Let’s say it was 10 years ago. Someone said “Ten years from today, a man from Cedar Rapids will win a PGA Tour event on the same Sunday as a man from Cedar Rapids throws two touchdown passes and leads his team to victory in an NFL game.”
You might have said “Sure, sure. Now have a cool drink of water and try to get some rest.”
What a Sunday for former Cedar Rapids citizens. Zach Johnson won the PGA Tour’s Texas Open. Less than an hour later, the Kurt Warner-quarterbacked Arizona Cardinals improved to 4-2 after beating the Dallas Cowboys in overtime.
Ten years ago, Warner was just breaking into the NFL as the third-string quarterback of the St. Louis Rams. Johnson had just turned pro, and was six years from owning a PGA Tour card.
Sunday wasn’t the best day as a pro for either. Johnson won the Masters in 2007. Warner was the regular-season and Super Bowl MVP in the 1999 season for the Rams.
Warner experienced some downs in the last several years. Injuries, being second-string to Eli Manning in New York and Matt Leinart in Arizona. But he was spectacular in the last eight games of last season after Leinart got hurt, and the Cardinals knew their best chance to win this season was with Warner at QB.
Johnson has had a tough 2008 by his high standards, with only one Top Ten finish until Sunday. But here he is with his fourth PGA Tour win, looking every bit the player Sunday who was so magnificent in Augusta last year.
Go to kurtwarner.org, and you see a pitch for Midwest flood-relief efforts. Warner plans to build Habitat for Humanity homes in the flood-ravaged areas. He often talks about the flooding back in his Cedar Rapids hometown when he’s on national radio programs, trying to keep awareness of the plight in Cedar Rapids in the national consciousness.
Johnson helped raised $350,000 for disaster relief in Iowa last month with a golf event in Iowa City. He talked about the problems his home state has faced after his win in San Antonio Sunday. His Birdies That Care charity’s recipient this year is the Boys and Girls Club of Cedar Rapids, an organization flooded out of its Ellis Boulevard NW home and one that can use every dollar it can get for its great work.
Sunday was a nice day for former Cedar Rapidians. Former Cedar Rapidians, that is, who haven’t left Cedar Rapids behind.