Zach Johnson: Free time means thinking deeply about family, friends, faith


Zach Johnson is working up a sweat.

Again.

Since the COVID-19 global pandemic stifled the world order, including the halting of play on the PGA Tour, Johnson and his wife, Kim, who are often joined by their three children, have made good use of the weight room in their home on St. Simons Island on the southeast coast of Georgia.

After a recent workout, Johnson spent some time with Golfweek talking about his new normal. He’s still playing golf and hitting balls on the range on a nearby course to stay somewhat sharp, but mostly, he’s sheltered at home.

With time and reflection – “We have a lot of both,” Johnson said – he’s spent long stretches thinking deeply about his priorities, with family, friends and his faith and relationship with the Lord at the top of the leaderboard.

Add golf to the list.

“As my sports psychologist Dr. Mo (Mo Pickens) says, ‘Golf shouldn’t be No. 1, but it probably shouldn’t be No. 6, either,’” Johnson said.

Since the coronavirus halted his day job, Johnson has spent much of this spell deep in thought and has come to realize, at a heightened level, who the real heroes are who walk the earth on a daily basis, the people “we should be looking up to.” The pillars of the community, he added, the men and women in the health care system, police and firemen, teachers, truckers, the people who stock the shelves, and on and on and on.

Zach Johnson addresses the media after the cancellation of the 2020 Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass. Photo by Adam Hagy/USA TODAY Sports

“Those are the people who keep the country running,” he said.

Golf, however, remains on the mind of the 12-time winner on the PGA Tour, who is just one of six players who have won the Masters and the Open Championship at St. Andrews, the home of golf. The others? Sam Snead, Jack Nicklaus, Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods. Heady company, indeed.

He often thinks back to the weeks he won the green jacket in 2007 when he held off Woods and the Claret Jug in 2015 which he won in a playoff, each remembrance offering inspiration, confirmation and confidence.

“I draw on that all the time,” he said.

Johnson also addressed what he missed most about not being at the Masters the second week of April – spoiler alert, that answer would be everything – his vice captaincy alongside captain Woods in the 2019 Presidents Cup, and why he remains confident he will win again.

Watch the above video for Steve DiMeglio’s conversation with Zach Johnson.

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