The storylines coming into Monday were all about the possibility of Jordan Spieth winning his third straight major of the year. Or Jason Day winning his first ever. Or amateur Paul Dunne shocking the field and triumphing after going into the final round tied atop the leaderboard. Or Louis Oosthuizen winning his second British Open.
Zach Johnson wasn't interested in those storylines.
Instead, the golfer focused on winning his second major, beating Oosthuizen and Marc Leishman in a four-hole aggregate playoff to win the 2015 British Open.
That earned him a pretty payout, as Darren Rovell of ESPN tweeted:
Not too shabby.
Below, we'll take a look at the full leaderboard, purse and payouts for players at the British Open, along with a look back at a memorable Monday at St. Andrews.
|British Open Payouts|
|T40||Rafael Cabrera Bello||-5||$43,480||0|
|Total purse = $9.2 million. Source: ESPN|
You have to give Johnson a ton of credit. On a day when so many players were in the running ahead of him to start the day, he shot an impressive 66 that included a huge clutch putt on No. 18 to get him to 15 under for the tournament and into the playoff. From there, he watched as Leishman fell apart and Oosthuizen failed to convert a birdie putt on No. 18 that would have extended the playoff to sudden death.
So classy was Johnson in victory, however, that when his caddie went to high-five him after Oosthuizen's miss, he refused, clearly trying not to celebrate a missed shot. He eventually relented, however, hugging his caddie and quickly becoming emotional after the realization of his title sunk in.
Of course, he almost failed to even reach the playoff. Facing a long birdie putt to get to 15 under, Johnson came up with this magnificent effort, as noted by The Open on Twitter:
It's a win that could secure Johnson's place in history, according to sportswriter Joe Posnanski:
For golf fans, however, it was a bit of a bittersweet afternoon, as Jordan Spieth fell short on his chance at chasing history and earning his third straight major win.
It was a fascinating finish for Spieth, who made an incredible birdie on No. 16, shockingly failed to save par as he did so many times before by missing an extremely makeable putt on No. 17 and missing a long birdie attempt on No. 18 by mere inches to miss the playoff.
They say football is a game of inches. Spieth would argue that such a cliche is better suited to golf.
To his credit, however, the young superstar was incredibly gracious in defeat and had nothing but praise for Johnson:
Spieth can afford to be gracious. He's been the best player on the PGA Tour by miles this season. He's barely old enough to drink and potentially has years full of dominance ahead of him. He was a mere stroke away from a playoff that you have to think he would have found a way to win. The future is pretty darn bright.
Which isn't to take away from Johnson's accomplishment. He was excellent on Monday and was a deserving champion, and his humility and emotion in victory was a breath of fresh air.
But it's impossible to look at Johnson—or perhaps any other player not named Rory McIlroy who happens to win a tournament—as a mere placeholder for the title until Spieth inevitably earns it for himself. He came a few inches short of a shot to make it three in a row on Monday.
But don't get it twisted—the Spieth era is just beginning.