Zach Johnson wins Hyundai Tournament of Champions

01.06.14 zach reax

Zach Johnson celebrates with his kids after finishing out at Kapalua.

What Happened

Coming into the final round, Jordan Spieth, Webb Simpson and Dustin Johnson held the lead at 14-under par, but Johnson and Simpson started slow. Johnson made bogeys on three of his first six holes, while Simpson would be two-over par as he headed to the fifth tee. Zach Johnson started the day two shots back of the lead, and would come out hot with a front-nine 33 to sit just one back of Spieth’s lead heading to the back nine. Spieth couldn’t seem to get much going on the back though, settling for all pars, while Zach went on a tear with his superb wedge game, with four birdies in five holes from the 12th to the 16th.

01.06.14 zach wedge

Those birdies stretched Johnson’s lead to two shots, and after a pair of pars to finish out, Johnson would end up with the clubhouse lead at 19-under par. Spieth had a chance to hole out on the 18th, much like he did at last year’s John Deere to force a playoff, but his putt from off of the green came up well short, giving Johnson the first win of 2014.

Final Leaderboard

  • 1. Zach Johnson -19
  • 2. Jordan Spieth -18
  • T3. Kevin Streelman -17
  • T3. Webb Simpson -17
  • 5. Jason Dufner -15

What The Win Means For Johnson

For some time, we’ve known Zach Johnson as a superior short game player and that was definitely on display again this week, particularly in Monday’s final round. Playing alongside Dustin Johnson, Zach was consistently thirty yards behind DJ, but it didn’t seem to matter at all, as his wedge game was so on point that it more than made up for his lack of distance.

01.06.14 zach holeout 2

It’s Johnson’s 11th win on the PGA Tour, which puts him in some pretty illustrious company:

He was probably already guaranteed of a spot on the team anyway, but this win pretty much ensures that he’ll be on the Ryder Cup team come September and he’ll move further up the Official World Golf Ranking. He’s one of the best players in the world, even if a lot of people don’t realize it.

Dustin Johnson’s Unpredictability

After DJ looked to be imploding during Monday’s round with some poor course management and even worse short game play, I tweeted this:

I received several responses, split pretty evenly between people telling me I was crazy and others saying that I was bang on. My theory is that unless he qualifies on his own, which is definitely possible, I can’t see him being on the team as a captain’s pick by Tom Watson. He’s too inconsistent and the list of American players is staggeringly deep, to the point where I’ve got at least seven or eight guys that I would take in front of him without hesitation.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Too Much, Too Soon?

When Derek Ernst won at Quail Hollow last year, I mentioned that wins like his that come out of nowhere and happen to players who play on the Tour are always good since it guarantees a PGA Tour card for two years. Now I wonder though if it was a case of too much too soon. Outside of that win, Ernst finished inside the top-40 just once last year, and this week, he needed a final round 70 just to get back to 9-over par. He finished in last place by nine shots as the only player above par this week. Believe me, there are worse things than playing on the PGA Tour for a living, but I wonder if that win is going to eventually become detrimental for a player who is clearly still trying to find his way as a pro.

Creativity and a shank

Michael Thompson looks like he’s playing over at the Home of Golf with this creative little pitch on Friday:

01.03.14 thompson creative

Meanwhile, Scott Brown officially picked up the first shank of the year:

01.03.14 brown shank

Definitely thought that would go to Webb Simpson.

Other Notes

  • Other notable finishes: Billy Horschel, Matt Kuchar, Adam Scott and Dustin Johnson (T6) and Brandt Snedeker (T11).
  • Webb Simpson was using Bubba Watson’s regular caddie Ted Scott this week, and Jason Sobel has the reason why in this piece for Golf Channel. Definitely worth the read. Had to be tough for Simpson out here this week.
  • Patrick Reed won the Wyndham Championship last year with wife Justine on the bag, but that won’t be happening for the foreseeable future with Justine currently pregnant with the couple’s first child.
  • Loved this shot on Friday’s broadcast showing the wind blowing in on Streelman.

01.03.14 streelman wind

2 Comments on “Zach Johnson wins Hyundai Tournament of Champions”

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