LAKE FOREST, Ill. – One of the few players with prior experience at Conway Farms, Zach Johnson has a good idea of what to expect from the venue as it hosts the BMW Championship for the first time this week. According to the former Masters champ, fans can expect a shootout.
“Par is not going to be a great score come four days,” Johnson explained Wednesday. “But we’re used to that. Making birdies is part of it.”
Along with Jason Dufner, Rory Sabbatini and Matt Kuchar, Johnson is one of just four players in this week’s 70-man field who played Conway Farms during the 1997 NCAA Championship, when the former Drake standout missed the cut. Sixteen years later, he remains impressed with the Tom Fazio-designed course.
“I remember it being phenomenal then. I hadn’t played many courses of this stature at that point,” said Johnson, who added that he personally favors this week’s venue over Cog Hill, which has traditionally hosted the event in the past. “Typically you see big greens out of (Fazio), but these greens are not very big, quadrant-like, and I think it’s going to be a good test.”
Two weeks removed from earning a spot on next month’s Presidents Cup squad, the 37-year-old reflected back on the closing birdie at the Deutsche Bank Championship that gave him the 10th and final qualifying spot on the American roster over Webb Simpson. Though he was relieved when Simpson was added as one of Fred Couples’ two captain’s picks last week, Johnson admitted that at the time, he was blissfully unaware of the implications of his final putt at TPC Boston.
“I had zero, zero idea,” noted Johnson. “(Caddie) Damon (Green) said, when I made the putt, ‘That might have done it.’ I said, ‘Cool, done what? Top 30? What are we talking about here?’
“I had no indication nor an idea,” he added.