Johnson takes pride in beating 'best player ever'


THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Zach Johnson calls Tiger Woods “the best player that’s ever played.”

On Sunday, he beat that “best player” in come-from-behind fashion, making up a deficit of four strokes with eight holes to play and winning in a playoff.

All of which led to one question afterward: Did he feel a greater sense of pride beating Woods in such fashion than if he had beaten anyone else?

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“Yeah, absolutely,” he said. “I went head-to-head against the best. … There's a reason why young guys, he's their idol. He's their Jack Nicklaus. He's the guy that's paved the way. He's the one that keeps pushing the ceiling higher and higher, and he's the one that keeps raising the bar. If he stays healthy – hopefully he does – there's no telling what he can do.

“The guy never ceases to amaze me. What we witnessed early 2000 through – what? - 2007 or something like that was ridiculous. And who's to say he can't do it again.

“So yeah, I'll take pride in the fact that I played against the best, and I got one. It means he's gotten a lot more than I have, so hopefully I'm in that position again, and I think I'll learn from today.”