Zach Johnson Is Back and Feeling Good
Zach Johnson was tired and it showed. But part of most professional golfers' lives is making promotional appearances and Johnson was living up to his commitment with the giant accounting firm of RSM McGladrey.
The PGA McGladrey Team Championship concludes today at Pinehurst Resort where 41 teams are competing in the second annual event. Johnson and fellow PGA Tour professional Chris DiMarco were on hand Monday morning to conduct a clinic for the participants.
Johnson, who hit the big time with his win in the 2007 Masters Tournament, was feeling pretty good about himself despite the flight from Las Vegas after playing in the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.
Opening with rounds of 62-65 and taking home a check for $94,000 can make almost anyone feel pretty good.
Ironically, Johnson and his traveling companion DiMarco tied for 10th in the event.
"The key word in this event is 'team'," Johnson said of his willingness to be in Pinehurst, "and I'm part of that team.
"I've enjoyed my role with McGladrey. They came to our door and knocked and it's been an easy fit. I'll just go out there and encourage the teams to have fun, compete, and embrace this opportunity.
"Playing this awesome sport on one of America's most storied venues is special. We should all just be happy to be here.
"I'll tell them that they're going to hit some bad shots, but it's all about the team. And each team has a professional with them so that will help a lot."
Johnson, who is 32, was born in Iowa City. He grew up in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and played baseball, basketball, football and soccer. He began playing golf at the age of 10 and led his high school to the 3-A state championship in 1992 when he was a sophomore.
Johnson, who is 5-11 and weighs 160, played for Drake University and then turned professional, earning his way to the PGA Tour as the leading money-winner on the Nationwide Tour in 2003.
His first PGA victory came in the 2004 Bell-South Classic in Atlanta and he qualified for the 2006 Ryder Cup Team.
Johnson stunned the golf world in 2007 when he outgunned Tiger Woods, Retief Goosen and Rory Sabbatini by two strokes to win the Masters with a 1-over-par 289 total. The win was his fourth career title and moved him to 15th in the world rankings.
A win in the Texas Open two weeks ago ended a frustrating slump for Johnson and he feels he's ready to contend regularly now.
"I had let some things creep into my game and we had to work them out," he said. "I had to make a fundamental adjustment in set-up, both with my iron shots and the putter. I had to get my hands more forward and keep the putter shaft more vertical. That kind of stuff can creep into your game without your being aware of it. I knew what to do to correct it, but I didn't anticipate it working this quickly."
The golf season is winding down and Johnson plans to play perhaps only one more event before taking a much-needed break with his family.
"I'm going to play at least one more," he said. "You don't want to stop while you've got it going."
Johnson is just hoping he can keep it going until the first of the year when the PGA Tour kicks off another season.
"There are some aspects of my game that are better now than when I won the Masters," he said. "But it's hard to say that I'm really playing better. There is so much that you have to do in preparing for Augusta National.
"The biggest difference for me since winning the Masters is knowing that I can compete at the highest level and come through. I know that I have the right people around for the right reasons and it's a team effort with people I can trust."
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