Zach Johnson’s 2009 Season Starts Thursday

Zach Johnson with his 2008 Texas Open trophy

Zach Johnson with his 2008 Texas Open trophy

The PGA Tour’s offseason lasted about, what, a week-and-a-half?

Zach Johnson’s 2009 season starts a week earlier than most Tour players, and for the best of reasons. As one of the ’08 winners of Tour events (the Texas Open), Johnson qualified for the ’09 Mercedes-Benz Championship.

A field of just 33 players (Phil Mickelson and Padraig Harrington are voluntarily skipping the event, and Tiger Woods is out while he continues rehabbing his left knee) will gather in Maui for guaranteed money and FedExClub points.

Johnson was 20th in the Mercedes last year, pocketing $81,000.

He will remain in Hawaii next week to play the Tour’s Sony Open. His tentative schedule for the West Coast Swing is the FBR Open in Scottsdale, Ariz., the Northern Trust Open at Riviera just outside Los Angeles, and the Accenture World Match Play Championship in Tucson.

In March, things move to Florida, where Johnson has historically fared better than in the West.

He is ranked 48th in the initial World Golf Rankings of the year.

Johnson visited the press tent at the Mercedes Monday. He discussed moving from the Orlando area to St. Simons Island, Ga., and his three focal points of improvement for this year. Namely, scrambling, par-5s and putting.

The transcript: http://www.asapsports.com/show_interview.php?id=53681

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