GOLF

Zach Johnson took Claret Jug to Waffle House after the 2015 British Open

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Zach Johnson shot a second straight 69 on Friday and appears to be on the right side of the cut line at the John Deere Classic at 4 under, although a number of players did not complete their second round due to a long rain delay.

And while Johnson will certainly be hoping to get closer to leader JT Poston this weekend, many of the questions he asked on Friday related to his victory at the 2015 British Open, when the American won the title at a four-hole playoff match, surviving South Africa. Louis Oosthuizen and the Australian Marc Leishman.

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When it was over and he had been declared golf champion of the year, Johnson won the Claret Jug in a victory lap on the 18th fairway of the Old Course in St. Andrews. He made it down the street, waving to fans and allowing them to touch one of the most prized trophies in all of sport.

It was a fitting tribute from Johnson, who declared himself “just a normal guy from Cedar Rapids, Iowa,” when he shocked the world by winning his first major, the Masters, in 2007.

But while the masses watched him enjoy victory with fans at St. Andrews, what many don’t know is how the 12-time PGA Tour winner celebrated with the esteemed material upon his return to American soil.

Zach Johnson of the United States celebrates with the audience as he holds the trophy after winning a playoff after the final round of the British Open Golf Championship at The Old Course, St. Andrews, Scotland, Monday July 20, 2015. (AP Photo /Jon Super)

He opened up about the subject on Friday after the second round in Silvis, Illinois.

“I arrived in the early hours of the morning the next day. I landed in Jacksonville, about an hour from my house,” Johnson said. “Went to St. Simons where I live and met some pals with my wife, with the Claret Jug and a few friends and no one else at Waffle House at 4am. It was awesome.”

Johnson expanded on the experience, noting that it became more meaningful by the time he was able to spend time with his wife, Kim.

“It was the second Open Championship that my wife was in, so sharing this with her was special. With the kids and the schedule and things of that nature, she just didn’t overstep that much. We were there- down together all week,” Johnson said. “The other thing that was really cool afterwards was getting into the R&A building which is basically just behind the first tee/18th green. a little chat with the members of the R&A, the officials, was really special. To see some of the history in there that they had of a very, very, very old building. Older than this country probably.

“You know, the fact that they embrace me and obviously accept me is something I’ll never forget. That was the last time Peter Dawson captained the R&A, so I was his last champion. Since that moment, we became very good friends.

As for Friday’s turn, Johnson said he was happy to score well, especially after the tough conditions in Thursday’s first round.

“Today was much more manageable and accessible. Yesterday I put probably better overall. Probably hit just as well today; didn’t hit a lot of closing corners today” , did he declare.

“So today was a day of opportunities that I kind of passed up. I hit my driver well, hit a lot of fairways, gave myself a lot of opportunities. I couldn’t do it all. I just don’t capitalize with my wedges. That’s normal, and it’s also a little frustrating.

“But at the same time, I hit some good shots and gave myself chances mostly almost every hole, especially on the entry. That’s all you can ask for.”

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