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Ryder Cup captaincy is ‘honor of a lifetime’ for Zach Johnson
Johnson’s own game has been fairly consistent in 2023
This was always going to be a big year for Zach Johnson, regardless of how he plays on PGA Tour.
The current U.S. Ryder Cup captain is now only six months from leading his team to Rome, looking for Team USA’s first win on foreign soil since 1993.
He’s already appointed the winning captain from 2021, Steve Stricker, and good friend Davis Love III, who led the winning American Ryder Cup team in 2016 and last year’s Presidents Cup team, as vice captains for September.
So what’s next?
“Planning is continually going on and never stops. But that’s one of the many joys about (being captain),” Johnson told The Gazette by email. “My wife Kim and I take the responsibility very seriously to put forth a week the team will never forget … from the mundane little items to the heavy weighted items and everything in between.
“We are enjoying the process. And we have a tremendous team with the PGA of America to help us along the way.”
Johnson competed in five Ryder Cups as a player, including most recently in 2016 at Hazeltine when he walked out of the media center cradling the cup and taking photos with fans that Sunday night.
He’s been vice captain in the past two Ryder Cups — in 2018 in Paris and 2021 in Wisconsin. Clearly, this event has been a major point of passion for him over the years. He shared the tremendous sense of pride he felt when he delivered a crucial shot early in his first Ryder Cup in 2006.
When asked to describe what the U.S. captaincy means, Johnson did not mince his words.
“It’s an honor of a lifetime. As a professional golfer and competitor, the Ryder Cup is the best thing I’ve ever been associated with. I am thrilled to be team USA’s leader,” Johnson wrote.
As for the here and now, Johnson’s own game has been fairly consistent since the calendar turned to 2023. He’s made five of six cuts, including a tie for 12th last month at the Honda Classic.
At 47, it’s not unreasonable to ask Johnson what his current expectations are for winning on the PGA Tour again. The Cedar Rapids native and Drake graduate didn’t directly answer that question, but pointed to his team and the work he plans to put in.
“My play as of late is showing definite signs of progress,” Johnson said. “My team has realigned our goals and objectives to a space that has everyone excited.
“Now it’s my place to work and execute.”