Johnson prevails in dramatic 2014 finale
BY Bruce Young | US PGA Tour | 2013 World Challenge presented by Northwestern Mutual | Wrap | 09 Dec 2013
In what must rank as one of the more dramatic finishes seen in elite tournament golf for some years, Zach Johnson has run down Tiger Woods at the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge at the Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks in California.
Johnson trailed Woods by four shots through ten holes of today’s final round but kept eating away at his lead until a birdie at the 17th saw the pair head to the last tied at 13 under.
Both players missed the green at the 72nd hole, Johnson so much so that he found the hazard and was forced to go back down the fairway in the hope that he might be able to save par and then hope Woods would not be able to get up and down from the deep right hand bunker.
Johnson, though, has proven himself a wizard with his wedges and to his and Wood’s amazement he hold from 60 or so yards the ball pitching level with the hole jumping forward and spinning back into the hole.
Woods played a delightful bunker shot to save par but at the first layoff hole Woods again played a great bunker shot but missed from three feet to hand the title to Johnson.
“Once my ball was in the hazard, my whole process was just, I mean I’m trying to get somewhat around the hole and make a 5,” said Johsnon. "You know, it wasn’t exactly a full wedge shot, but it was one that I could be aggressive with. And 58 yards, trying to hit it about 52, 53, and we saw what it did.
“Shouldn’t have been in that position, but I’ll learn from it. I didn’t complete my back swing on my second shot, and as a result, miss hit it and everything. It was just bad. Just bad. (Laughs). I mean that was the worst shot I hit all day. Wasn’t even close to being – there was no question. It was probably the worst I hit all week.
“I feel very honored to be the champion. This is one of those things on the schedule that’s highlighted. If you can get into it, it’s as good a tournament as I’ve ever played in. I’m not just saying that. Has everything to do with how they do it. Northwestern Mutual, Greg and his staff at the Tiger Woods Foundation, Tiger, certainly Sherwood and the members here. It’s as good as it gets. And it’s great to play an event like this in the so called silly season; right? I don’t know if it’s much of a silly season anymore. But it’s set up just like an old TOUR event, so it gets me ready for January.”
The event was being played for the last occasion at Sherwood Country Club, the new venue to be in Florida.
Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar tied for 3rd position while the only Australian in the field, Jason Day, finished 9th.