Zach Johnson said he was “humbled to be Open champion” after winning the Claret Jug at St Andrews via a 3 way play-off.
The American, 39, beat Australian Marc Leishman and Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa in a four-hole play-off to add The Open to his 2007 Masters triumph.
“I’m honoured to be your Open champion and your champion golfer of the year. I’m humbled because of the names that are etched on this piece of metal. To have my name on the trophy is surreal.” – These names include Tiger Woods, Seve Ballesteros, Nick Faldo, Pádraig Harrington, Ernie Els, Darren Clarke, Rory McIlroy to mention just a few.
Johnson won the play-off, which was played on holes 1, 2, 17 and 18 – with a one-under par score, with 2010 Open winner Oosthuizen on level par and Leishman two over par.
“The key to this week has been patience and perseverance, without question, and in the play-off in particular,” Johnson added.
“I can’t play any better than I did. I just stayed in it, waited for the opportunities and made a few putts.”
In his final round, Johnson holed a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th to move to 15 under, which ultimately proved good enough to get in the play-off.
“There was a lot of emotion when I made that putt on the 72nd hole as I had a good round going and I had missed one on 18 last week,” he said.
“But I knew I quickly had to get my emotions back in check as I knew the other two guys weren’t going to let it slide. Either of them could have won and Louis played tremendously in the play-off.”
Jordan Speiths hopes were dashed
Jordan Spieth’s hopes of winning his third major of the year, to keep alive his hopes of winning an unprecedented Grand Slam, were ended when his 20-yard birdie putt from the ‘Valley of Sin’ in front of the 18th green missed the hole by inches.
It left the American on 14 under par, one adrift of the play-off.
However, the 21-year-old Texan was the first to praise Johnson as he walked off the green following his victory at St Andrews.
Johnson said: “I can’t describe the magnitude of what Jordan was going through but to have a champion like him take the time on 18 to give me his best wishes speaks volumes of what sort of young man he is.
“He’s a phenomenal talent, but he’s also a better person than he is a golfer.”