(Reuters) - With his best man duties now out of the way, Zach Johnson is delighted to be back in PGA Tour action for this week’s Deutsche Bank Championship after missing the first event of the lucrative FedExCup playoffs.
Johnson was a notable absentee from The Barclays last week in New Jersey, having made a long-standing promise to support his brother, Gabe, at his wedding.
Though the wedding date clashed with one of the biggest PGA Tour events of the year, Johnson was more than happy to fulfill his family obligation.
“It’s my brother. I‘m the best man,” the former Masters champion told reporters at the TPC Boston in Norton, Massachusetts on Wednesday while preparing for Friday’s opening round in the elite 100-man event.
“We all got over it very quick. It would have been rough if I was 120 or 125 in the FedEx (standings), that sort of thing, but still, even then, it’s one golf tournament.”
As it happened, Johnson was ranked 18th in the standings before last week’s Barclays tournament, having strung together five successive top-eight finishes in his previous five starts on the PGA Tour.
Though he has not won on the U.S. circuit since the John Deere Classic just over a year ago, the straight-hitting American with a usually brilliant short game has been happy with his all-round form.
“It’s good to get back out here and play, especially when you feel like you’re playing pretty good,” said Johnson, who has slipped to 20th in the FedExCup standings going into this week’s event where the top 70 will qualify for the BMW Championship.
”My last five starts have been solid, but also frustrating, in the sense that I feel like I‘m playing well enough to certainly win, or have the opportunity to win coming down the stretch.
“But all in all, it’s been very solid … very much seeing the hard work I’ve put in as of late pay off.”
Johnson, who clinched his only major title at the 2007 Masters, knows he has been held back from returning to the winner’s circle in recent weeks due to his form on the greens.
”I‘m not putting poorly, I just haven’t made the putts coming down the stretch that it takes to win golf tournaments,“ the 37-year-old said. ”I don’t think it’s anything more than that, I don’t think it’s anything less than that.
“I‘m really not worried about it at all. It’s just a matter of executing, maybe seeing one or two (putts) drop and seeing where we can go. The nice thing is my ball-striking has been very consistent.”
Johnson has been grouped with fellow Americans Bubba Watson and Harris English for the first two rounds at the TPC Boston.
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Frank Pingue