Masters Win Still a Thrill for Johnson

By Associated PressApril 8, 2008, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Everyone in the Johnson family was out of sorts.
Zach Johnson had a headache. His wife wasnt feeling well. Their little boy was fussy, and he was wearing as many strawberries as he was eating.
Then they pulled into Augusta National, and the mood instantly brightened.
It was like the clouds parted and here comes the sunshine, Johnson said Tuesday. Felt pretty good. Just the old vibes, the old memories, the feelings. Its just great to have.
Being the Masters champion feels just as good now as it did when he was putting on that green jacket for the first time a year ago.
And yes, its all still a little surreal.
Johnsons victory last year was, suffice it to say, one of the more unlikely at the Masters. Sure, he had won on the PGA TOUR before, and he was good enough to be on the Ryder Cup team in 2006. But he wasnt one of those up-and-coming phenoms whose game demands attention. Hes not the best putter on TOUR, doesnt have the most impressive short game and hes certainly not the longest hitter around.
He didnt go for a single par-5 last year. In any round. That kind of low-risk, low-reward strategy will usually get you invited back to this tournament, but not as its defending champion.
Throw in the fact Tiger Woods was making a charge Sunday afternoon, and Zach Johnson, Masters champion took more than a few people by surprise.
I always felt I could win a major, but not this one last year because in the practice rounds it was playing so long, Johnson said. But then the wind picked up, and things changed.
Now its his entire life thats changed.
Winning a major validates a players career. No matter what else he does, hell always have that one title that matters more than the others.
Winning the Masters goes even beyond that. Its widely considered the most special of the majors, played every year at a most special course. Even folks who dont follow golf know all about Augusta National and green jackets and Magnolia Lane.
Johnson found himself joking with David Letterman in the days after his win. When he went back to Iowa, he got a reception fit for a king'The King, at least. Everywhere he goes now, hes introduced as Zach Johnson, Masters champion.
It hits you about two weeks to a month after, and after that it hits you periodically, Johnson said. Every now and then, you wake up and you go into your closet and, `Oh yeah, I forgot about that one.
Not that he could forget this week. As the defending champion, his name and face are everywhere. Hes got his very own spot in the champions locker room' with a permanent brass nameplate'just like Woods, Phil Mickelson, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. Hes got a prime tee time Thursday, two groups after Fred Couples and two in front of Woods.
And then theres the Champions Dinner on Tuesday night.
Tonight is going to be a complete honor, and Im just going to be a sponge, Johnson said. Im going to be a fly on the wall just soaking it in, listening in, listening to some stories because thats what I hear its all about. And eat some good food, I hope.
Being from Iowa, steak is on the menu. Shrimp, too, in a nod to his wifes hometown of Amelia Island, Fla.
And, of course, corn.
I think weve got a corn casserole, if Im not mistaken, he said. Or corn pudding.
All the trappings aside, Johnson knows he cant spend the entire week reliving last years tournament. This is still a work trip, after all.
I dont want to dwell on last year, but theres a lot of positives that I can take away from it and certainly implement, Johnson said. I can win here. Thats a good thing.
Despite his green jacket, Johnson still hasnt achieved heavyweight status. Even the label on the bin for transcripts from his news conference Tuesday had Zack Johnson.
Its not that hes a one-hit wonder. Far from it. A month after his win at Augusta, he proved it was no fluke with a victory at the AT&T Classic. He tied for second at the Tour Championship, shooting a 60 in the third round. Hes made the cut in all eight events hes played this year, with his best finish a tie for ninth at the CA Championship.
But his game is still as low-key and unassuming as Johnson himself.
I feel like I can win more majors, theres no question, he said. Im not going to go into any major saying, `I need to win, or `I should win. Im going to go into majors looking for opportunities, thats all it is. I want to be in contention. I want to have opportunities to get in contention.
And if other people still need some convincing, thats their problem.
I won a major in Tigers era, Johnson said. They can say what they want.
Related Links:
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    Randall's Rant: Tiger vs. Phil feels like a ripoff

    By Randall MellOctober 15, 2018, 7:45 pm

    Usually, you have to buy something before you feel like you were ripped off.

    The wonder in the marketing of Tiger vs. Phil and “The Match” is how it is making so many people feel as if they are getting ripped off before they’ve shelled out a single penny for the product.

    Phil Mickelson gets credit for this miscue.

    Apparently, the smartest guy in the room isn’t the smartest marketing guy.

    He was a little bit like that telemarketer who teases you into thinking you’ve won a free weekend getaway, only to lead you into the discovery that there’s a shady catch, with fine print and a price tag.

    There was something as slippery as snake oil in the original pitch.

    In Mickelson’s eagerness to create some excitement, he hinted back during The Players in May about the possibility of a big-money, head-to-head match with Woods. A couple months later, he leaked more details, before it was ready to be fully announced.

    So while there was an initial buzz over news of the Thanksgiving weekend matchup, the original pitch set up a real buzzkill when it was later announced that you were only going to get to see it live on pay-per-view.

    The news landed with a thud but no price tag. We’re still waiting to see what it’s going to cost when these two meet at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, but anything that feels even slightly inflated now is going to further dampen the original enthusiasm Mickelson created.

    Without Woods or Mickelson putting up their own money, this $9 million winner-take-all event was always going to feel more like a money grab than real competition.

    When we were expecting to see it on network or cable TV, we didn’t care so much. Tiger and Phil’s hands would have felt as if they were reaching into corporate America’s pockets. Now, it feels as if they’re digging into ours.

    Last week, there was more disappointing news, with the Las Vegas Review-Journal reporting that tickets won’t be sold to the public, that the match at Shadow Creek will only be open to select sponsors and VIPs.

    Now there’s a larger insult to the common fan, who can’t help but feel he isn’t worthy or important enough to gain admittance.

    Sorry, but that’s how news of a closed gate landed on the heels of the pay-per-view news.

    “The Match” was never going to be meaningful golf in any historical sense.

    This matchup was never going to rekindle the magic Tiger vs. Phil brought in their epic Duel at Doral in ’05.

    The $9 million was never going to buy the legitimacy a major championship or PGA Tour Sunday clash could bring.

    It was never going to be more than an exhibition, with no lingering historical significance, but that was OK as quasi silly-season fare on TV on Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 23), the traditional weekend of the old Skins Game.

    “The Match” still has a chance to be meaningful, but first and foremost as entertainment, not real competition. That’s what this was always going to be about, but now the bar is raised.

    Pay per view does that.

    “You get what you pay for” is an adage that doesn’t apply to free (or already-paid for) TV. It does to pay per view. Expectations go way up when you aren’t just channel surfing to a telecast. So the higher the price tag they end up putting on this showdown, the more entertaining this has to be.

    If Phil brings his “A-Game” to his trash talking, and if Tiger can bring some clever repartee, this can still be fun. If the prerecorded segments wedged between shots are insightful, even meaningful in their ability to make us understand these players in ways we didn’t before, this will be worthwhile.

    Ultimately, “The Match” is a success if it leaves folks who paid to see it feeling as if they weren’t as ripped off as the people who refused to pay for it. That’s the handicap a history of free golf on TV brings. Welcome to pay-per-view, Tiger and Phil.

    Celia Barquin Arozamena Iowa State University athletics

    Trail date set for drifter charged with killing Barquin Arozamena

    By Associated PressOctober 15, 2018, 7:28 pm

    AMES, Iowa – A judge has scheduled a January trial for a 22-year-old Iowa drifter charged with killing a top amateur golfer from Spain.

    District Judge Bethany Currie ruled Monday that Collin Richards will stand trial Jan. 15 for first-degree murder in the death of Iowa State University student Celia Barquin Arozamena.

    Richards entered a written not guilty plea Monday morning and waived his right to a speedy trial. The filing canceled an in-person arraignment hearing that had been scheduled for later Monday.

    Investigators say Richards attacked Barquin on Sept. 17 while she was playing a round at a public course in Ames, near the university campus. Her body was found in a pond on the course riddled with stab wounds.

    Richards faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.

    LeBron's son tries golf, and he might be good at everything

    By Grill Room TeamOctober 15, 2018, 5:36 pm

    LeBron James' son seems well on his way to a successful basketball career of his own. To wit:

    View this post on Instagram

    Finally got it down lol

    A post shared by Bronny James (@bronnyjames.jr) on

    But with just a little work, he could pass on trying to surpass his father and try to take on Tiger and Jack, instead.

    Bronny posted this video to Instagram of him in sandals whacking balls off a mat atop a deck into a large body of water, which is the golfer's definition of living your best life.

    View this post on Instagram

    How far, maybe 400 #happygilmore

    A post shared by Bronny James (@bronnyjames.jr) on

    If you listen closely, at the end of the clip, you can just barely hear someone scream out for a marine biologist.

    Getty Images

    Sponsored: Callaway's 'Golf Lives: Home Course'

    By Grill Room TeamOctober 15, 2018, 4:20 pm

    In this original series, Callaway sets out to profile unique golf locations around the country based on their stories, communities and the characters that surround them. The golf cultures across the series are remarkably diverse, yet in all cases it's the course itself that unifies and ignites the passions of those who play.

    “Golf Lives: Home Course” focuses on three distinct home courses across the country – one in D.C., one in Nebraska and one in Portland, Ore. All have very different golf cultures, but are connected by a deep love of the game.

    Click here for a look at all three episodes in the series, as well as past Golf Lives films (check out the trailer below).

    And here’s a breakdown of the three courses in focus: 

    FILM 1

    Langston Golf Course (Washington, D.C.)

    Opened in June 1939, Langston is steeped in a rich history. Known for its triumphant role in the desegregation of public golf, the course has been integral to the growth of the game’s popularity among African Americans. With its celebratory feel, Langston shows us golf is not unifies individuals, but generations. 

    FILM 2

    Edgefield Golf Course (Portland, Ore.)

    The air is fresh, the beers are cold and the vibes are electric at Edgefield. You'd be hard pressed to find a more laid back, approachable and enjoyable environment for a round. Overlooking stunning panoramic views of northeast Portland, two par-3 pub courses (12 holes and 20 holes) wind through vineyards, thickets of blackberry bushes and a vintage distillery bar. All are welcome at Edgefield, especially those who have never swung a club. 

    FILM 3

    Wild Horse Golf Club (Gothenburg, Neb.)

    In 1997, the locals and farmers living in the tight-knit town of Gothenburg decided to build a golf course. A bank loan, a couple of tractors, and a whole lotta sweat-equity later, their prairieland masterpiece is now considered one of the best in the country. Wild Horse is the soul of the community, providing unforgettable memories for all who play it.