Spring 2021 Magazine

Zach Johnson says God's peace allows him 'to play free golf'

With a 4-under 67 on Friday in Carnoustie, Scotland, Zach Johnson heads into the weekend atop the Open Championship leaderboard. He and Kevin Kisner are tied at 6-under overall.

Should he hold on for the victory, it would mark the third major of Johnson’s career. He captured the Masters in 2007 and then the Open Championship in 2015. And he publicly praised God after each title.

After winning the Open at St. Andrews, the 42-year-old Johnson said, “I had some Scripture going in my head. I thank the Lord. I thank my friends. I thank my family. I’m just in awe right now. I feel like God gave me the ability to play a game. I’m just a guy from Iowa who’s been blessed with a talent, and this game provided great opportunity.”

After collecting his green jacket at the Masters in ’07, which came on Easter Sunday, Johnson said, “This being Easter, I cannot help but believe my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ was walking with me. I owe this to Him.”

Johnson is certainly turning to God this week as well, but that’s simply his routine for every golf tournament.

“I’m a Christian guy, and when it comes to my priorities, it’s the utmost,” Johnson said. “For me, just to calm myself down, to keep my perspective when I’m playing, to not make too big a deal of it. That’s where I go. The peace that comes with that allows me to play free golf.”

Though he’s American through and through, he feels at home in Britain. He’s made the cut at each of the past 11 Opens, as he pointed out on Thursday:

Johnson and Kisner tee off Saturday at 11 a.m. ET on NBC.

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