It's the story of his life, though public credit has been in short supply. The buzz kill that many felt at St. Andrews was reminiscent of a similar reaction when Johnson won at Augusta in 2007. "I get it," Johnson says. "People wanted Tiger to win then. People wanted Jordan to win last week." Even in the four-hole playoff, the crowd favorite was the phlegmatic South African Louis Oosthuizen.
It doesn't bother Johnson. He knows he's colorless on the course. "I like to play what I call a-motional golf," he says. "Emotion doesn't grab me that much." In small groups, he has a disarming and winning way of playing off his image. "How are my eight hairs looking?" he asks a video technician before an interview, patting his thin dome. His clean, self-aware performance reading David Letterman's Top-10 List after the Masters victory included deadpanning the line, "Even I have never heard of me."
Of course, modesty is mandatory for Iowans. Johnson's father, Dave, a Cedar Rapids chiropractor, says knowingly, "Everyone in the state would be disappointed if Zach handled his success any differently."