Zach Johnson has one major victory and five top-10 finishes in his career, but two of the courses on the major rota this year don’t fit his eye.
When asked for three courses he was looking forward to this upcoming season in a press conference before the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, Johnson brushed right past the major venues, save for Augusta National, “No, no and no,” he said.
“I don’t even know where the [U.S.] Open is,” Johnson said. “The British. That’s my least favorite in the rotation. I say that and I love that tournament, and I still like St. Andrews. That’s how much I love that tournament. I think St. Andrews is terrific, and it’s my least favorite. I feel like it’s one where you just gotta hit it left and you gotta hit it 290 in the air and it just doesn’t favor me. I say that and I’m telling you right now it’s my favorite tournament to play in, and I like St. Andrews. It’s just not my favorite of the other ones I’ve played.
Johnson’s point: Every course the British Open is played on is really, really good.
“Muirfield is phenomenal,” Johnson said. “My first was Troon, and I thought that was terrific. Turnberry is great. Lytham is tremendous. Carnoustie is brutally hard, but it’s great. That’s my rationale there.”
Johnson finished in a tie for third at the 2010 PGA Championship (the infamous Dustin Johnson bunker incident) held at Whistling Straits. That didn’t change his opinion of the course that’s set to host the PGA again this year.
“I don’t like Whistling Straits,” Johnson said. “You gotta hit it good, you gotta putt it good obviously. I think it separates the field in that regard. To me it wants to be a links, but it’s the furthest thing from it because it’s all aerial. There’s no runups. You gotta carry it here to carry it there, that kind of thing. Is it beautiful? Stunning. You feel like you’re playing on the ocean. It’s just contrived. That’s why I don’t like it.”
Lucky for Johnson, Augusta National isn’t going anywhere.