SOUTHPORT, England — Dustin Johnson was growing mildly impatient on the putting green at Royal Birkdale as he kept checking on the arrival of U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka for their practice round Sunday at the British Open.

What really makes him impatient is waiting on his game to return to the form that took him to No. 1 in the world.

He feels good in practice rounds, but knows it won’t matter until he’s on the first tee Thursday morning for his first competition in 34 days, dating to a missed cut at the U.S. Open.

“Since I got hurt at Augusta, my game hasn’t been nearly as good as it was,” Johnson said, referring to his spill down the stairs in his rental home that forced him out of the Masters. “Not only that, I couldn’t practice for almost four weeks. Taking four weeks off (from tournaments) isn’t bad if you can practice. I couldn’t practice. I couldn’t swing a club. It’s taken me a long time to get everything back to feeling where it was. I’m trying to get back to that point. It’s definitely a lot harder.”

Johnson won big at the Genesis Open to get to No. 1 in the world. He completed a sweep of the World Golf Championships in Mexico City. Then he breezed through his seven matches at the Match Play Championship, never trailing in any of them.

Johnson has split time between California and Florida in the last month to spend time with his newborn son, River, and he’s played enough to feel good about his game going into the British Open.

He also likes what he has seen of Royal Birkdale, as fine a links as there is in England.

Johnson arrived on a commercial flight Saturday morning without having slept much on the plane and got in 18 holes in windy conditions, and headed out for 18 more on Sunday.

He doesn’t expect to hit driver on more than about four holes, not because he can’t take on the bunkers, but because of the trouble behind them.

“There’s nowhere to go,” he said. “I can carry these bunkers, but on a couple of holes, there’s a cross bunker, and if I fly the bunkers it will go into the cross bunker. So I’m laying up short of them.

“It’s definitely a second-shot golf course, which all links courses kind of are. You try not to get it in a bunker off the tee because all of the bunkers, you’re just chipping out. It’s like a water hazard.”