Zach Johnson, Not Tiger, Takes the Masters

By Bryan Jeon

He had missed the last three majors of 2006. His best finish in a major was tied for 17th in the 2005 PGA Championship. And his final score was tied for the highest ever to win in the Masters at +1 (tying Jack Burke in 1956 and Sam Snead in 1954). And yet, just his second career PGA Tour win couldn’t have been grander for Zach Johnson, who birdied three of the last six holes for a two-shot victory over Tiger Woods and two others.

Woods sums up my take on the outcome of the Masters after his poor fairway shot on the 17th hole when he said, “Honestly, what the hell just happened?” I mean, the guy is from Iowa, which quickly reminds golf historians of Jack Fleck‘s takedown of Ben Hogan in the 1955 U.S. Open, Fleck being the only other Iowan to win a major championship.

And guess what Fleck had to say about Johnson’s impressive win: “Not to take anything away from him, but if you really want to compare, have him come from behind and then beat Tiger in an 18-hole playoff the next day,” Fleck, 85, said from his home in Arkansas. “I don’t want to prop myself up. He won outright, which was impressive. But I had to beat Hogan in a playoff.” True, Fleck defeated Hogan by three strokes in the 18-hole playoff, where after Hogan would never win another major championship, but what an asshole remark by Fleck. Old people…

Johnson stated, “As they say, a giant has got to fall at some point.” I’m sorry, but this giant only stumbled a bit. He will crush you in the next major (the next one being the U.S. Open in June) or I will send you a personal check for $20, my word given. Dang cocky Iowans, no wonder people don’t want underdogs in golf to win. It just doesn’t work that way in this sport.

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