Zach Johnson and Stewart Cink Embrace Dual Roles at Fortinet Championship
In a whirlwind of transatlantic travel and dual responsibilities, Zach Johnson and Stewart Cink find themselves in a unique position at the Fortinet Championship held at Silverado Resort in Napa, California. Just a short time ago, they were in Rome for a Ryder Cup scouting trip, but now they're back on the PGA TOUR, balancing their individual careers with their Ryder Cup duties.
The time difference between Rome and Napa, a staggering 6,245 miles apart, has left them a bit disoriented. Johnson, the U.S. Ryder Cup Captain, and Cink, one of his vice-captains, acknowledge the challenges. However, they are confident that they will adapt in the days leading up to the tournament.
Multi-tasking is the order of the day for these long-time friends. While they focus on their own careers at Silverado, Cink will also participate in the PGA TOUR Champions' PURE Insurance Championship the following week. Simultaneously, they must keep an eye on their Ryder Cup obligations, which currently means adjusting to the West Coast time zone.
They shared their experiences of Marco Simone Golf & Country Club, the venue for the upcoming Ryder Cup, describing it as a physically demanding course, given its hilly terrain. The demanding nature of the course might even soften the blow of sitting out a session, they suggest.
At the Fortinet Championship, both Johnson and Cink will compete individually. Still, they will also find time, if possible, to follow the progress of fellow Americans like Justin Thomas, who hasn't played on the PGA TOUR since last month's Wyndham Championship, and Max Homa, who dramatically defended his Fortinet title last year. Thomas and Homa are among the 12 American golfers who will represent their country in the Ryder Cup, seeking to win the event on foreign soil for the first time in 30 years.
The Fortinet Championship, as the inaugural event of the FedExCup Fall, could serve as a valuable momentum builder for the American contingent heading to the Ryder Cup.
Cink humorously expressed his hope that both Thomas and Homa win this week, although he acknowledges the unlikeliness of that outcome. Johnson chimed in with a playful suggestion that they could tie for third place, adding some levity to the conversation.
Their exchange took a lighthearted turn as Cink, a fan of Napa, shared his strategy to keep his dual roles separate, which involves sampling Napa's wine offerings to compare them with Italian wines later. He also admitted he needed to familiarize himself with the rerouted Silverado North course.
Johnson, on the other hand, fielded questions about the FIBA World Cup of basketball, reflecting on the pressure faced by coaches of winning or losing teams. Regardless of the outcome, he stressed that the Ryder Cup would be determined by the 12 golfers representing Team USA, and he was prepared to accept any outcome, acknowledging the weight of his role as captain.
In the end, Johnson and Cink embraced their multifaceted responsibilities, ready to excel both as individual players at the Fortinet Championship and as leaders for Team USA at the Ryder Cup.