Zach Johnson on Monday climbed to No. 17 in the world golf rankings, up 10 spots from last week after Sunday's memorable victory at the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
The latest two-time Colonial champion also left Fort Worth as No. 6 in the U.S. Ryder Cup standings and No. 5 on the PGA Tour season money list ($3,033,525). On his Twitter account, @ZachJohnsonPGA, the Colonial champ announced that he "made it safe despite tropical storm" to his home in St. Simons Island, Ga., which sits in the coastal area where Tropical Storm Beryl was nearing hurricane strength Monday as it approached the coastlines of southeast Georgia and northeast Florida.
Johnson, who has made the cut in all 13 tour events he has played this season, is skipping this week's Memorial Tournament in Dublin, Ohio, before returning to play three consecutive tour events, including the U.S. Open, June 14-17 at the Olympic Club in San Francisco.
Johnson said his 2012 Colonial triumph always will be remembered for his two-stroke penalty for an improper ball mark on the 72nd hole, which broke his streak of 15 consecutive Colonial rounds of even par or better, and for his opportunity to help caddie Damon Green honor his late father, who died May 17 of stomach cancer.
The Colonial tournament marked the first time for Johnson, 36, and Green to team up in a tour event since the death of Rev. Douglas Brooks Green, 88. That made Sunday's triumph especially sweet.
Asked if he was thinking about honoring Green's father while playing the final hole Sunday, Johnson said: "I was thinking about it long before that. He felt like his dad wanted him to be there.... His communication with me [at Colonial] was spot on. I think he's the one that deserves this one more than I do."
Before leaving Fort Worth, Colonial's 12th multiple winner weighed in on several topics. A look at Johnson, who also won the 2010 Colonial title, in his own words:
On having caddie Damon Green on his bag:
"He is not the most conversive guy. But when he speaks, you know it means something. He was awesome [at Colonial]. He never let me get out of the moment, or let me get too ahead of myself.... I feel lucky to have him. It's been 91/2 years [together]. I'm hoping there is at least 91/2 more with him because he is very instrumental in what we are trying to do. We are a team."
On memories of Green's father:
"I spoke to him countless times, in person and on the phone. Rev. Green was exactly that. He was a Godly man. He was a guy that had constant prayer for his family, specifically Damon and I. He was always in our corner. A very witty guy. He lived a long, great life and affected a number of people in a positive manner."
On learning about his ball-marking mistake at No. 18 that cost him two strokes:
"Damon told me. I got lucky they told me before I signed my scorecard.... Once the ball is in the hole, the hole is done. It just depends on what the penalty is all about."
On seeing his Sunday score climb to 72 with the two-stroke penalty, marking his first over-par round at Colonial since 2006:
"I'm kind of upset I shot over par. I lost that streak."
On where his mindset would have been if the two-stroke penalty had forced a playoff with runner-up Jason Dufner:
"I have no idea. Let's just count it as a hypothetical and move on.... It wouldn't have been easy. No doubt about it. I would like to think that I could gather myself and go back out there and perform. I just feel lucky I didn't have to."
On the significance of the 15th hole, where Johnson rescued a third-round par after his approach shot stopped inches short of a water hazard behind the green and Dufner took a triple bogey in the final round after hitting into the hazard:
"I hit a terrible shot and got lucky. He didn't hit a great shot, but he got a bad break. I don't know how else to explain it other than the fact, it's golf. I feel pretty lucky."
On the significance of beating Dufner, who climbed to No. 8 in Monday's updated world golf rankings and has two PGA Tour victories and a runner-up finish in the past month:
"It was not easy. In some respects, I feel like I took down a lion. Dufner has been on top of the game. He played easily as good as I did. But I got the breaks."
Jimmy Burch, 817-390-7760