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Z. Johnson wins John Deere Classic in a playoff

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Winning major golf championships is often about perseverance under pressure filled circumstances. The players, the fans and even the announcers got a real taste of major-style drama as Zach Johnson edged out Troy Matteson on the second playoff hole to win the 2012 John Deere Classic at the TPC Deere Run course in Silvis, Illinois.

Johnson shot a 6-under 65 on Sunday to tie with Matteson, who wobbled to a 2-under par 69. Matteson appeared out of contention with a double bogey on the short par-4 16th, but he bounced back with an improbable 60-foot bomb of a putt on the 17th hole to earn his way into the playoff with Johnson.

On the first playoff hole (No. 18), Zach Johnson hit into what is now known as “Stricker’s Bunker” on the left side of the fairway. Matteson pushed his drive right and got a break as it kicked partly out of the trees to leave a shot at the green, albeit a difficult one. Almost unbelievably, both players went into the water hazard with their second shots. Matteson pitched his fourth shot about 10 feet past the hole. Johnson actually took four nerve-wracking drops to get in position for his fourth and left it 18 feet past the hole. His putt slid five feet past the hole. Matteson then had a put for the win, but he also hit his putt several feet past the cup. Both players made their short putts to take the playoff to a second hole.

On the second playoff hole Johnson, failed to hit the fairway again and found himself in the same left fairway bunker. Matteson put his shot in the fairway, but it almost made no difference what Matteson did next because Johnson hit the shot of a lifetime on his second, carving a 6-iron out of the sand to six inches. Matteson left himself 20 feet to stay in the tournament; in a metaphor for his week, he came up just short. Johnson kicked in his putt and became the Tour’s fourth multiple tournament winner in 2012, joining Tiger Woods (3), Jason Dufner and Hunter Mahan. Johnson’s ninth career victory also gave him his biggest come from behind victory, coming from four strokes off the lead in the final round to catch third-round leader Matteson. Matteson, who had missed one more cut than he had made coming into the John Deere, enjoyed his best finish of the year and also got a great consolation prize by qualifying for the 2012 British Open at Royal Lytham and St. Annes this week.

Two-time defending champion Steve Stricker, who won in dramatic fashion in 2011 with one of the best shots of the year on the 18th hole setting up a victory-clinching birdie, was in great position to notch his third consecutive win going into the final holes. But a series of uncharacteristically erratic drives led to bogeys on Nos. 14, 15 and 17, leaving Stricker tied for fifth place at 16-under 268. Third-place finisher Scott Piercy finished just two shots out of the playoff by shooting a brilliant, bogey-free 64 on Sunday (18-under 266). Aussie John Senden also had window of opportunity when he carded a birdie and eagle on Nos. 14 and 15, but he slammed it on his own hand with bogeys on the next two holes and finished in solo fourth place.

Lee Trevino in 1971 is the only golfer to win the week before the British Open (the Canadian Open) and then go on to win the Open championship the next week. The chances of Zach Johnson becoming the second are considered slim. Indeed, he probably isn’t even the player with the last name Johnson with the best chance; that distinction would belong to compatriot Dustin Johnson. But Z. Johnson, winner of the 2007 Masters, is clearly in winning form and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him among the leaders next Sunday.

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Williams has a reputation as a savvy broadcaster, and as an incisive interviewer and writer. An avid golfer himself, Williams has covered the game of golf and the golf lifestyle including courses, restaurants, travel and sports marketing for publications all over the world. He is currently working with a wide range of outlets in traditional and electronic media, and has produced and hosted “Sticks and Stones” on the Fox Radio network, a critically acclaimed show that combined coverage of the golf world with interviews of the Washington power elite. His work on Newschannel8’s “Capital Golf Weekly” and “SportsTalk” have established him as one of the area’s most trusted sources for golf reporting. Williams has also made numerous radio appearances on “The John Thompson Show,” and a host of other local productions. He is a sought-after speaker and panel moderator, he has recently launched a new partnership with The O Team to create original golf-themed programming and events. Williams is a member of the United States Golf Association and the Golf Writers Association of America.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Troy Vayanos

    Jul 16, 2012 at 6:14 am

    Great effort by Zach Johnson.

    That shot from the fairway bunker during the 2nd playoff hole will be remembered as one of the best shots of 2012.

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Tour Photo Galleries

10 interesting photos from Tuesday at the Zurich Classic

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GolfWRX is live from the 2018 Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana, where, among other things, a giant three-legged crocodile roams.

Now in it’s second year, the tournament’s unique two-man team format has attracted a wealth of top talent, including 10 of the top 14 golfers in the OWGR. We’re on the scene snapping bag pictures and have five galleries from TPC Louisiana’s range Tuesday. We also have a look inside Ryan Ruffels bag, a peek at Jimmy Walker’s putter, a look in Brooks Koepka’s bag, and more!

Let’s dig in.

Well, this certainly is interesting, Xinjun Zhang. Not sure about the context, but not something you traditionally see on a PGA Tour driving range…

Hard not to love Ryan Ruffels’ 009M

Look’s like Michael Greller is enjoying some well-earned relaxation

Ryan Palmer boldly going where few Tour pros dare to: serif font

Roman numeral loft stamping? Savage grind? We like your style, Bud Cauley

Is this a new Wilson Staff PMP wedge prototype or a one-off thing for Ricky Barnes?

Finally, Whitney comes to a wedge

Ham & egg!

Jimmy Walker’s silver Spider

Our Tour Photographer risking the wrath of Bubba (we assume he had permission)

 

Tuesday’s Photos

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Tuesday’s Photos from the 2018 Zurich Classic

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GolfWRX is live from the 2018 Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana (par 72; 7,425 yards), designed by Pete Dye with consultants Steve Elkington and Kelly Gibson.

The Zurich Classic is a unique event on the PGA Tour because it’s not an individual stroke-play event. Instead, the format consists of two-man teams playing best-ball on Thursday and Saturday, and alternate-shot on Friday and Sunday.

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Last year, Cameron Smith and Jonas Blixt won the event after four playoff holes against Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown. The Smith/Blixt duo will be back to defend their title, and the Kisner/Brown pairing will be back avenging their loss.

Other notable pairings in the field include Daniel Berger/Gary Woodland, Wesley Bryan/Jon Rahm, Patrick Reed/Patrick Cantlay, John Daly/Rory Sabbatini, Jason Day/Ryan Ruffels, David Duval/Jim Furyk, Tony Finau/Daniel Summerhays, Sergio Garcia/Rafa Cabrera Bello, J.B. Holmes/Brand Snedeker, Matt Kuchar/Bubba Watson, Louis Oosthuizen/Charl Schwartzel, Sean O’Hair/Jimmy Walker, Pat Perez/Jason Dufner, Justin Rose/Henrik Stenson, Jordan Spieth/Ryan Palmer, Justin Thomas/Bud Cauley and more!

Check out our photos from the event below!

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Discussion: See what GolfWRX Members are saying about the photos in our forums

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10 interesting photos from Monday at the Zurich Classic

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GolfWRX is live from the 2018 Zurich Classic at TPC Louisiana, where, among other things, a giant three-legged crocodile roams.

Now in it’s second year, the tournament’s unique two-man team format has attracted a wealth of top talent, including 10 of the top 14 golfers in the OWGR. We’re on the scene snapping bag pictures, and have WITB looks at Matt Jones and Roberto Diaz, in addition to a general gallery from the TPC Louisiana range.

Let’s dig in.

Matt Jones doesn’t need his name embroidered on his headcovers: tape and a marker will do just fine, thanks

Last week, Faaaabel the Goat. This week, someone who would eat Faaabel

Roberto Diaz: Brand agnostic

Wesley Bryan’s Taco Bell(t) lives

Homemade putting aid or soon to be seen on a Golf Channel infomercial (or both)?

UDI with a side of lead

Shaft bags: Assemble!

Roberto Diaz Fourteen RM wedge

What more do you need in life?

A bouquet of Circle T putter covers

Check out our photos from Monday below!

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