December 09, 2013
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
- Johnson beat Tiger Woods in a playoff Sunday to win the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge. (Dunn/Getty Images)
Zach Johnson's victory Sunday at the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge was his second of the year and while it was an unofficial event, the world ranking points that went with it were indeed very official.
Johnson moved into the top 10 (No. 9 to be exact) in the Official World Golf Rankings for the first time in his career on Monday.
"I'm proud of that," he said after beating Tiger Woods in a sudden-death playoff. "I feel like I am a product of the guys that have helped me.
"I know I've got something inside of me that drives me. I love the competition. I love being in difficult situations and having to execute and that sort of thing. I like getting after it. I've always liked that."
Trailing by four to the world's top-ranked player with eight holes to play, Johnson had to get after it, alright.
Johnson finished par-birdie-birdie-par, the last of those pars of course coming when he holed out from the drop zone on the 18th to ultimately force extra holes with Woods.
You could argue that few if any players get more out of themselves than the 5-foot-11, 160-pound Johnson. But he also knows his game as well as anyone and that self-awareness has carried Johnson a long way -- he has as many wins on the PGA TOUR as Adam Scott, Larry Nelson and Fuzzy Zoeller, to name a few.
"I may not be as talented in some regards, but I know what my talent is," Johnson said, referring to Woods. "I know my limitations and I feel like I know my game. If it's good enough that week, that day, then great. If it's not, I'll just keep working."
Part of that work includes getting together with the team around him in late October or early November. Because of his schedule, however, Johnson didn't have that meeting until just before the World Challenge.
"We were just trying to get ready for next year," Johnson said, who added that he's still adjusting to the new irons he has in his bag.
"I don't know if it's much of a silly season anymore. But it's set up just like an old TOUR event, so it gets me ready for January."