By now, surely you know Zach Johnson. He’s been on the PGA Tour since the early 2000s. He’s won majors at Augusta and St. Andrews. He’s a U.S. Ryder Cup stalwart, and he’s on his way to the World Golf Hall of Fame.
If you think all these things, you are right. But you’re also wrong. Confused? You’re not alone. Let us explain.
This week at the PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, there are two Zach Johnsons in the field. Johnson is hardly rare name. But having two ZJs in the strongest tournament field of the year is a pretty crazy coincidence.
The “Other ZJ” is 35-year-old Zach Johnson, the assistant PGA professional at Davis Park Golf Course in Kaysville, Utah. A former collegiate golfer at Southern Utah University and Q-school dropout, Johnson is one of 20 PGA pros who survived the long qualification process to earn a spot at Bellerive.
According to the Standard-Examiner, Johnson’s road to the PGA field began “last September in sectional qualifying when Johnson tied for first place in the Utah Section PGA Professional Championship in Wendover with a score of 5-under par. That score earned him a berth in June’s PGA Professional Championship in Seaside, California near Monterey, where the top 20 finishers qualify for the PGA Championship.”
And so this week Johnson, who attempted to gain his PGA Tour card through Q-school from 2006-2009, will make his first Tour start under the proverbial bright lights of a major championship.
As noted before, the appearance of two Zach Johnsons has thrown some people off, and one fan took his confusion straight to the two-time major-winning ZJ on Twitter. He jokingly asked why the veteran ZJ had switched from PXG to TaylorMade right before a major (Utah’s ZJ is sponsored by TaylorMade). Joke or not, the real ZJ responded with a correction:
The original Zach Johnson begins his quest for a third major victory at 2:48 p.m. ET on Thursday. Zach J. Johnson, as he’s conveniently designated on the official PGA leaderboard, makes his debut at 3:05 p.m. ET with Michael Kim and Seungsu Han.