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Zach Johnson needs an equalizer
That would be Zach Johnson, the 2007 Masters champ, who has done it with little fanfare.
The roll call of champions that followed Johnson at Augusta National who are winless on the tour since donning the green jacket are Trevor Immelman (2008), Angel Cabrera (2009), Charl Schwartzel (2011) and Bubba Watson (2012).
Of that trio, only Cabrera and Schwartzel have won anywhere. Cabrera won the Argentina Open in December and Schwartzel won twice at the end of 2012 – in the Thailand Golf Championship and the Alfred Dunhill Championship (by 12 shots).
Johnson’s next victory will be the 10th of his career.
“He’s probably one of the toughest competitors in the game,” said Damon Green, who has been Johnson’s caddie since his rookie year on the PGA Tour in 2004. ‘‘The guy loves to compete, he loves to win. He never gives up. I think he gets the most out of his game than any player on tour.”
Because he’s not a long hitter off the tee, the 5-foot-11, 160-pound Johnson relies on his iron play and short game to get around the lead. When he gets there, he’s hard to shake, as evidenced by his 3-0 record in playoffs.
“When I get into contention, for some reason I’m able to come through,” the 37-year-old Johnson said.
He also doesn’t take many weekends off. Through the Cadillac Championship in mid-March, he had made 196 cuts in 244 starts.
“My career has been very, very consistent,” Johnson said. “I make a ton of cuts.”
“And when we do miss a cut, it’s usually by one or two shots,” Green said. “Rarely does he have anywhere he is blown out of the tournament. We’re always in the tournament, even to the last few holes. That’s his game. He’s consistent in about every aspect of his game. He doesn’t have a standout in any category, but he’s very good in all categories.”
Since his win at Augusta National, Johnson has missed the cut twice (2009 and 2011) while finishing tied for 20th in his Masters defense in 2008, 42nd in 2010 and tied for 32nd last year.
He calls his Masters record since his victory “average at best. It’s a conditions thing there. A lot of those years after that it was wet so there was no roll. That’s very difficult for me to win.”
The 2007 Masters, which Johnson won with 1-over-par 289 – tying the highest winning score in tournament history – was right up his alley.
Visit The Augusta Chronicle website for more coverage of the 2013 Masters Tournament. Copyright 2013 The Augusta Chronicle. All Rights Reserved.
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