Zach Johnson appreciates short, challenging Colonial

By Rex HoggardMay 24, 2012, 10:07 pm

FORT WORTH, Texas – For all the right reasons the likes of Zach Johnson and Chris DiMarco have been typecast when it comes to cozy Colonial Country Club.

Like some ’80s sitcom star, they are comfort characters filling predictable parts. The tactician, the plodder, the fairways-and-greens specialist who prefer angles and positioning over pure power, the art and joy of shot making over the smash-and-grab ways of the modern game.

So as players set out into a two-club zephyr with a tumbleweed chaser the early leaderboard had a Groundhog Day feel to it with Johnson emerging as the clubhouse boss with a 6-under 64 and DiMarco in a large group two shots back.

Johnson hasn’t finished outside the top 10 at Colonial since 2006; he won here in 2010 and figured he actually played better last year, when he finished fourth and lost to eventual champion David Toms, perhaps the elder statesman of the species.

It’s not surprising then that when Johnson talks of Colonial it is in tones normally reserved for an accommodating friend.

“The holes that slope and go right to left like (No.) 3, the wind is in off the right. That's fantastic. There is a trap out there. I just got to peel it off or turn it off the trap and hit it,” gushed Johnson, who scorched Colonial without birdieing either of the layout’s two par 5s. “(No.) 2 is kind of down off the left and it's a left-to-right par 4. So you can fade it and just ride the wind. (No.) 5 today was nice. When that wind is left to right on 5, I just hit it down the left side and let it fall right . . .”

You get the idea, Colonial fits Johnson like an old plaid jacket.

In fact, some would say it’s a friend with far too few contemporaries and far too few cameos on Tour. For all the love showered on the likes of Colonial, Riviera and Harbour Town it’s a relatively exclusive genre among the play-for-pay set which survives most weeks on a steady diet of oversized ballparks with sprawling fairways.

“This is great because there’s not too many courses we play anymore that are under 7,000 yards and when you get here there’s not a huge advantage for the long hitters,” said DiMarco, who opened with a 4-under card. “I would love to see this every week.”

Even when Colonial officials embarked on a concerning nip/tuck in 2008 players braced the way one would if the Louvre were to suggest it was time for the Mona Lisa to be fitted with a mustache.

Officials stretched the Texas gem from 7,054 yards, which it had played since 2000, to 7,204 yards, and although some have suggested the changes ran off Phil Mickelson, who hasn’t played the event since 2010, what emerged from that makeover was a surprisingly subdued change, at least by architectural standards.

For Johnson and those of his ilk it is another testament to the agelessness of a course that has been hosting a Tour event since 1946.

“They haven't been built in the last 10 years,” said Johnson when asked what makes the rare shotmaker’s trifecta so special. “They facelifted Colonial three or four years ago. They didn't do much and they didn't need to and it's fantastic. Riviera, subtle changes, tremendous. Hilton Head, minimal changes, still awesome. They are ball-strikers’ golf courses. They are quality golf courses that don't need a whole lot.”

And Johnson’s praise is far from hollow hyperbole.

In 2011 Colonial ranked as the 22nd-toughest course on Tour, a spot behind Hilton Head and 12 spots adrift of No. 10 Riviera. Perhaps even more telling was a Golf Digest Tour player poll last year that featured all three courses ranked inside the top five – Harbour Town No. 2, Riviera No. 3 and Colonial fifth.

Even in Texas, where everything is bigger, short is not synonymous with substandard. 

“You got to hit it both directions, and I really think this golf course does separate the field; meaning if you are hitting it well and, obviously putting it well, you do rise somewhat to the top and vice versa. It will mangle you and tear you apart if you are a little bit off,” Johnson said. “I just think if it's fun golf, that's the way golf should be and it separates the field the way it should.  . . . I just love it.”

When it comes to Johnson and his kind the affection is mutual. Always is.

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Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'


President at the Presidents Cup


Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump


Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73


Cart on the green


Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green


Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open


Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National


Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


Trump golf properties

Vandalism

Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses

Finances


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers


Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up


Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.