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QUICK TAKE: No ‘First World Problem’ Incentives For Open Winner This Year

Kevin Kisner (Paul Childs, Reuters)

CARNOUSTIE, SCOTLAND – If you’re familiar with so-called “first world problems,” here’s one for you.

It’s not so much a problem but a lifestyle option.

One of the unwritten rules of the houses where Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Zach Johnson, Rickie Fowler, Jimmy Walker and Jason Dufner have spent their downtime during the past two Open Championships is if one of them wins the Claret Jug, they have to pick up the tab for a private jet to take everyone back to the States.

“I don’t know if you call it bet, but agreement that, if you win, you get the jet and you buy it, so we go home,” Johnson said Friday.

It happened last year.

Spieth can speak to how much it costs but it does allow the passengers to drink what they want from the Claret Jug during their Atlantic crossing.

There’s no such agreement in effect this year because the players are scattering after this weekend so it doesn’t make sense. It could be good news for Johnson and Kevin Kisner, a new addition to fraternity row this year, as both are in strong position to win with 36 holes remaining.

Had you walked into a betting shop earlier this week and put down a few quid on Johnson to win this Open Championship, chances are it would have been Dustin, the world No. 1, rather than Zach, who won at St. Andrews three years ago.

But DJ quietly came and went from Carnoustie while the other Johnson is building another addition to his impressive Open Championship record. He has made 11 consecutive cuts in the Open, finished in the top 25 seven times and is set up to make more noise this weekend.

If it’s a contest of passion for the Open Championship, Johnson will bet on himself every time.

“The reverence I have for this championship and specifically that trophy, that Claret Jug, I’m not suggesting that someone doesn’t have a higher reverence for it, but I’d argue with them,” he said.

“I just greatly appreciate it. I greatly appreciate how the game was formed over here, how this championship came into fruition back in 1860. I just – everything about it, I’ve embraced, and I love.”

And he’s the only guy named Johnson still playing at Carnoustie this weekend so there will be no confusion.

“I’ve been called ‘Dustin’ many times. I doubt he’s been called ‘Zach’ that many times.”

Between them, though, they’ve won 30 PGA Tour events and three major championships.

“I guess Johnson & Johnson is doing okay,” Johnson – Zach – said.


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