Zach Johnson has described himself as “just an everyday man from Cedar Rapids, Zach Johnson has been appointed as the United States’ Ryder Cup captain for the 2023 edition in Italy.Iowa” on numerous occasions.
His life is supported by his family and his faith. As courteous as the day is long Work ethic is strong, yet he is also laid-back, accessible, considerate, and charitable. His Midwestern ideals, if you will, are always at the ready, and he has a down-to-earth spirit.
Johnson, on the other hand, undersells himself, particularly when it comes to the numerous stages throughout the world where he’s worked. Johnson is amazing, with a green jacket in the Champions Locker Room at Augusta National, a Claret Jug on his mantle, and 10 pieces of hardware commemorating his past 10 PGA Tour victories.
He joined Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Sam Snead, Seve Ballesteros, and Nick Faldo as the only players to win both the Masters and the British Open on the Old Course when he won the 2015 Open Championship.
That isn’t something you see every day.
Johnson can now add Ryder Cup captain to his list of accomplishments.
On Monday, Johnson, 46, was named captain of Team USA for the 2023 Ryder Cup at the PGA of America headquarters in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Johnson has played in five Ryder Cups (8-7-2 record) and four Presidents Cups (10-6-1) and served as an assistant captain in the last two Ryder Cups. He is the Team USA’s 30th captain.
What is his mission? In the 44th edition of the biannual matches versus Europe at Marco Simone Golf & Country Club in Rome, Italy, to end the United States’ 30-year drought on foreign soil. Johnson was 17 years old when the United States last won on foreign soil, in 1993.
“I’m really looking forward to it. All of my emotions are coursing through my veins. Johnson, who has never visited Italy, described it as “pure honor.” “Just knowing that I can lead this fantastic squad in Italy and represent my country is flattering,” he added. “I played in my first Ryder Cup in 2006, and it did not go as planned as a team.” That being said, I became fixated on it almost immediately. It was fantastic, and the team togetherness, chemistry, and everything about it drew me in. I’m a team sports fan, so when you’re playing an individual game and then you’re in this arena as a band, it’s enthralling, and I just really embraced it. Everything about it appealed to me.”
By being named captain, the “ordinary” Iowan joins Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, and Tom Watson as the only players to win the Masters and an Open Championship while also serving as captain of the USA Ryder Cup.
“You simply rambled some off when you think of true legends,” Johnson added. “That kind of smacked me in the face right there.” I am incredibly grateful to be a member of Team USA in any way, but serving as the captain was something I had never imagined.”
Johnson has already begun his work, naming Steve Stricker, the 2021 Ryder Cup captain, as one of his assistants.
Johnson remarked, “I’m delighted and honored to have him on my team.” “To be honest, I appreciate the class with which he took this position and led, and so having him as a sounding board, someone I know I can trust, and a terrific friend, a close friend, is invaluable.” I’m ecstatic that he wanted to participate.
“His approach in 2020 was rather straightforward. Just keep things simple, right? That was the word. He gave everyone of the 12 people a voice. He gave them the flexibility to go about their week as if it were a regular tournament, despite the fact that we all know it isn’t, and I think the simplicity was very lovely.”
Johnson also stated that he will make six captain’s picks, similar to what was done in 2021 after COVID-19 canceled 13 tournaments.
“We enjoy the way things are set up.” The PGA Ryder Cup Committee favored the arrangement of six earned berths and six choices, according to Johnson. “We don’t believe we need to make any changes.”
And nothing about his responsibilities as captain have changed – at least not yet – in the wake of the possible Saudi Arabia-backed Super Golf League, which would suck players away from the PGA Tour and compete directly with it. Johnson was asked if he would consider giving Phil Mickelson a captain’s selection; Mickelson is engaged in controversy after making nasty remarks about the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia’s harsh dictatorship, remarks that resulted in sponsors dumping him and Mickelson taking time off from the game.
“Given where we are right now, I have no idea what my vice captains will be or who will be on this team,” Johnson added. “Given where we are today and what I know, one, I am a product of the PGA Tour and I totally support it, and two, nothing has changed in my opinion as of now.”
Johnson, who is ranked No. 188 in the world and hasn’t won since winning the 2015 Open Championship, will continue to play a full schedule on the PGA Tour. He believes that his greatest golf is yet to come, and he will take advantage of every chance during the weeks he is on the course to strengthen his relationships with players, start new ones, and respond to all queries. Johnson is well aware of the difficulty of winning on foreign soil, and he will not spend any time in preparation.
“The way I’m wired, I love it when people, teams, and entities put themselves in a difficult circumstance; a situation where they are probably not expected to succeed, but do,” Johnson remarked. “I’m not saying I dreamed of being in this position; if anything, it beyond my expectations, but when my peers said it was my turn, I should do it; their faith in me to lead a team over the pond in Europe in Italy, I jumped at the opportunity.
“I have a lot of fun competing over there.” I enjoy pushing myself to new limits. I enjoy making people uncomfortable. That strikes me as weird, yet I enjoy it when things are difficult.
It will be difficult. But it’s also a wonderful opportunity for me to get out there and give these people a chance to be themselves and play freely, and that’s how I’m going to approach it. In Italy, I’m looking forward to walking hand in hand with my wife and just getting down to business.”