Golf

'My dreams never got this far': Zach Johnson on how he became Ryder Cup captain

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In just over a month, Zach Johnson will lead Team USA at the Ryder Cup.
It’s no small accomplishment to be tapped as a Ryder Cup captain. The list of captains is a who’s-who of golf royalty, and to be mentioned alongside them is a privilege that only a few know. Just 29 golfers have led the American team in a Ryder Cup. When Johnson leads the U.S. team into Rome, he will be No. 30.
When Johnson found out he was being selected as the newest Ryder Cup captain, there was only one word to describe his emotion: shock.
“I’d be lying to you if I said I [expected to be a Ryder Cup captain],” Johnson said on this week’s episode of GOLF’s Subpar. “I always had dreams of playing professional sports, specifically the PGA Tour, but no, my dreams never got this far.”
Johnson said that the moment he got the phone call is one that he’ll never forget. Even in a career that includes wins at Augusta National and St Andrews, getting that call is a moment that Johnson cherishes right alongside them.
“I’m thinking it’s a Ryder Cup committee call,” Johnson said. “Lo and behold I get on this Zoom. You’ve got the president, the vice president, Seth Waugh and a couple other individuals there and some of my peers. Basically, they were just like, ‘We’re gonna cut right to the chase and ask you to be the next Ryder Cup captain.’ It’s one of those surreal moments that you have.”
But although Johnson was over the moon to receive that call, he did not accept the position immediately. With the responsibility required to be captain, Johnson wanted to make sure he gave it the proper amount of thought.
“Once my peers said, ‘Hey, it’s your turn. You should do it. We want you to do it.’ Then it became an easy yes,” Johnson said.
Check out the entire episode of Subpar below.

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for GOLF.com where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with the Texas Golf Association, Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf. He can be reached at zephyr_melton@golf.com.
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