By Mark Lamport-Stokes
CHASKA, Minnesota (Reuters) – Twice major winner Zach Johnson has built a career record that most of his peers would envy but it gnaws at him that he has yet to taste Ryder Cup success after playing for the United States on four teams.
Johnson is one of the most experienced players in Davis Love III’s 12-man lineup assembled at Hazeltine National and says he is excited about the chance this week for the U.S. to beat holders Europe, who have won eight of the past 10 editions.
“I want to win more tournaments, I certainly want to win more majors or be in contention to win more majors or have the opportunity to win majors,” Johnson told reporters on Thursday, the final day of official practice.
“If there’s anything that’s kind of left on the docket, it’s the fact that I have not been on a winning Ryder Cup team yet.
“I’m not suggesting it’s going to be this week, because that’s not the right thing to say … but I like the opportunity presented this week. I’m excited to get out there and compete.”
Johnson, who has compiled a win-loss-halve record of 6-6-2 after playing in the Ryder Cup in 2006, 2010, 2012 and 2014, believes that results over the past decade have been much closer than the scores would suggest.
“I know in 2014 we got beat pretty bad,” said the 40-year-old from Iowa, referring to their crushing five-point defeat at Gleneagles in Scotland. “That goes without saying. But since ’08, where we won in ’08, it’s not as bad as it seems.
“We won most of the sessions in 2010, even though there were only four instead of five (at rain-hit Celtic Manor). In 2012, we won three, halved one and lost one.
“It’s really just about execution. But getting in a position to be able to execute properly, a lot of guys have alluded to that. I think we’re just in a much better position as a team to go out there, tandem-wise and individually, and execute.”
Meticulous preparation and a democratic approach by captain Love, who wanted his players to have “a vested interest” in every aspect of their team, have resulted in a “something different about this year”, according to Johnson.
“There’s been a lot of positive flow … it just seems like we’re all on the same page,” said Johnson, who won his first major title at the 2007 Masters before adding a second at last year’s British Open.
(Editing by Tony Jimenez)