Zach Johnson Claims 4th Ryder Cup Berth, McIlroy Wins PGA Championship
Cedar Rapids native barely earns spot on U.S. squads
By Mike Hlas, The Gazette
By a very slim margin, Zach Johnson has earned a spot on the 2014 U.S. Ryder Cup team.
Johnson tied for 70th at the PGA Championship Sunday at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky., and may have thought his hopes of an automatic spot on the U.S. team went out the window with his final-round 77.
Jason Sobel of GolfChannel.com tweeted that Johnson declined to speak to the media after his round. Johnson himself tweeted this Sunday evening:
What I played today would be classified as really bad golf.’
The Cedar Rapids native began the tournament in ninth place on the U.S. standings, with the top nine at tourney’s end automatically qualifying for the team in the Sept. 26-28 competition in Gleneagles, Scotland. Three more players will be chosen on Sept. 2 by team captain Tom Watson.
The 35.8 points Johnson earned for his finish nudged him ahead of his 2012 Ryder Cup doubles partner, Jason Dufner, and no one besides PGA runner-up Phil Mickelson passed Johnson Sunday.
The final total: Johnson 3,568.694, Dufner 3,559.720. A slim, slim margin.
Dufner withdrew from the PGA during Thursday’s first round because of bulging discs in his neck.
Ryan Palmer and Ryan Moore could have passed Johnson Sunday, but Palmer needed to finish second at the PGA and tied for fifth, while Moore needed to finish 17th and tied for 41st.
It will be Johnson’s fourth Ryder Cup appearance. He was on the 2006, 2010 and 2012 teams. The Americans lost in all three of those years.
Johnson is also a three-time Presidents Cup member (2007, 2009, 2013). The U.S. won in each of those years.
Johnson’s Ryder Cup matches record is 6-4-3. Matt Kuchar (3-2-2) is the only other player among the other eight American qualifiers with a winning record.
The nine qualifiers in order of points: 1. Bubba Watson, 2. Jim Furyk, 3. Rickie Fowler, 4. Jimmy Walker, 5. Mickelson, 6. Kuchar, 7. Jordan Spieth, 8. Patrick Reed, 9. Johnson.