2013 Presidents Cup: Despite illness, Zach Johnson still USA's most reliable

Andy Lyons

It's not been an ideal start to the week for Zach Johnson, but after a late arrival, he should be set to go with Jason Dufner on Thursday afternoon.

In what could be characterized as "too much information," Matt Kuchar, when asked what made his Sea Island neighbor and USA teammate a day late, said Zach Johnson was having a bout of "explosive diarrhea." Those were apparently Johnson's own words, but regardless of the particulars, one of America's most consistent players is not feeling his best during Presidents Cup week.

Johnson did get in to Columbus on Tuesday but missed Monday night meetings, team pictures and the practice round. Fellow Georgian and assistant captain Davis Love III took Johnson's place in the practice round foursome with Jason Dufner, Tiger Woods and Kuchar. By Tuesday afternoon, however, Johnson was on the grounds and on the range getting in some light work. The early week concerns seem a bit allayed, and it's obviously a story that got a lot of attention with hours of preview coverage scheduled and not a ton of news items to talk about.

The first session does not begin until Thursday afternoon and it's expected that Johnson will be ready to go (hopefully, none of his teammates are hit with the same bug.) Johnson should play alongside last year's Ryder Cup partner, Jason Dufner, for many of the two-man sessions. Dufner and Johnson are two of the best ball strikers in the world, and they my be USA's most formidable pair this week. When their putters are rolling even average, the duo is almost unbeatable based on everything we've seen over the past two years.

Johnson locked up the final automatic qualifying spot by draining a 25-foot birdie putt on the last hole of the Deutsche Bank Championship. It was the one stroke difference between he and Webb Simpson, and he may not have been a captain's pick had he not drained that hail mary. The next week, however, he solidified his status as one of the best American golfers in the world with a two-shot win at the BMW. Johnson had eight top tens this year and would have had two wins if not for a miraculous Jordan Spieth chip-in at the John Deere. It's never real flashy, but he's become one of America's most reliable golfers and one of the best options in these events. This week should be no different, even if his practice days are spent sick in bed.

World Ranking: 11

Qualified: Automatic spot No. 10 of 10

Presidents Cup Match Play Record: 4-5-0 (2007, 2009)

More from SB Nation Golf:

Complete Presidents Cup coverage

Adam Scott: International side needs win to keep Cup a real competition

Tiger Woods wins PGA Tour Player of the Year

Jordan Spieth: Rookie year "a dream come true"

PGA Tour, Tiger want to reassess viewer call-in penalties

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