Deutsche Bank Championship Player in Focus: Zach Johnson Ready to Roll
After a brief hiatus, Zach Johnson is back in action on the PGA Tour. He skipped the first event of the FedEx Cup Playoffs – but had a decent reason for doing so. Johnson was slated to be the best man in his brothers’ wedding last week. As I discussed before, if you are the brother of a professional athlete – and you want him to stand beside you at the altar – it might behoove you to plan around some of the biggest events in their sport.
His father was under the impression that the best man was going to have to skip the wedding in order to take part in The Barclays. Johnson was having none of that. “I’m like, Dad, it’s my brother. I’m the best man. What? We all got over it very quick. … I’m glad the scenario didn’t surface, it would have been rough if I was 120 or 125 in the FedEx, that sort of thing, but still, even then, it’s one golf tournament.” That perspective is something that many professional athletes are sorely lacking.
Fortunately for Johnson he entered last week 18th in the FedEx Cup standings, so he was in no danger of being eliminated. He did, however, fall seven spots to 25th because he was not in attendance. Not to worry, though, because it’s all but assured he’s going to be one of the top 70 that advance to the BMW Championship regardless of his performance this week.
Coming into the second playoff with no pressure and an extra week of rest definitely has its benefits – and Johnson is ready to roll. “It’s good to get back out here and play, especially when you feel like you’re playing pretty good,” he said. “My last five starts have been solid, but also frustrating, in the sense that I feel like I’m playing well enough to certainly win, or have the opportunity to win coming down the stretch, and I really only had that once, maybe twice. But all in all very solid, very consistent, very much seeing the hard work I’ve put in as of late pay off.”
Ever the consummate professional, I’m expecting nothing short of an impressive performance from Johnson. He’s 11th in driving accuracy, 37th in greens in regulation, 36th in scoring and 49th in strokes gained – putting. Those are just about the numbers that you would expect to see from him. He hasn’t finished worse than tied for eighth in his last five starts. While he may not finish quite that high this week, a top 25 certainly isn’t out of the question.
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