What They Said Zach Johnson 2009: Tuesdays Announcement

What they said Zach Johnson

As part of Tuesday’s announcement by PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem concerning the TOUR’s renewed commitment to charitable efforts, veteran pro discussed the involvement
from a tournament’s perspective, as well as his flood-relief efforts in his home state of Iowa last summer: Flash back, I remember I was at the U.S. Open last year at Torrey Pines and had my family out there. They had just flown in mid-week, probably Tuesday or Wednesday of that week, and prior to that they were sandbagging, expecting some sort of high water just based on what had happened, a culmination of a lot of snow and certainly rain in the spring. We were out there in San Diego, and I played Thursday’s round and started — water started to rise, started to rise, started to rise. We’re seeing it on CNN, we’re seeing it on the internet, videos and that sort of thing. Get out there Friday, play my round, and I think I played late that day if I’m not mistaken. And I got done with my round, and I didn’t play very well. I don’t know what I shot, but quite a bit over. One of our media relations guys pulled me aside and said, there’s quite a few people that want to hear from you. I’m like, did I do something wrong, rules infraction What happened Then I pulled up there and I saw all their faces, and I thought, oh, I know exactly what this is about. Basically Friday my hometown alone, the river crested about 22 feet above flood level in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, which you can’t prepare yourself for emotionally. It was just an instant shock to the system. So at that point for me golf, work, everything just kind of seemed peripheral. My focus and my prayers and my heart was certainly back home. You know, right there it just gave me instant gratification as to I’m honored and privileged to be on the PGA TOUR, knowing what they did that quickly, where their heart was, where their mindset was certainly just helped me emotionally, making sure that — I just felt that being associated with this organization, I’m very lucky. You know, the one thing that my wife and I, we always — not always, but consistently draw back on is we feel very blessed to be out here. We’re obviously chasing a white golf ball, hitting it and chasing it again, so we feel like I’m able to play golf for a living, and I’ve been given a lot. So with that, much is expected. That’s our responsibility. I asked two guys to come up and play, and we did a nine-hole exhibition, and the first two guys on my list — well, these guys were on there, but I think one of them was battling for the Ryder Cup and that sort of thing, so I asked who lived right next to me at the time, and then a good buddy of mine Todd Hamilton who had Midwest ties, and I didn’t have to ask twice. Those two guys jumped on a plane, came up, we had a great day, coordinated it around an Iowa State football game, raised some funds, but more than that raised and maintained awareness in that area, because when that hit in June it seemed like our country was getting compounded with a lot of issues. Certainly the economy was going in the direction it has gone, then you had some hurricanes in the south, you had the elections, and the awareness just kind of quit. No one’s fault, that’s just where it went. So that was the main point of that. The beauty of that awareness was I remember getting the phone call — actually, I was sitting at home watching a basketball game — excuse me, a football game, and someone from PGA TOUR Productions contacted my agent and said, we’d like to do a piece on this flood benefit thing you’re doing. I’m like, okay. You guys would like to show up for the event, that would be great. They’re like, we want to do more than that. In a matter of three hours they put together I’d say probably about a 10 to 12-minute documentary on Cedar Rapids alone and the floods, kind of had me back there. It was the first time I had been back, so emotions were certainly like a roller coaster. And this DVD that Tour Productions put together, strictly their expense, they came up and did the whole thing, two or three hours of my time, we have this now certainly on DVD and we’re able to use it for the future. We’re able to use it for maintaining awareness, use it for companies or even individuals that really want to be a part of helping families out and kids out.
On the flipside, I’ve been with the John Deere Classic on their board for a number of years, and that’s been a learning experience, a great experience. It’s one of those things where I’ve got some ties back there. They’ve been great to me. The people on that board, the people that run that tournament make it worth my time. They’re fantastic individuals. They get it. I know it’s not a highlight on most of the guys’ schedules (laughter), but it is on mine. It’s one of those tournaments where it’s very family oriented, they do some things, extracurricular away from the golf course, that really lend itself to being just fun. They do this Big Dig thing with John Deere equipment, and it makes the families and the kids just have a good evening.

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