The cold, blustery conditions at Sugarloaf didn't faze Zach
Johnson, who'll win at least once more this season and be the
Tour's rookie of the year
Rookie Zach Johnson was on the verge of blowing his first
victory. Stepping to the tee of the 179-yard 16th hole on Sunday,
he had bogeyed four of the last five holes, and his lead had
shrunk from five strokes to two. But Johnson, like most
first-year players, is a rookie in name only. In 2003 he
developed an aggressive and fearless attitude and was named the
player of the year on the immensely competitive Nationwide tour.
So it was no surprise that under pressure Johnson striped a
knockdown seven-iron into the wind to make par at 16 and then
went on to par both 17 and 18 to seal his first win.
Hit a Knockdown Shot in the Wind
You can keep the ball low and play more effectively in the wind
by learning the knockdown shot. Try this drill: Put one ball an
inch back from the center of your stance and another ball six
inches behind it. To hit the forward ball without touching the
back one, you must take a steeper angle on the downswing, which
delofts the club and creates a lower trajectory. Make sure the
shaft is tilted forward at impact and abbreviate the
AND ANOTHER THING ...
"DAVID DUVAL will probably shoot in the 80s when he returns to
the Tour, but once the shock of being back wears off, he'll get
into contention and maybe even win this year."
"THE CHANGES made to Augusta National over the last few years
have spoiled the course's character and made it too challenging."
"TIGER WOODS is playing so erratically that his record streak of
120 straight cuts will end this week at the Masters."
COLOR PHOTO: ERIK W. RASCO
COLOR PHOTO: COURTESY OF NBC (JOHNSON)
COLOR PHOTOMONTAGE: ERIK W. RASCO/JIM GUND (BACKGROUND)
Michael Breed teaches at Sunningdale Country Club in Scarsdale,
N.Y., and is a Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher.