Zach Johnson fans seeing double at PGA Championship

Brentley Romine

Zach Johnson fans seeing double at PGA Championship

Professional

Zach Johnson fans seeing double at PGA Championship

St. LOUIS — On one January morning in 2009, Zach Johnson received a package addressed from the PGA Tour. When he opened the box, he found four scorecards from the Sony Open mounted on a plaque along with a letter from then-commissioner Tim Finchem congratulating Johnson on his victory.

One problem: The Tour sent them to Zach J. Johnson, a club pro from Farmington, Utah. Not Zach H. Johnson, the 2007 Masters champion and at the time a five-time winner on Tour.

“I didn’t know what it was other than it said PGA Tour on it,” said the non-major-winning Johnson, 35. “I took a box cutter and just cut it open, nicked the plaque with the box cutter. Then I opened the letter and realized it wasn’t for me.”

Zach J. Johnson, a pro at Davis Park Golf Course in Fruit Heights, figures someone new at the Tour grabbed the wrong email from the Tour’s database. (Johnson had played Q-School in the past; he later gave up his touring pro dream in 2009.) However, that wasn’t the only mix-up coming from Tour headquarters in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

The wrong Johnson had also been getting copied on Player Advisory Council emails.

“I was getting emails from Finchem and stuff like, ‘Hey, so and so wants a medical exemption,’ and this and that,” Zach J. said. “I kept thinking, I don’t think you guys want me having these.”

Luckily, the right Johnson was also on the email chain, so the Utah pro was able to send a message notifying the PGA Tour pro that he had his package. Within 10 minutes, the Tour called and asked that it be sent back.

“It’s been some fun, lighthearted humor over the years,” said Zach J., who is called the “Local Zach Johnson” back home.

Yet to this day, the two Johnson golfers have never met. That could change this week at the 100th PGA Championship, where both Zach Johnsons are in the field.

Zach H., of course, is in as the 2015 British Open champion and the world’s 50th-ranked player. Zach J., who turned pro in 2006 out of Southern Utah, qualified for his first major championship by tying for 12th at the 2018 PGA Professional Championship.

It was easily the biggest accomplishment to date for the 35-year-old Johnson, who also won this year’s TaylorMade National Championship at Pebble Beach and the 2013 Utah Open.

“Nothing that’s noteworthy for most,” Zach J. added.

Especially a two-time major winner. However, the two Johnsons do share a similar game. They both are shorter hitters who keep the ball in play.

“He doesn’t miss much,” said Zach J.’s caddie Taylor Laybourne, the assistant at Davis Park.

Apparently, some people so far at Bellerive have missed quite a bit.

“I’ve already been confused for the real Zach Johnson about 12 times today,” Zach J. said Monday. “Trust me, I disappoint a lot of people.”

Added Laybourne, the assistant at Davis Park: “I grabbed his bag and someone goes, ‘Wait, you’re not Damon Green.'”

Zach J. has a few goals this week, but mostly have fun and try to make the cut. Oh, and hopefully meet the other Zach Johnson.

“I’ve heard he’s a true gentleman,” Zach J. said, “so if we get a chance to meet, that will be a huge treat.”

For Zach Johnson fans this week in St. Louis, the treat will be twice as nice.

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