

Harmon started working with Johnson a year ago at The Players Championship, and while Johnson loves life away from the golf course, Harmon said he puts in the time and is not afraid to test something new in competition.

That led to another comparison with Woods.

“One thing I like about this kid, which is a lot like Tiger, is that when we work on something, he takes it right out and puts it in play,” Harmon said. “I tell him that it was to work in the heat of battle, not just on the range. Good or bad, he’s going to try it.”

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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