Zachs Win More than Self Serving

By Mercer BaggsApril 8, 2007, 4:00 pm
Zach Johnson won the 71st Masters Tournament Sunday. But he didnt do it alone.
Being Easter, my faith is very important to me, he said, fighting to keep his composure in his immediate post-round interview with CBS Sports. Jesus was with me every step of the way.
It was just about one year ago that Aaron Baddeley won the Verizon Heritage, also doing so on Easter Sunday.
Zach Johnson
The sun shone on Zach Johnson Sunday as he won the Masters. (WireImage)
Both Baddeley and Johnson are devout Christians. And one of the first people to greet Johnson after his par save on the 72nd hole, the tap-in that locked up his first major triumph, was his good mate.
Wheres Aaron? Johnson asked in the aftermath. When he saw him, the two grasped hands and Johnson said, Happy Easter. Replied Baddeley: Im proud of you.
When athletes start talking about God and Jesus, many television viewers begin to cringe. They roll their eyes or search frantically for the remote control, trying to quickly change the channel or press the mute button. They act like an offering plate is being extended through the TV screen and into their face.
For some reason, many of us have no problem when an actor wins an Academy Award and then thanks really important people like his or her fashion designer or hairdresser. But we grow ill at ease when someone gives praise to their personal Savior.
'Regardless of what happened today, my responsibility was to glorify God,' Johnson said in his press conference when asked about what this victory meant to him. 'And hopefully He thinks that I did.'
Many feel that when an athlete or entertainer references the Lord that they are doing so in a holier-than-thou manner. That they believe that they have triumphed or succeeded simply because they are Christians and because God loves them more than everyone else.
Certainly, some invoke the name of God because they feel that its the cool thing to do. It makes them feel righteous. But, for the most part, thats not the case.
God loves us all ' those who believe fully in Him and those who dont, and everyone in between ' equally. This is a fundamental Christian belief.
It is my belief, and I would think Johnsons, too, that God really doesnt care who wins and loses a sporting event. I have to believe that hes got plenty of other things to focus on rather than who gets a relatively unattractive green sports coat.
There's an overall plan. This is just a very small part of it.
It's not as if Zach, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit formed a foursome against the rest of the field. There wasn't some favored alliance.
Afterall, there were other Christians playing on Sunday, playing all week. It's not as if Johnson loves God more than any of his Christian brothers.
And it's not as if God loves Zach anymore than you or I.
Johnson didnt win because his faith may be stronger than that of Tiger Woods or Stuart Appleby or Justin Rose or any of the other final-round contenders.
He won because he played better than everyone else. He won because he executed better than everyone else down the stretch. God didnt make three birdies on the back nine; He didnt hit any drives in the fairway or approach shots onto the green; He didnt make any putts; and He didnt roll that final chip shot within inches of the hole.
Zach Johnson did those things. He just did them with God in his heart.
If God helped Johnson, He did so by providing peace and calm amid the chaos around him. And thats a credit to Johnsons faith.
'Zach's usually jumpy and nervous,' said his caddie, Damon Green. 'Today, for some reason, he was as cool as a cucumber.'
At Sunday Easter service, my pastor said that its easy to be a Christian on Sunday, its easy to be a Christian on Easter and Christmas. But its not so easy being a Christian every day of every week. Not enough of us are strong enough in our faith to bear witness to those uncomfortable in hearing such things, particularly when we having something (endorsements, fans perhaps) to lose.
At the green jacket ceremony, after 2006 winner Phil Mickelson had slipped the coveted prize upon his shoulders, Johnson gave thanks to Augusta National; his caddie; his sponsors; and his family, including his 14-week-old son, Will, and his devoted wife, Kim.
And then, on the grounds that claim Amen Corner, he gave praise: Last but not least, being Easter Sunday, thank you, Jesus.
Email your thoughts to Mercer Baggs
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Masters Tournament
  • Getty Images

    Furyk: Not a 'good idea' to team Tiger, Phil at Ryder Cup

    By Ryan LavnerJune 25, 2018, 1:12 pm

    Those hoping for another Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson partnership at the Ryder Cup might be sorely disappointed.

    U.S. captain Jim Furyk all but slammed the door on the reboot Monday on Golf Channel’s “Morning Drive.” Speaking at the CVS Health Charity Classic, Furyk laughed off the idea and said that it wouldn’t be a “good idea” for him to team them again.

    “It worked out so well the first time,” he said, chuckling, referring to the 2004 matches, where captain Hal Sutton paired the sport’s two biggest stars and watched them go 0-2 en route to a lopsided team defeat at home.

    Colin Montgomerie, who was also on the set and a member of that ’04 European squad, chimed in: “It was a great decision for Europe!”

    Woods and Mickelson’s relationship has improved in recent years, since they were part of the task force that morphed into the Ryder Cup committee. They even played a practice round together this year at the Masters. But Furyk seemed to suggest even that wouldn’t be enough to put them together again in Paris.

    “I hope they’re both watching, because they just fell off the couch laughing,” Furyk said. “I wouldn’t guess that would be a good idea as a captain, I’m just saying.”

    Both Mickelson and Woods are outside the top 8 automatic qualifiers. Mickelson is currently ranked 10th, while Woods is now 39th.

    Woods has already been named a vice captain for this year’s matches, though Furyk said that Woods had broached the topic of being a playing vice captain as early as January. Furyk added that he hasn’t discussed what Woods would need to show him over the course of the year to be considered for a captain’s pick.

    “He hasn’t played as big of a schedule as everybody else,” Furyk said, “but when he has played, he’s played pretty well. Definitely an eye-opener for everyone.”

    Getty Images

    Grandma hopes sick JT has some 's***-kicking antibiotics'

    By Grill Room TeamJune 25, 2018, 1:08 pm

    Justin Thomas tied for 56th at the Travelers Championship, still recovering from a brutal test at the U.S. Open and, apparently, battling an illness.

    Thomas is next competing at this week's French Open, along with the likes of Jon Rahm, Tommy Fleetwood, Sergio Garcia and a host of potential Ryder Cup foes.

    Count his grandmother as one who is pulling – really, really pulling – for his physical recovery.

    Grandmothers are the best. And as you can make out from the top of the text exchange, she finally figured out what was on JT’s pants in Round 1 at Shinnecock Hills.

    Getty Images

    What's in the bag: Travelers champion Watson

    By Golf Channel DigitalJune 25, 2018, 12:22 pm

    Bubba Watson won the Travelers Championship for a third time in his career. Here's a look inside his bag:

    Driver: Ping G400 LST (7.6 degrees), with Grafalloy Bi-Matrix Prototype X shaft

    Fairway wood:  Ping G (13.2 degrees), with Fujikura Tour Spec 8.2 X shaft

    Irons: Ping iBlade (2), Ping S55 (4-PW), with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shafts

    Wedges: Ping Glide 2.0 (52 degrees, 55 degrees, 63 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 shafts

    Putter: Ping PLD Anser

    Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

    Getty Images

    Travelers purse payout: Bubba, Cink close low, earn big

    By Golf Channel DigitalJune 25, 2018, 12:06 pm

    Bubba Watson shot 63 on Sunday to win the Travelers Championship. He took home the trophy, but he wasn't the only player to earn a big payday. Here's how the purse was paid out at TPC River Highlands:

    1 Bubba Watson -17 $1,260,000
    T2 Stewart Cink -14 $462,000
    T2 Beau Hossler -14 $462,000
    T2 J.B. Holmes -14 $462,000
    T2 Paul Casey -14 $462,000
    T6 Kevin Tway -13 $234,500
    T6 Brian Harman -13 $234,500
    T6 Russell Henley -13 $234,500
    T9 Chase Seiffert -12 $189,000
    T9 Bryson DeChambeau -12 $189,000
    T9 Anirban Lahiri -12 $189,000
    T12 Rory McIlroy -11 $147,000
    T12 Ryan Blaum -11 $147,000
    T12 Jason Day -11 $147,000
    T15 Charley Hoffman -10 $115,500
    T15 Patrick Cantlay -10 $115,500
    T15 Danny Lee -10 $115,500
    T15 Kyle Stanley -10 $115,500
    T19 Brooks Koepka -9 $79,000
    T19 Fabian Gomez -9 $79,000
    T19 David Lingmerth -9 $79,000
    T19 Zach Johnson -9 $79,000
    T19 Emiliano Grillo -9 $79,000
    T19 Matt Jones -9 $79,000
    T19 Jamie Lovemark -9 $79,000
    T26 Sam Ryder -8 $49,700
    T26 Si Woo Kim -8 $49,700
    T26 Richy Werenski -8 $49,700
    T26 Blayne Barber -8 $49,700
    T26 Steve Marino -8 $49,700
    T26 Peter Malnati -8 $49,700
    T26 Patrick Rodgers -8 $49,700
    T33 Alex Cejka -7 $39,550
    T33 Tyler Duncan -7 $39,550
    T33 Kevin Streelman -7 $39,550
    T36 Seamus Power -6 $35,175
    T36 James Hahn -6 $35,175
    T38 Scott Stallings -5 $30,800
    T38 Russell Knox -5 $30,800
    T38 Brandon Harkins -5 $30,800
    T38 Lanto Griffin -5 $30,800
    T42 Adam Hadwin -4 $24,500
    T42 J.J. Henry -4 $24,500
    T42 Jordan Spieth -4 $24,500
    T42 Mackenzie Hughes -4 $24,500
    T42 Brett Stegmaier -4 $24,500
    T47 Billy Hurley III -3 $17,578
    T47 Vaughn Taylor -3 $17,578
    T47 Sam Saunders -3 $17,578
    T47 Kelly Kraft -3 $17,578
    T47 Keegan Bradley -3 $17,578
    T47 J.J. Spaun -3 $17,578
    T47 Wesley Bryan -3 $17,578
    T47 Denny McCarthy -3 $17,578
    T47 Scott Brown -3 $17,578
    T56 Ryan Armour -2 $15,680
    T56 Keith Mitchell -2 $15,680
    T56 Ken Duke -2 $15,680
    T56 Justin Thomas -2 $15,680
    T56 Hunter Mahan -2 $15,680
    T61 John Huh -1 $14,910
    T61 Martin Laird -1 $14,910
    T61 Steve Wheatcroft -1 $14,910
    T61 James Driscoll -1 $14,910
    T61 Tom Lovelady -1 $14,910
    T61 Nick Hardy -1 $14,910
    T67 Daniel Berger E $14,350
    T67 Trey Mullinax E $14,350
    T69 Cameron Tringale 1 $14,000
    T69 Kyle Thompson 1 $14,000
    T69 Ethan Tracy 1 $14,000
    T72 Dominic Bozzelli 2 $13,650
    T72 Martin Flores 2 $13,650
    74 Padraig Harrington 4 $13,440