Infamous Ryder Cup Captain Zach Johnson Indicates a Rising ‘Tiger Woods Effect’ Despite Being a Hungry Veteran

What is age? Just a number. 48-year-old Zach Johnson is a living example of this maxim. The infamous 2023 American Ryder Cup captain is all set to make his 23rd appearance in the 2024 John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, Illinois—an event he won back in 2012.

In a pre-game presser, the 12-time PGA Tour winner shared his views on being highly active in the game even at 48 years of age. And lo, arguably golf’s biggest legend, Tiger Woods, found a mention. After all, like he made it clear in the interview, the 82-time PGA Tour winner has had a lasting effect on everyone in the game.

Despite his age, Johnson has been performing well. This season alone, he has 4 top-25 finishes, missing only 5 cuts of the 12 events on the Tour he’s played in. And even though he’s no longer in his prime, the golf veteran believes he still possesses the drive and hunger to do well on the greens. I’m still hungry. A lot of what I do in practice, a lot of what I’m doing in tournaments, I’ve had a lot of peers — and I’m not just saying this to be — sounds arrogant but I don’t mean to be — man, you still got it. Thank you. I feel like I do, too.”

Johnson, who claimed that age had done nothing to deter his zeal, also mentioned how the younger player too shared that same hunger that he had. They’re athletes. They’re hungry,” he said, talking about how arguably everyone in pro golf was driven. And what, as per him, led to that drive? “You can call it whatever you want. The knowledge of the game, the Tiger Woods effect, technology, all that plays a factor.What is the ‘Tiger Woods Effect’?

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One could write a book about the ‘Tiger Woods Effect’ and yet explain it in a single sentence! Simply put, it is the great surge in the game when the legend is around, and the sudden dip when he’s not. The easiest examples that one can turn to would be the TV ratings and crowd attendance. When Tiger Woods was mostly absent from the greens between 2013 and 2017 due to personal issues and injuries, crowd attendance fell 11% and TV viewership fell 18%.

Notably, when the 15-time major winner made his comeback at the 2018 British Open, the TV rating increased by 38% compared to the previous year. Moreover, his appearance at the 2018 PGA Championship proved highly fruitful, as the ratings increased by 69% as compared to 2017. The list doesn’t end there. That same year, when Woods competed in the Tour Championship (he won the event), the final round recorded the highest rating of the year for any tournament other than a major.

USA Today via Reuters

Chasing a glimpse of this ‘Tiger Woods Effect’ and striving to be like him and have an impact on such a level is what Johnson believes is driving many youngsters in the sport. And it would be hard to argue against it. The numbers speak for themselves, and so do the umpteen players who’ve dubbed Woods their idol.

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