Zach Johnson captured the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge after doing something that only a handful of players before him had ever managed – beating Tiger Woods in a play-off.
Former Masters champion Johnson defeated the world No.1 at the first extra hole at Sherwood Country Club in California after producing a storming performance on the back nine to rein in Woods’ lead.
Tiger had started the day with a two-shot advantage and extended that lead to four shots after ten holes of the final round. However, Johnson found four birdies down the stretch and, after almost shanking his approach at 18 into the water, incredibly chipped in from the drop zone to tie Woods on 13-under and take the contest into extra holes.
The US Ryder Cup star parred the first of those and watched as Tiger failed to convert a four-foot putt to prolong matters.
"He's the best I've ever played with and I want to put myself in that position" - Zach Johnson
"Everybody talks about going head to head with Tiger,” said Zach Johnson, whose win catapults him in the top ten of the world rankings for the first time in his career. “That's what I want as a competitor. I want to play against the best. He's the best I've ever played with and I want to put myself in that position.
"I just like to compete and being in those situations where you get into holes you have to execute, you have to hit a shot. I feel very honoured to be the champion."
For Tiger, the defeat marked only the fourth time in his career that he’d lost when holding a lead of at least two shots going into the final round. It also denied him the opportunity to end a mixed year on a high with what would have been his sixth victory of 2013.
Reflecting on the final round, Woods pinpointed a poor day with the putter for his defeat.
“Putting comes and goes,” he said. “It is what it is. You have your good days and bad days. Friday, I made everything, and a couple of these days I made a lot of mid‑range putts for pars. Today was just one of those days where I just didn't make a lot.
“But it’s been a pretty damn good year. Five wins on some pretty good venues, so I’m very pleased.”
Zach Johnson: Career at a glance
A look at Zach Johnson’s record on the PGA Tour...
Total starts: 264
Top 10s: 52
Cuts made: 214
Career prize money: $30,431,652