Oh, that other Johnson wins British Open

Zach Johnson plants a perfectly proper kiss upon the Claret Jug (Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

Zach Johnson plants a perfectly proper kiss upon the Claret Jug (Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)

The smart money going into this British Open was on a Johnson ending Jordan Spieth’s Grand Slam-bitions.

But the smart money never has been all that smart, truth to tell.

For it was the other Johnson, just plain Zach, who took the Claret Jug at the close of the British Open that refused to die.

And what of pre-tournament favorite Dustin Johnson? Your 36-hole leader finished 75-75 for the last two rounds, in a tie for 49th place, back where former players like David Duval lived. That Johnson disappeared like a burp in a Scottish gale.

There was one of the more heartening aspects of a wild, rollicking, free-for-all of a tournament, one that made you believe in golf again.

The Open did not belong to the Johnson with the body seemingly designed for modern golf, like some hybrid human forged by Ping. Rather it went to the one who looks like he just rang up your X-outs at the pro shop (OK, that’s a stretch for a guy who also owns a Masters green jacket, but humor me).

The day was not won by the 6-4 small forward but rather by the balding 5-11 equipment guy. Not by the Johnson who leads the world in driving distance but by the one who is 162nd on Tour, give or take a good bounce off a cart path. Not by the Johnson with the glamorous fiancée, but the one with the wife he first met out by the trash bin at the Orlando apartment complex where they both happened to live a dozen years ago.

Yes, there remains a place in this souped-up game for a classic player, one who may not be the longest hitter in the world but is straighter than a Marine band (fifth in PGA Tour driving accuracy). Let’s hear it for a victory of precision over power.

And when it was over, who was there to greet the other Johnson? Where your average self-absorbed pro would have tried to grab the first lorrie out of St. Andrews after a long week and a hard defeat, Spieth stayed to witness the playoff and then to congratulate Johnson. If that kid’s not careful, he’s going to give overpaid sports figures a good name.

Maybe this British Open didn’t end when it was supposed to. Nevertheless, Monday was a very good day for golf.

Reader Comments 0

8 comments
GWJ0525
GWJ0525

I hope Spieth stays the way he is as he could be very good for golf and all of sports if he does. Somehow I get the feeling he will, and he may develop a following like Palmer and Nicklaus had. Nice tournament by Zach.

Quackmeyer
Quackmeyer

@GWJ0525  Agree on Spieth, very good for the game.  There are already more PGA players on tour that like Spieth than ever liked Nicklaus.

Quackmeyer
Quackmeyer

Became a follower of Zach when my wife and I saw him at a PGA tourney at Sugarloaf.  He was a rabbit that made it in coming off the Hooters tour to qualify.  He had his little Hooters 'stand bag' and looked like he was picked out of the crowd to play the event.  We followed him for a couple hours that day and have been pulling for him ever since.  Nice to see the 'bombers don't always win!

Charles Douglas Edwards
Charles Douglas Edwards

C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S   Zach Johnson ! ! !


WINNING the British Open is a BIG, BIG, BIG honor.

ShovelPlease
ShovelPlease

Nice comment about Spieth.  Many (most) other pros and about all the stars would've, at the most, finished their round, done the shortest interview they could get away with, and then hop on the old private jet and vamoose.  Maybe someday Spieth will jade into that guy, but for now he still has a genuine interest in the game and his friends.

CynthiaTuckerrhymeswith
CynthiaTuckerrhymeswith

...but they did put someone on the job who can write a bit.

And yes, Steve, that was a stretch as Zach does indeed have a green jacket in his closet.

And of course Jordan stayed - he's the real deal, a gentleman, an honorable and well-brought-up young man...unlike the guy the media has been slobbering over for the last 15 years.


CynthiaTuckerrhymeswith
CynthiaTuckerrhymeswith

WOW!  The AJC put in a story about something other than local-yokel teams and ANYTHING having to do with UGA.

Mark this day!