Zach Johnson explains why he thinks this practice-swing quirk bothers his wife

Zach Johnson has had an enviable career in pro golf: two major championships, five Ryder Cup team appearances, and nearly $50 million in winnings. Now, Johnson has the honor of leading Team USA as the captain at this year’s Ryder Cup in Rome.

Perhaps most impressively, at 47 years old, Johnson is still competing regularly on Tour, making the cut in 13 of 20 tournaments this season. But despite his success, Johnson has been confounded by a shocking problem over the years: practice-swing yips — where Johnson accidentally hits the ball during his practice swing, one of the most memorable instances of which occurred at the 2019 Masters.

Incredibly, that wasn’t the first or the last time such a thing happened to Johnson in competition. And on this week’s episode of Subpar, he discussed the issue with hosts Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz.

“How did you cure your practice-swing yips?” Stoltz asked.

“I don’t think I fully have,” Johnson said. “How many do you think there have been? They’re documented.”

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“I can name three off my head,” Stoltz replied.

“There’s been five,” Johnson said.

“The Masters one on 13’s the best,” Knost chimed in.

“Did you ever think after one, being like, maybe I should just practice swing two inches further away from the ball?” Stoltz asked.

“You would think,” Johnson responded. “But here’s the thing: I mean this sincerely, I’m not gonna lie. It does not bother me, obviously, because it’s not that big of a deal. It is part of me. But I think it really bothers my wife. ‘That’s what you’re gonna be known for.’ I’m like, no it’s not!

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“My point is — the funny part about Augusta was, it happened on Friday, and it was shown,” Johnson continued. “The camera’s right there. Then I did it, Sunday, that’s when Tiger won in 2019. And then Sunday, I teed off the back. That’s when there was a weather delay. I was right at the split. So I went off pretty early off the back. And I did it again on the same hole, and I went back to the camera and said, that’s twice. And they didn’t even have the camera on, so it wasn’t even documented.”

Johnson then said that Daniel Berger teased him about it the following week at the RBC Heritage.

“[Berger] goes, ‘See you did it again.’ And I’m like, how did you see it? ‘Cause it wasn’t on there,” Johnson said. “He’s like, ‘What do you mean how did I see it? It was on camera.’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah I know but the second one wasn’t.’ He goes, ‘Oh, then you’ve done it three times. ‘Cause you did it with me in Boston on the fifth hole.’

“And I’m like, dadgum, I have.”

For more from Johnson, including his thoughts on Justin Thomas’ Ryder Cup chances and what a captain does behind the scenes, check out the full episode here.

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