Last week I stood up here with an update on Zach Johnson’s play in the British Open. Little did we know that he would go to become the champion of the most prestigious and oldest golf event in the world, the British Open. And the 144th annual event was held at the birthplace of golf, St. Andrews Old Course in Scotland. It is quite an honor for, as Zach says “a kid from Iowa who has been blessed with some talent.” Here are a few things to note about this special guy from Cedar Rapids.
HE HAS USED THE SAME PUTTER HIS ENTIRE CAREER… Most players change putters frequently, but Zach is the exception, using the same putter since during his early day in the minor tours.
HIS OPEN WIN PUT HIM IN ELITE COMPANY… With his victory at the 2015 Open, Johnson becomes just the sixth person to hoist the claret jug at St. Andrews and win the Masters. The other five: Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Sam Snead, Steve Ballesteros and Nick Faldo. Not the worst of congregations to join.
WHAT JOHNSON LACK IN DISTANCE… With a 280-yard average, one of the shortest players (164th) on tour -- he makes up for in accuracy. Johnson's boasts a 73.4 accuracy percentage , third-best on tour.
JOHNSON WASN'T THE BEST PLAYER ON HIS GOLF TEAM… You would think a two-time major winner would have been the star of his college team at Drake. He wasn't the best player on his team, but he had the perseverance and work ethic to continue to develop into a star player.
JOHNSON'S CADDIE IS QUITE THE PLAYER HIMSELF… Damon Green competed on the lower levels of golf, capturing 75 victories on mini-tours. Green decided to give caddying a try 15 years ago, and has been on the bag for all of Johnson's wins.
HE SPENT YEARS IN THE MINORS and developmental leagues for six seasons and his breakthrough was in 2003, when he won Player of the Year honors on the Nationwide Tour.
HE HAS HIS OWN FOUNDATION… Johnson and his wife started the Zach Johnson Foundation, focused on helping children and families in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Some of the foundation's programs include Birdies That Care (which helps provide college scholarships to those in need), Kids on the Course (helping children realize opportunities in the classroom) and the Zach Johnson Foundation Classic.
HE WON THE MASTERS in similar fashion… Due to rainy weather with strong winds and cold temperature, he won the 2007 Masters with one of the worst winning scores, but two strokes better than Tiger Woods, Retief Goosen and Rory Sabbatini.
JOHNSON ONCE SANG AT WRIGLEY FIELD… That's right, Johnson can sing! Okay, not really, but Johnson was given the honor of performing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" at Wrigley Field.
And that’s a few things to note about our local Cedar Rapids guy, Zach Johnson. This year’s winner of the British Open. Congratulations to Zach, you make us proud. And that is the Bottom of our News on this July 24th , 2015!