Matthew R. Perry

What Do You Think CBS Thought of Zach Johnson Giving Credit to Christ for His Masters Win?

In Sports on April 9, 2007 at 9:28 am

Zach Johnson posted a one-over-par 289 to win the 2007 Masters, a PGA Major Golf Tournament “unlike any other.” I enjoyed sitting and watching the final round with my son Daniel (all of 18 months) and was amazed not only with how well Johnson played, but how well he displayed his faith, giving credit to Christ and acknowledging the blessedness of this Easter Sunday.

I don’t even know what I shot, but I know that I had a lot of people giving me some good words of wisdom over the last week. My coaches clearly, our Tour chaplain, and being Easter Sunday, I felt like there was certainly another power that was walking with me and guiding me.

LinksPlayers.com has a profile of Zach, including a portion of his testimony. An excerpt is included below:

Closeness to God is something that has not always been there for Zach Johnson. He was raised to know Christ and actively participated in the family’s church. In fact, Johnson says, he did have a relationship with Jesus. His parents taught their children to take their faith seriously, and Johnson prayed trusting God. But many aspects of his faith were not mature enough to survive the first few years away from home.

“I loved my four years of college,” he says, looking back, “but that’s kind of when things went astray as far as my faith went. I call those my ‘blind years.’ I’d go to church with my parents, and it didn’t mean as much as it did before. There was not as much prayer in my life.”

In 2002, while living and playing his winter golf in Florida, Johnson met his wife, Kim. They lived in the same apartment complex.

“She was the one who brought me a long way back to where I was, but in a more adult mind frame. Before my faith had been more childish.

“She really guided me along,” Johnson says. “She didn’t push me or pressure me. She just got my mind thinking. She provoked it in a very good manner. That’s something I can never repay her for, but it was extremely wonderful.”

Still, while Johnson had started thinking about his faith more deeply, he hadn’t made any commitments. And even if he’d wanted to commit to Kim, she was hesitant.

“There was something in her heart that she could never marry a non-Christian man,” Johnson says.

But Johnson wasn’t sure this applied to him. “I always thought, You know, I’m a good guy, I believe in God. She can marry me. At that time I believed that all good people went to heaven, regardless.”

In a pre-marital class at Kim’s church in Orlando, however, the issue became clearer for Johnson. He needed to have a relationship with Jesus Christ.

“One night in particular during that class, I remember that questions were being asked and my mind was searching and wandering. Then I was talking with my mom on the phone, and suddenly everything kind of hits you in the forehead and you just kind of open your eyes. I didn’t think I was blind so much,” Johnson recalls.

Zach and Kim were married a few weeks before his 2003 Nationwide Tour campaign began. And everything since has been—you know by now—a learning experience.

The biggest lesson, Johnson says, is not to take his life for granted.

“I haven’t had any tragedy in my life,” he says. “My whole family’s healthy. So really He’s helping me to learn to appreciate what I have.”

Johnson insists the lesson is bigger than that: “It’s realizing that what I have isn’t mine. It’s His.”

All those seasons of practice to get to where he is and now Johnson’s not staking a claim to what he’s got? That really is a lesson for a man still a year shy of 30.

But Johnson hasn’t learned these lessons alone. Kim has been there, holding him accountable. And she has been praying that men would enter Zach’s life who could hold him accountable as well. That prayer has been answered.

Johnson gives credit to his teacher Mike Bender, his agent Brad Buffoni, and other guys on Tour who have come alongside him, including Ben Crane, whose first win also came at the BellSouth, one year earlier. There have been others, leaders in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the tour Bible studies. “All these men welcomed me and encouraged me, and vice versa,” Johnson says.

It’s always refreshing to see someone in the spotlight give glory to God and His Son Jesus.

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  1. Can you provide a link or source for Zach’s comments where he named the name of Christ after winning the Master’s? I read through the interview transcript that contained that excerpt you provided at the beginning of your post, but I couldn’t find anywhere in there where he talked about Jesus.

    Thanks!

  2. Okay,

    I found one mention in an article where Johnson is quoted as saying,

    “Being Easter, Jesus was with me every step of the way. I felt Him,”

    Were there any other instances to which you are referring?

    Thanks.

  3. From the Des Moines Register. Granted, it’s their interpretation, but given the way the media operates, Johnson apparently was clear enough to give Christ the credit:

    Johnson said with a cracking voice as he talked with CBS near the 18th green that the victory meant even more on Easter, as he credited Jesus and his late grandfather for helping him steel nerves.

    Click here to read the entire article.

  4. i wished he would stop talking

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