On a day dominated by Tiger Woods’ reminder of why it is important to know the effects of a medication before driving, other news items snuck onto the periphery of the sports page. In PGW’s daily rundown, like Tiger, Zach Johnson also makes a regretful decision, the U.S. Open gets Beefier, and the NCAA finals could have major implications for golf’s future.
Zach Johnson Tantrum Pic Goes Viral
When discussing hotheads on Tour, one name that is extremely unlikely to come up is the famously composed Zach Johnson. A two-time major champion (2007 Masters, 2015 Open Championship), Johnson has made a great living off his patience and equanimity.
Unfortunately, for Johnson, what appears to have been a weak moment may threaten that reputation. Johnson had a rough week at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational, a tournament he has won twice, posting 67-75-75-70 (+7) which left him in a share of 63rd place.
During that third-round 75, the 41-year-old Iowan was put on the clock for slow play. Already frustrated, Johnson dumped all his clubs on the ground. A picture of the incident’s aftermath has gone viral.
Zach Johnson with a major meltdown after being put on the clock. Dumped all his clubs out of the bag! pic.twitter.com/KDJleSu8vC
— Michael Martin (@michaelmartinut) May 27, 2017
— MM GOLF STUDIO (@MMGOLFSTUDIOS) May 28, 2017
- The apparent tantrum occurred on the 12th hole of his third round three-over 75. A picture of the aftermatch shows Johnson walking off the green with his bag on the ground, and clubs strewn about.
- The incident is reported to have occurred shortly after Johnson was put on the clock for slow play.
- Johnson acknowledged the incident on twitter, and seemed to imply that it was not a tantrum, saying that his putter was stuck in his bag, and the rest of his clubs flew out when he got the putter unstuck.
- The 64th ranked golfer in the world, Johnson has two top 10s in 13 events this season: a T6 at the Sony Open and a T9 at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.
“Not my proudest moment yesterday. Putter was stuck, yanked it out, many clubs came out, frustrated for sure. Tap in double. Ugh”
–Zach Johnson on the incident, via Twitter
“Beef” Among 15 Names Added to U.S. Open Field After Sectional Qualifier in England
A 36-hole Sectional Qualifier was held on Monday in Surrey, England, to determine a whopping 15 spots for next month’s U.S. Open. The qualifiers got themselves one step closer to realizing a major dream, but the real winner of the qualifier may have been the fans.
That is because Andrew “Beef” Johnston, a media dream and one of the most popular players in the world, was among those who punched their tickets to Erin Hills.
- 111 U.S. Open hopefuls played in Monday’s sectional qualifier. 11 spots were won outright, with the final four being awarded in a playoff.
- The low score at the sectional qualifier belonged to England’s Aaron Rai, who posted 66-64 (-14). Rai, who has been having an excellent season on Europe’s Challenge Tour.
- Andrew “Beef” Johnston, one of the most popular and most likeable figures in golf, was among those who made the U.S. Open field via the sectional qualifier. Johnston carded three eagles over the 36-holes, shooting 68-66.
- Other notables to qualify in Surrey include Richie Ramsay, Bradley Dredge, George Coetzee, Paul Dunne, and Thomas Aiken.
- Notables who competed, but did not capture a U.S. Open spot include Nicolas Colsaerts, Mikko Ilonen, Gregory Havret, Marcel Siem, Scott Hend, Robert Rock, Padraig Harrington, David Howell, Robert Karlson, Matteo Manassero, and Y.E. Yang
“It’s a dream come true to play in any major, and with it being the U.S. Open, it makes it extra special.”
–Aaron Rai, U.S. Open Participant
Steve Stricker Re-Unites With Long-Time Caddy for Colonial T7
Among Jimmy Johnson’s who do not race NASCAR, the most successful one in sports might be professional caddy Johnson, who was on the bag for eight years of Steve Stricker’s professional career.
Johnson had recently moved on from Stricker, a 50-year-old who does not play often on the PGA Tour anymore, but the pair re-united at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational last weekend. With Johnson’s help, Stricker shot a final round seven-under 63, the low round of the tournament.
- Steve Stricker’s T7 finish at Colonial was his best finish in seven pro events this season.
- Johnson now caddies for Justin Thomas, who is in the midst of a breakout year, with three victories, and three other top 10s in 14 2017 events. Johnson has also caddied for Nick Price and Charles Howell III in the past.
- Stricker is hoping the high finish will significantly help his chances of making the field for next month’s U.S. Open in his home state of Wisconsin.
- Stricker and Thomas are both in the field for next week’s Memorial Tournament, with Johnson expected to caddy for Thomas.
“We had a great run there for a while. Brought back a lot of good memories. I won with him on the bag here. It’s just an easy relationship and friendship, player/caddie relationship out on the golf course.”
LSU’s Sam Burns Announces Intent To Turn Professional
One of America’s best collegiate golfers has decided that this will be the year he turns pro. Sam Burns, a sophomore at LSU, made the announcement via twitter.
He is expected to officially make the move in September, after he competes in the Walker Cup, which is essentially the Ryder Cup of amateur golf.
- Burns is among the favorites to win the Haskins Award, given annually to the nation’s best collegiate golfer.
- Burns won four times in a very successful sophomore season at LSU, finishing in the top 10 of all 14 tournaments he started.
- Burns’ 70.05 scoring average broke the LSU single-season record by more than a stroke.
- Currently America’s #2 ranked college golfer according to golf week, Burns has reached #1 this season.
“I don’t know if I can answer (how much LSU has meant). It’s two years I’ll never forget. I learned more in those two years than playing golf for 20. Being around those teammates, coaches – they were like family, and I’ll miss them.”
Thornberry (Ole Miss) Dominates NCAA Championship
If Braden Thornberry becomes big-time in professional golf, most will remember that they first heard of him when he blitzed the field down the stretch to win the NCAA Championship.
Thornberry, a sophomore at Ole Miss, shot a final round one-under 71 in absolutely brutal conditions to reach -11 for the week and take the title by four strokes.
- Thornberry’s 71 was one of just four under-par Monday rounds in the final championship field. He went 66-71-69 over the first three days.
- Thornberry was two strokes behind Scottie Scheffler of Texas after 54 holes. Scheffler, one of the biggest names in college golf, shot a final round 78.
- Thornberry was the best player on an Ole Miss squad that made the NCAA Championships for the first time in 16 years. 30-teams make up the annual Championship Field.
- A five-time champion this season, Thornberry was given a sponsor’s exemption to the upcoming PGA FedEx St. Jude Classic.
“In the practice round I hit the same shot and it was a little into the wind, so I knew driver was going to be perfect,” Thornberry said. “I just stepped up there and happened to hit a big one.”
–Thornberry, on his tee shot on the par-4 6th hole, which he went on to eagle.