Monday, May 27, 2024

‘This f**king guy’: How ‘pathetic’ hot mic moment exposed US golf’s shock new villain

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It was a scene you wouldn’t think twice about if it was happening in front of one of New York’s notoriously rowdy galleries at Bethpage Black or Shinnecock Hills.

But a former Masters winner getting heated with the patrons at Augusta is a rare — perhaps unprecedented(?) — sight.

That was until Saturday, when 2007 green jacket-winner Zach Johnson exploded at the patrons in a heated moment at the iconic 12th hole.

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Zach Johnson was running hot at Augusta on Saturday.Source: Getty Images

Johnson was scrambling to make the cut when a triple-bogey at the picturesque par-three effectively assured that he wouldn’t.

The American fired his tee shot well over the green and to the left, forcing him to take a penalty and hit his tee shot again. This time, it went well right.

Johnson then chipped on and two-putted, with his final shot being met with what was seemingly sarcastic cheers from some patrons.

Johnson didn’t take kindly to the move, and was heard clearly over the microphone saying “oh, f**k off.”

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The outburst could easily be put down to heat-of-the-moment frustration, as anyone who has swung a club would understand.

But questions will be asked around the dwindling popularity of the two-time major-winner off the back of America’s doomed 2023 Ryder Cup campaign.

Johnson was Team USA’s captain for the big loss in Rome, where he came under heavy fire for his team selections.

Controversial omissions of in-form players, such as Keegan Bradley, Cameron Young and Lucas Glover, and the selection of known friends to automatically qualified players — such as Sam Burns, Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth — raised suspicions of a ‘boy’s club’ within the team.

Johnson has been the target of hecklers since, with one video of a feisty interaction with fans at the Phoenix Open in Scottsdale re-emerging on Saturday.

“Oh don’t ‘sir’ me. Somebody said it. I’m just sick of it,” he can be heard saying. “Just shut up.”

Barstool Sports’ Bobby Reagan did not hold back when blogging about the wild moment Johnson lost his cool on 12.

“This f***ing guy. I never felt a specific way about Zach Johnson, that is until the Ryder Cup. I was livid at Zach Johnson during the Ryder Cup. Then Scottsdale happened,” he wrote.

“Now we’re talking about 12 at Augusta … It’s a calm place that doesn’t feel like real life when you’re there. And Zach Johnson can’t handle clapping. Clapping!

“This is just getting sad … It seems pathetic. Throwing a hissy fit like this at 12 when you missed the putts.”

Meanwhile, the poor performances of some of Johnson’s captain’s picks at this year’s Masters has only put him in the spotlight further.

Spieth and Burns were both cut at a distant nine-over, while Rickie Fowler only scraped through at six-over.

Young was one-under, Glover was even-par, while Keegan Bradley made the cut at five-over.

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