116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
April 28, 2003: Zach Johnson began driving from Arkansas to South Carolina Sunday night. Emotionally, however, he was flying.
Johnson overcame a six-shot deficit at the start of Sunday's final round to win the Nationwide Tour's Rheem Classic in Fort Smith, Ark. His 4-under-par 66 got him to 8-under 272 and into a playoff with Steve Haskins. Johnson's par on the first sudden-death playoff hole was good enough for the win, worth $85,500.
But it meant far more than a financial windfall for the 27-year-old Cedar Rapids native. It vaulted him to third on the money standings of the Nationwide Tour, the PGA Tour's developmental circuit.
At season's end, the top 20 Nationwide players gain 2004 PGA Tour cards.
“It's all I've ever wanted,” Johnson said from his car as he and his bride of two months, Kim, began a drive from Fort Smith that would get them to Greenville, S.C., some time today.
April 6, 2004: When Zach Johnson was an infant, his father commuted from Iowa City to chiropractic school in Davenport and his mother was a graduate student at the University of Iowa.
They lived in student housing, across the street from Finkbine Golf Course.
An omen, perhaps? Dave and Julie Johnson's oldest child seems to have taken to golf.
It's safe to say that no one from Cedar Rapids ever got as much out of a 3-foot putt as Johnson did Sunday. That par putt on the final hole of the PGA Tour's BellSouth Classic in Duluth, Ga., earned him $810,000, roughly the equivalent of what he made in his career to that moment. He made about $495,000 last year on the Nationwide Tour, and he was its Player of the Year.
But beyond the money, the win created some new and large opportunities.
Besides automatically getting Johnson into this August's PGA Championship and next January's Mercedes Championships (formerly the Tournament of Champions), it shot him from 126th to 49th in the World Golf Rankings.
Aug. 21, 2006: MEDINAH, Ill. - Tim Herron stalled. Davis Love III flopped. Steve Stricker aimed high but was still four birdies short.
So Zach Johnson, who won his hometown Greater Cedar Rapids Open just five years ago, made the U.S. Ryder Cup team Sunday.
Johnson would have been knocked out of an automatic U.S. berth had two of the aforementioned three players finished high enough in Sunday's final round of the PGA Championship. But Johnson turned four top-five PGA Tour finishes this year into a point total that was ninth in the U.S. Ryder Cup standings entering the PGA last week, and ninth in the final standings at the PGA's conclusion Sunday.
The top 10 in points are automatic qualifiers for the U.S. team. Team captain Tom Lehman will add two players this morning. He called Johnson last night to welcome him to the Ryder Cup, which will be held Sept. 22-24 in Straffan, Ireland.
“It's a lifelong goal and a dream of mine,” he said by phone last night from Akron, Ohio, where he'll play in a World Golf Championships event this week. “It's an honor to play for my country, and a privilege.”
April 9, 2007: AUGUSTA, Ga. - After their round of golf together Sunday, Vaughn Taylor told his playing partner, “If you're not Superman, you're Superman's brother.”
Not true, said the 2007 Masters tournament golf champion at his first news conference wearing the traditional winner's green jacket. “I'm Zach Johnson,” he told a cluster of reporters,” and I'm from Cedar Rapids, Iowa.”
But Taylor wasn't far from the truth. Johnson didn't just win the Masters. He WON it. On the back nine holes Sunday, when everyone says the Masters really begins, Johnson gradually took command on his way to a two-shot triumph.
“How do you think this is going over back home?” Johnson's father, Cedar Rapids chiropractor Dave Johnson, posed as he walked toward the 17th green. It was a rhetorical question.
If Johnson's fans back home reacted to his birdies the same way as Dave, his son Gabe of Chicago and a small corps of relatives and friends, Cedar Rapids and Iowa did some shaking Sunday afternoon.
Oct. 13, 2008: This one, Zach Johnson said Sunday, was for Iowa.
The Cedar Rapids native sent what had been a cloudy 2008 season to the showers by winning the PGA Tour's Valero Texas Open on a sunny Sunday in San Antonio.
Johnson followed his 8-under-par 62 in Saturday's third round with a 64 Sunday at The Resort Course at La Cantera Golf Club. That gave him a 19-under 261 and a two-shot victory, his fourth in five seasons on the Tour.
He began this event 125th in the Tour's 2008 money standings, but his $810,000 first-place check more than doubled his season earnings and pushed him to 55th on the money list. It also gained him entrance into January's season-opening Mercedes-Benz Championship in Hawaii, open only to the previous year's Tour winners.
It was a return to Johnson's 2007 form when he won the Masters and then the AT&T Classic, both in Georgia. This victory was his first Tour win outside Georgia. It wasn't Georgia on his mind after Sunday's win, however.
“This one I'm dedicating to everybody back in Iowa,” Johnson said. “My community back home has gone through a lot this year. This one's for everybody back there that's given me unconditional support. I love everybody back there.”
Sept. 8, 2010: To little surprise, Zach Johnson was added to the United States' Ryder Cup team Tuesday.
U.S. team captain Corey Pavin made Cedar Rapids native Johnson one of his four at-large picks for his 12-player team. The other additions were Stewart Cink, Rickie Fowler and Tiger Woods. They join the eight players who qualified automatically via a two-year point system. Included are Phil Mickelson and Steve Stricker.
Johnson missed out on the 2008 Ryder Cup after playing for the Americans in Ireland in 2006. He has never made secret his love of playing in the Ryder and Presidents Cups.
“Team play, team sports in general, it's really something that drives me as a competitor,” Johnson said Tuesday. “And when you incorporate a team element and chemistry into golf, it makes it just that much more special.
“Having your nation's flag on your sleeve and being led by Captain Pavin and his associates, just, you know, makes it that much more special. So I thank you (captains) and I thank you for trusting in me and knowing that I'm going to go out there and play really hard. I'm excited and I cannot wait until October.”