ERIN, Wis. — Dustin Johnson wrapped up his final day of practice for the U.S. Open just as the sky began to rumble and the horn sounded to stop play.

The timing couldn’t have been better for the world’s No. 1 player, as it has been the past two weeks.

As much as he hates missing cuts, the Memorial two weeks ago was a good time for Johnson to have a weekend off. It allowed him to spend two days in Wisconsin getting to know the longest course in U.S. Open history, realizing he would arrive late because of important family matters.

River Jones Johnson, his second son, was born Monday.

Johnson will find out Thursday whether his game is in shape as he seeks to become the first back-to-back U.S. Open champion in 28 years, but his mood couldn’t be better. About the only thing to fear, outside of the thick fescue that frames the fairways, is the house where he’s staying.

It has a double-spiral staircase.

“I sit down when I go down the stairs now,” Johnson said with a smile. “I slide down on my butt.”

Stairs were the only thing that could stop him earlier this year. A winner of three straight tournaments – against the strongest fields of the year – Johnson slipped in his socks going downstairs to move his car in the rain on the eve of the Masters, bruising his back so badly that he had to withdraw the next day.

He hasn’t won in four starts since then, and his game hasn’t looked as sharp as it once did. He concedes he lost momentum.

Even so, he’s the betting favorite on a course that would appear to suit his game perfectly, especially with more rain Wednesday, and a forecast for occasional storms Friday and Saturday. The greens are soft enough that Johnson is getting yardages to the hole, knowing his shots won’t bounce away too far.

“I hope they play it all the way back on every hole,” he said. “Why not? It’s going to be soft. I hope it’s windy. I hope it’s long but it doesn’t matter.”

Johnson isn’t one to feel much pressure – he doesn’t show much, anyway – even playing his first major as the No. 1 player in the world.

Johnson isn’t the only long hitter whom the course favors. Rory McIlroy, who crushed U.S. Open scoring records on a rain-softened course in 2011, was delighted to feel the soft turf under his feet.

Jason Day is starting to turn his game around. Day is an expert with the short game, which should come in handy around the greens that feature shaved slopes instead of dense rough.

But Johnson is such an intimidating figure that even Curtis Strange is a little nervous.

Strange, who now works for Fox Sports as the on-course analyst, won the 1989 U.S. Open at Oak Hill to become the first player since Ben Hogan (1950-51) to win the U.S. Open in consecutive years. “Move over, Ben,” Strange famously said after his second title.

“I’ve got to tell you, it’s tailor-made for Dustin Johnson,” Strange said after his first look at the course.

The Masters (three times) and the PGA Championship in stroke play (twice, by Tiger Woods) have fewer back-to-back winners than the U.S. Open, but it’s the major that has gone the longest without a repeat winner.

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