Mr. Consistent: Zach Johnson Starts 2014 With A Win At Kapalua
One thing is for sure: consistency is the name of the game for Zach Johnson. Even when paired up with long driving, risk-taking Dustin Johnson on the final day of the first big PGA tournament of 2014, Zach played a smooth, consistent, safe form of golf, ultimately leading him to another exciting win; this time at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at Kapalua in Hawaii.
Coming off the heals of a great win at the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge at Sherwood Country Club over Tiger Woods, Johnson continued to emerge Monday from the shadows of others to prove why he belongs amongst the list of the biggest golfers on Tour. After a disappointing 74 on Sunday, Johnson returned on the final day to shoot a 7-under 66 to win his second tournament in a row.
All day there were roughly five players with a shot at the trophy including Jason Dufner and Jordan Spieth. With a solid short game, Johnson slowly chipped away at the lead, taking it over outright on the back-nine Monday. Like a surgeon, Johnson meticulously clawed his way back up to the top of the leaderboard and never looked back.
“Getting the ball in the fairway and giving my wedges a chance was crucial,” Johnson stated. “It’s about plotting my way, putting myself in a yardage spot that I know is going to give me an opportunity.”
Erasing a one shot deficit going into the final nine holes proved no problem for the steady style of Johnson. While others busted out drivers, Johnson utilized his three wood and smaller clubs with the safe and easy approach. With the help of a few blunders late from Spieth and a solid performance of his own, Johnson was able to secure his 11th career PGA Tour win.
Plain and simple, just like his winning style, Johnson summed up his Monday comeback in very few words: "I just picked it apart,” he said.
Some final statistics on Johnson’s win make a pretty good case as to why he should be considered amongst the top players in the game today. The Iowa native has won three of his last six PGA tournaments including the BMW Championship and Northwestern Mutual World Challenge last year and now the Tournament of Champions. And finally, since 2004 when Johnson began his PGA career, only Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh have more wins on the PGA Tour.
While there is no doubt he is worthy of the accolades, the always humble and realistic Johnson emerged, despite his elation with the victory Monday:
“I’ve put myself in a place that is a little foreign to me,” he said. “Some of the numbers, I’m not exactly comfortable with — top 10 in the world, that kind of thing. But I’m also a realist. I know this game at some point could beat me up again. So I’ve got to keep doing what I’m doing, try to keep things very simple.”
Well, simply, Johnson’s game cannot be denied and he’s off to a great start in 2014.