Z. Johnson misses playoffs for first time; ‘Didn’t have it this week, or this year’
GREENSBORO, N.C. – For the first time in the FedExCup era, the playoffs will not include Zach Johnson.
The two-time major winner has largely struggled this season, with no top-15 finishes since November. His season came to an end Sunday at the Wyndham Championship, where a closing 66 left him at 8 under and outside the top 50.
Johnson entered the week at 152nd in the season-long points race, needing at least a top-6 finish at Sedgefield Country Club to make the 125-man field at next week’s Northern Trust.
“Extreme disappointment. That’s about all I’ve got at this point is just extreme disappointment,” Johnson said. “I mean, I didn’t play as much as I typically do in the past, probably 3-5 tournaments less, but that’s just because of the season of life that I’m in. So there’s more opportunity when you play more, but that has nothing to do with my play.”
Once a fixture near the top of the rankings, Johnson has slipped to 126th in the world. He will remain fully exempt next season in the final part of a five-year exemption for winning the 2015 Open, an insurance that the 43-year-old admitted allowed him to play with added “freedom” during a lean year.
“I’m trying to win golf tournaments. I don’t come here to top-25, or top-125 for FedEx,” Johnson said. “If I come here just to sustain, then I’m going to get lapped. I mean, I come here to win. Just didn’t have it this week, or this year.”
When asked to identify the main reason for his struggles this season, Johnson was quick to point to the putter. He was inside the top 25 on Tour in strokes gained: putting in both 2016 and 2017, but slipped to 60th last season and entered this week ranked 117th on the greens.
But Johnson was also the most high-profile player to sign an equipment deal with PXG in 2016, a move that came just months after his victory at St. Andrews when he was ranked 13th in the world. While he has not won since and will now miss the postseason for the first time, he bluntly refuted the notion that his equipment change has had a negative impact on his game.
“That’s false,” Johnson said. “For me, it’s the best stuff. It’s not even a question.”
Johnson’s absence next week leaves only nine players who have made the playoffs every year since 2007: Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Justin Rose, Adam Scott, Brandt Snedeker, Bubba Watson, Charles Howell III, Ryan Moore and Charley Hoffman.