Ryder Cup: Zach Johnson needs no extra motivation

Zach Johnson plays out the bunker during practice. Picture: PA
Zach Johnson plays out the bunker during practice. Picture: PA
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ZACH Johnson says he does not need any extra motivation to improve on a dismal record at the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles this week.

The US team has lost seven of the last nine events and, the last time the teams met, in what became known as the “Miracle at Medinah” in 2012, the Americans threw away a commanding four-point lead going into the last-day singles to lose by 14½ points to 13½.

“I don’t need any motivation for the Ryder Cup,” Johnson said. “Granted, Medinah was sour, or bitter-sweet. I mean it was a great week but bitter in the end for us. But, regardless of what happened two years prior, motivation for this golf tournament is just not needed.

“It’s the best sporting event I have been associated with inside the ropes, for sure, and, as a result, motivation is not an issue.”

Johnson, who is known for his gritty temperament, accuracy off the tee and brilliant short game, expects the atmosphere to be as intense as ever at Gleneagles.

“The bottom line is that this is an individual game,” said the 38-year-old, who has won 11 times on the PGA Tour.

“When you take such an individual game and combine that with team-mates, leaders and obviously you are representing your country, you’ve got your nation’s flag on your sleeve, it adds more to it, there’s more weight involved.

“As a result, each shot has more weight. It probably shouldn’t, it is still just golf, but you can’t help the fact that it means more. It brings out the best and worst of everybody.”

Johnson has compiled a creditable win-loss-half record of 6-4-1 from his first three Ryder Cups, but would dearly love to savour the experience of being on a triumphant team for the first time.

“It’s a goal of mine,” he said. “I can’t deny that. I would certainly give my individual record away for it. I certainly would sit down for the team. I would do anything just to have a ‘W’ [win].

“How important is it? I don’t want to say it’s the loftiest of goals, but it has kept me up at night at times, put it that way.”