FORT WORTH, Texas -- Following an 1-under 69 in Thursday's opening round of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial, defending champion Zach Johnson reflects on his play with Fred Albers from SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio.
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
FORT WORTH, Texas -- A year ago, on the 72nd hole, Zach Johnson suffered a penalty for improperly marking his ball before his final putt. It cost him two strokes. It did not cost him the tournament.
It did cost him good-natured ribbing for the next 365 days.
"You can say that," he said.
Johnson won the 2012 Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial thanks to having a three-shot lead over Jason Dufner going to the final hole on Sunday. On the putting surface, Johnson's ball was in the line of Dufner's putt, so Johnson moved his ball marker ... then forgot to move it back when it came time to putt out.
Johnson's margin of victory went from three shots to one. He took full responsibility for the miscue, making fun of himself and smiling whenever anybody brought up the incident.
"I probably wouldn't be laughing as much if it influenced the outcome," he said. "Once again, I made a mistake. Live and learn."
During a charity event back in Johnson's hometown of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Ben Crane and Stewart Cink addressed the crowd about "Golf 101." Of course, they brought up how to properly mark the ball, then proceeded to bring out a marker the size of a hubcap, with the slogan, "Remember Colonial."
"I had some peers of mine that poked fun at me at pretty good length," Johnson said. "It was pretty good."
Johnson would love to go to the 72nd hole this week with a similar advantage. He'll be sure to properly mark his ball this time. And then perhaps the ribbing will finally go away.
By Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy Insider
There are some weeks in which seasoned one-and-doners just plug a guy in and forget about it. This is one of them.
Zach Johnson is the most obvious play for the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial. He's the defending champion, also won in 2010, sits No. 1 in all-time earnings at the event and has earned more at this tournament than any other in his career.
He has yet to log a top-15 finish this season, but his tie for 19th at THE PLAYERS Championship was his best in a full-field event. (He shared 18th place at the 30-man Hyundai Tournament of Champions to open the season.)
I'd burn him if I didn't already exhaust my one, self-imposed mulligan on a defending champion (Tiger Woods, Bay Hill). So, I'll ride a guy that likely went unlisted in games that require participants to fill in an entire season's worth of starts in January: Henrik Stenson.
He sits atop my Power Rankings and while he's just 2-for-3 at Colonial with no top 25s, he's been populating leaderboards for months. Prior to an early exit at last week's Volvo World Match Play Championship in Bulgaria, he tied for fifth at THE PLAYERS. It was his third top 10 in a five-event span.
Kevin Streelman is No. 2 in the Power Rankings. He's extremely tempting as a one-and-done. I love that he chalked up his breakthrough victory in Tampa as just another step in his career, and I won't talk you out of him. Call it a coin flip, but Stenson leads the PGA TOUR in both driving accuracy and greens in regulation.
David Toms ranks third in all-time earnings in the event. He epitomizes the profile of what it takes to succeed on the classic track, but he has just one top-45 finish in eight stroke-play starts this season.
Jim Furyk is fifth in earnings, but we'll continue to remain patient for a potential start as Colonial ranks 12th on his personal ranking of prize money earned. The others inside the top nine and on site are Rory Sabbatini (sixth), Corey Pavin (seventh), Tim Herron (eighth) and Tim Clark (ninth).
Clark would serve as a sensible option in two-man games unless you're holding off for the Travelers Championship or Wyndham Championship. However, he hasn't banked more money in any other tournament he hasn't won than at Colonial. He's also flashed enough form this season to warrant the spot.
Last week: Jason Day; T27; $46,565.00
Overall Record: 19-for-21
Top 5s: 5
Top 10s: 10
Top 25s: 14
Missed Cuts: 2
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- The final pairing of Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia tees off at 2:40 p.m. on Saturday. Here's a closer look at each of them, plus who and what else to watch for this afternoon at TPC Sawgrass.
Webb Simpson (1:30 p.m. ET): The reigning U.S. Open champion seemed to turn the corner at Hilton Head, where he finished second after losing in a playoff. This week, he's third in fairways hit and enters Saturday five back.
Jason Dufner (1:30 p..m ET): He had six birdies and just one bogey in the second round and is one of the best ball-strikers in the game. He also finished sixth here two years ago.
Zach Johnson (1:50 p.m. ET): The last four finishes for Johnson here: T32, T22, T12, T2. See the trend? A couple late bogeys on Friday hurt, but Johnson is still in the mix four back.
Adam Scott (1:50 p.m. ET): Playing for the first time since his Masters victory, Scott is in position to go after his second PLAYERS title (he won here in 2004). He's just four shots back.
Hunter Mahan (2 p.m. ET): After struggling in his last few starts, Mahan has turned it around here, hitting 75 percent of his greens in regulation.
Matt Kuchar (2 p.m. ET): No player has ever won this tournament two years in a row. After a 66 Friday, Kuchar has a chance and enters the third round just four shots back.
Ryan Palmer (2:20 p.m. ET): The Texan is playing with a heavy heart after a longtime friend was killed in a car accident Thursday night. He's wearing the initials "CA" on his hat in honor of him.
Henrik Stenson (2:20 p.m. ET): The 2009 champion is in contention again after making two eagles in the second round (on the par-5 second and ninth holes). When he won here four years ago, he shot a final-round 66.
Lee Westwood (2:30 p.m. ET): The Englishman has finished fourth, fifth and sixth here. All that's missing is a win. He's the only player without a bogey through the first two rounds.
Tiger Woods (2:40 p.m. ET): It's been a dozen years since Woods has won here, but he said all facets of his game are clicking right now and it's showed so far with his best 36-hole start in his history here.
Sergio Garcia (2:40 p.m. ET): Like Woods, Garcia has won here before (in 2008), but he's struggled at times playing alongside the world No. 1 with five his last six rounds in the 70s when the two have been paired.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Robert Castro opened with a course record-tying 63 to take a three-shot lead on Thursday. Whether he still has that lead by the time he tees off Friday afternoon, who knows. Conditions appear to be good for scoring again and already a few players -- Tiger Woods among them -- have started to make a move. Here's a look at who and what to watch for this afternoon.
Roberto Castro (12:46 p.m. ET): A big reason Castro was able to go so low in the opening round was because he hit close -- six of his approach shots were inside 5 feet. That will be a tall order come the afternoon when the wind is expected to increase along with the temperature, making for a firm, fast golf course.
Hunter Mahan, Rickie Fowler (1:18 p.m. ET): After failing to break 70 in 16 of his last 17 rounds, which included a pair of missed cuts and two other finishes near the bottom of the leaderboard, Mahan was "stress free" with a 67 Thursday. Given his accuracy, he should fare well here (two years ago, he finished sixth). Fowler, on the other hand, struggled to a 73 and will have some ground to make up to make the cut.
Keegan Bradley, Graeme McDowell (1:28 p.m. ET): Both were 2 under on Thursday, and McDowell comes into this week having recently won at another Pete Dye course (Harbour Town).
Zach Johnson (1:49 p.m. ET): Perhaps lost in all the headlines Thursday was Johnson, who was superb with seven birdies and just one bogey. Johnson has played progressively better here the last three years, finishing 32nd, 22nd, 12th and second.
Rory McIlroy, Steve Stricker, Adam Scott (1:49 p.m. ET): McIlroy finally broke par here with a sublime 66 in the opening round and he finally appears to be comfortable around this place. His last two wins have also come on Pete Dye courses. Stricker was nearly as good with a 67 and between the three the group made just two bogeys.
MARANA, Ariz. -- Jason Day did most of the heavy lifting on Wednesday as he bolted to a 6-up lead through his first 10 holes.
Zach Johnson did manage to cut into the Aussie's lead briefly when play resumed on Thursday, sinking a 5-footer for birdie at the 11th hole to get to 5 down. But Day finished the former Masters champ off with 2-foot birdie putt on the next par 5 after Johnson missed from 15 feet.
"I think I missed two greens out of the 13 holes that I played," Day said. "I hit a lot of good quality shots, and I putted great, so obviously holing a 40-footer on ... 4, and then a 20-footer on 5, and then another 10-footer on 6 to get that momentum rolling was obviously good."
Day, who shot 5 under and didn't drop a shot to par, will play the winner of the match between Charl Schwartzel and Russell Henley.
To preview the 2013 PGA TOUR season, PGATOUR.COM is counting down the Top 100 Players to Watch in 2013. For an archive page with the top 100 players and for an explanation on how the list was compiled, click here.
2013 PREVIEW: Last year marked the third two-win campaign of Zach Johnson's career. The steady man from Iowa didn't miss a cut until June and didn't miss another the rest of the year. Johnson, who went 3-1 in the Ryder Cup, has a Presidents Cup team to make this year so he'll need more of that consistency.
2012 DEFINING MOMENT: Johnson had already posted two runner-up finishes when he went to Fort Worth and won the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial for the second time in three years -- despite a two-stroke penalty on the 72nd hole for playing his ball from the wrong place on the green. Five weeks later, Johnson notched another victory, this time in a playoff, at the John Deere Classic, a tournament he considers his hometown event. –- Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ALBERS’ QUICK TAKE: Zach hit one of the great shots of the year when his approach out of the fairway bunker on the 18th hole in the John Deere playoff rolled up to within a foot of the cup. He does not hit the ball overly long but makes up for that with precision and putting. Johnson is one of the more physically fit players on TOUR. -- Fred Albers, SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio
BOLTON’S FANTASY OUTLOOK: Classic case of it all coming together ... yet again. Basically copied his career year of 2009 with two wins and in excess of $4.5 million. He's not a first-round knockout artist like some of his behemoth brethren. Instead, ZJ is a surgeon, a tactician. What's great is that he has no issues teeing it up 25 times. You're likely going to get bonus starts at the Sony Open and RBC Heritage in addition to title defense at Colonial and the John Deere Classic. Don't hesitate late in the first round. -- Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy expert
2012 QUICK REVIEW
Regular Season ranking
Final Playoffs ranking
|Best finishes||1st P1||Crowne Plaza Invitational John Deere Classic|
|By the Numbers
Cuts made: 24
Rounds played: 94
Top-10 finishes: 6
Money List rank: 6th
Driving distance: 168th
Driving accuracy: 14th
Greens in regulation: 101st
Strokes gained-putting: 8th
Scoring average: 14th
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN What is your prediction for Zach Johnson in 2013? Fill out the form below and let us know
|PGA TOUR season||Wins||2nd||Top 10s||FedExCup finish||Earnings|
U.S. (Jason Dufner & Zach Johnson) def.
Europe (Francesco Molinari & Lee
Westwood), 3 and 2
Click for more: Hole by hole
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
MEDINAH, Ill. – The U.S. team of Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner defeated Lee Westwood and Francesco Molinari 3 and 2 Friday morning’s foursomes match in the Ryder Cup.
MATCH FLOW: This match was a tale of two nines. Europe held the edge on the front and the understated Americans seized control on the back. Europe won the first hole when Zach Johnson was unable to convert a 5-footer for save par. The front nine was a see-saw battle after that with Europe going 1 up two more times and the Americans squaring the match three times. Jason Dufner made back-to-back birdie putts at Nos. 9 and 10 and the Americans never trailed again. The Americans decided to lay up at the drivable 15th and Lee Westwood found the water for another U.S. win. The Americans closed out the match at the 16th hole as Dufner makes a 30-inch putt for par after Westwood misses from 7 feet.
BY THE NUMBERS: The U.S. team won six holes and shot a combined 3 under. The European team won three holes and shot a combined 1 over.
TIPPING POINT: Dufner's 15-footer for birdie at the ninth hole. It appears to stop to the left of the hole but drops in as Dufner walks to tap it in. The iceman cracks a slight smile and the U.S. never trails again.
NOTES & QUOTES: “I think today was a day that when it comes to foursomes, we did exactly what you should do, and that was never really take yourself out of the hole, put yourself in a position to make putts and stay and just keep fighting and staying in the moment.” Zach Johnson …
“Zach put me in a good spot on the ninth hole. The European Team had putted one maybe about 10 feet by. We had a good read on the putt. I felt like I hit a really nice putt and it just looked like it was going to hang on the edge. And to be honest with you, I almost felt like the roar of the crowd and the anticipation of the putt missing actually willed that ball into the hole because it felt like the crowd's cheer came from the right and the ball kind of fell into the hole. So that was a pretty good moment there.” Jason Dufner …
Zach Johnson is now 2-1-1 in Foursomes and 3-2-1 in team play. …
With his loss this morning, Westwood drops to 7-2-4 in Ryder Cup Foursomes play.