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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Although Johnson is no longer the force that he once was, it's not to say that he can't still find himself among the top 10 often and be able to find another Tour win at some point. He found a more consistent level of play in 2020-21, making 75-percent of his cuts - his best mark in three seasons. It's a tall task for him to compete on longer courses at this point in his career but don't count him out on venues that require accuracy off-the-tee and put a premium on putting.
It took a clutch top-10 performance at the regular season finale for Johnson to even join the FedEx Cup Playoffs, but he was bounced after the first leg at 105th in the standings following a T49 at the Northern Trust. Johnson posted just one top-10 result for a second straight season, and the 44-year-old ended his 2019-20 campaign outside of the top 100 in SG: Tee-to-Green. The veteran was top-20 in putting from inside 10 feet and putting from 10-15 feet, however.
The former top-10 golfer and two-time major champion has been fading for a number of years now. But his slide was never like it was last season, when the 43-year-old Johnson missed the playoffs for the first time. He wound up 154th in the point standings - after finishing in the 40s-50s the three previous seasons - and has fallen well outside the top 100 in the world rankings. Johnson maintains full playing privileges thanks to his 2015 win at the Open - still his most recent win. This five-year exemption ends with this coming season, however. In the past, Johnson could always fall back on strong showings at the John Deere and the Open to get a good chunk of his points for the season. But he didn't even do that in the 2018-19 season, finishing outside the top 35 at the Deere and missing the cut at Royal Portrush. His lone top-10 came almost a year ago at the RSM Classic, and there is little reason to expect anything better this season. Of course, Johnson will be entered in at least two majors, the Masters and the Open.
Are Johnson's best days on the golf course behind him? Probably. Does he have one last charge in him? Possibly. Johnson has had a fine career, often living inside the top 30 on the PGA Tour, but he hasn't won in the past three seasons and he hasn't played in the Tour Championship during that time either. He's still performing at a high- evel, averaging more than $2 million in earnings in each of the last three seasons, but he doesn't have that extra gear any longer. As recently as a few years ago, a $4 million season wasn't out of the question, but as we get further away from 2015, the last time he won on the PGA Tour, the less likely it is that we'll see that Zach Johnson again.
It's hard to explain what happened to Johnson last season. There were no reports of injuries and he had everything to play for with the Ryder Cup waiting at the end of the season, yet he laid a huge egg -- relatively speaking. Johnson's previous four seasons on the PGA Tour were outstanding. He earned no less than $3.3. million in any of those season and he won at least once per year. Johnson is simply not a middle-of-the-pack guy and that's how he played last season. With that in mind, he makes for a great salary cap option this season. In draft leagues he should go in the second- or third-round.
Johnson came into the 2014 portion of the season as hot as anyone out there, but after a few good results, he simply faded away. Most of Johnson's earnings came prior to February, which is a little concerning, but considering his long track record on the PGA Tour, it's not a question of if he'll bounce-back, but when. Heck, even if he fails to produce during the meat of the regular season in 2015, you can at least expect some good production in the fall season as well as the early part of the 2015 season. His 2014 number is low enough to justify a salary cap selection and he should go somewhere in rounds two or three in draft leagues.
Johnson struggled out of the gate in 2013, but he finished with a fury that saw him end up in the top-10 on the money list last year. That furious stretch included seven top-10s in eight events and over 3$ million in earnings. The early-season struggles are a little alarming, but Johnson has been too good for too long to think it's anything more than just one bad stretch in an otherwise solid career. Expect Johnson to start and finish strong in 2014. Johnson should go in the 10-20 range in draft formats, but his number is probably too high to be considered in salary cap formats.
Is it possible to have a quiet year while earning more than $4.5 million? Johnson sure had a nice season in 2012, but he was overshadowed by higher-profile players. That's fine with Johnson, however. He's operated under those circumstances his entire career, and it hasn't slowed him. It seems like an eternity since Johnson captured his green jacket, and even though he didn't ascend to new heights after that victory, he has managed to keep a high level of play. That level should return this year, as well. Johnson is about as steady as they come, and 2013 should look an awful lot like 2012, but therein lies the problem with Johnson in salary cap leagues. He will produce again in 2013, that is a given, but the odds are against a significant improvement from his 2012 earnings. In draft leagues, Johnson should be a late first-round selection.
Johnson had an off year in 2011, but he's simply too good and too consistent to remain out of the Top 30 again this season. Johnson peaked in 2009 when he earned nearly $5 million and captured two wins on the PGA Tour, and though he's not likely to get back up to those numbers again, he's also not likely to come in at less than $2 million again this year. Johnson nearly won the Chevron challenge in December, which is a good sign for this season. Look for Johnson to get back to his winning ways and once again surpass $3 million in earnings. In draft leagues, Johnson could go as early as the second-round but more likely in the third round.
Johnson has at least one victory in each of his last four seasons, and there's no reason to think that streak will end this year. Johnson is among the most consistent players on the PGA TOUR and has proven he can handle big spots. He is almost certain to earn at least $2 million each season, and his ceiling is high, as he proved in 2009 when he almost cracked $5 million. Johnson relies heavily on accuracy off the tee and putting, two areas where he shined in 2010 when he finished in the top 10 in both categories.
Zach Johnson's 2009 was very impressive. His success was not limited to any one part of the season; he played well early, middle, and late. While Johnson is not the flashiest player on the Tour, he's certainly one of the most consistent, and everything about his game is solid and reliable. Now, for the bad part. Johnson will have a very difficult time improving on his 2009 numbers after setting the bar so high last season. Though he will likely play well again in 2010, the odds of Johnson easily topping $5 million in earnings are slim. He finished 2008 ranked at 46th and improved to 22nd in the final 2009 Official World Golf Rankings.
The age-old question, a down year, trend or mirage? In this case, the stats point to mirage. After all, we are talking about a multiple winner on the PGA Tour. There's no excuse that explains what happened to Johnson last year. Chalk it up to an off year.
After years of showing promise, Zach Johnson finally broke through with the big one last April. The fact that he won a major so early in his career was a little surprising, the manner in which he accomplished the feat was shocking. Johnson not only took home the most coveted major, but he also beat Tiger Woods in the process. How did he do it? Simple, he stuck to his game, which says a lot about Johnson. He's not worried about the other guy, he plays within himself. That mentality is most likely the product of being one of the shorter hitters on tour, but it serves him well. Most players will get caught up in the new found fame of being a major champion and struggle the following year, but Johnson has a good head on his shoulders, and should be fine.
If you were to plot Johnson's results from 2006 it would look like a roller coaster. There's a high point, then a drop-off for about four to five events, than another high point, then a drop-off. He likely has not yet reached his potential. Johnson got his first victory early in his rookie season of 2004, but has yet to capture another one since. One of these years, he's going to tap that potential and have a really big year. Could be 2007.
Zach let me down last year. I had him pegged for a break-out year, and that did not happen. There were signs that it might happen early on, but once the Tour left Florida, Johnson forgot how to play. He always plays well in Florida, but he can't find consistency elsewhere. That said, it's too early to give up on him. A price of $1.8 million is a steal this year.
Johnson's 2004 season was better than even we imagined. Funny thing is, we don't think he's anywhere near the top of his game yet -- Johnson has room to grow. Take a look at some of his stats and you'll know why we're high on Johnson: Top 30 in Putting, GIR, and Driving accuracy. The only area where he could improve is driving distance, but that stat is highly overrated.
Nationwide Tour money leader from 2003. Normally wouldn't consider too heavily, but he finished in the top 3 nine times in twenty tourneys. Resume looks a lot like Chad Campbell's did a couple years ago.
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