For Johnson, it was an opportunity to become just the 108th golfer in history to win 10 or more PGA Tour events. He also had a chance to get on the World Golf Hall of Fame ballot at the age of 40 (he's 37). Johnson would also join Tiger Woods as the only golfer to win the same event in 2013 that he won in 2012.
For Hearn and Spieth, a win would mean entrance into this year's British Open. For Spieth, more was at stake. He would become the first teenager since 1931 (yes, 1931) to win a PGA Tour event and move to 11th in the FedEx Cup rankings.
In the end, it was the 19-year-old Spieth who proved victorious after five grueling playoff holes that didn't include a single birdie.
Spieth punched out from behind a tree on the par-4 No. 18 (the third time that they had played it -- they also played No. 16 and No. 17) to the fringe and two-putted for par while Johnson and Hearn both made bogey.
Spieth was humble after his round when he talked to CBS' David Feherty: "Honestly, I got a good break, and Zach got a bad break [being behind a tree off the tee]."
The win punctuates (for now) Spieth's incredible season in which he has accomplished more than any other 19-year-old in the history of the PGA Tour.
According to Justin Ray of ESPN, Spieth's six top 10s as a teenager are six more than Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Byron Nelson combined.
And the win wouldn't have been possible if not for Spieth's crazy chip-in on the 72nd hole of the tournament (video above) for birdie. The birdie (his sixth in nine holes) got him to 19 under and sent him to the playoff.
Now the officials at the John Deere Classic are sending him off to Scotland for the British Open.
Here are our grades for the John Deere Classic:
|A||Great effort from Zach Johnson to go back-to-back at the John Deere Classic, but his blunder was a bogey on the 72nd hole. He had a great chance to win it in regulation.|
|A||Oh you know, just another top-10 finish for Steve Stricker at the John Deere Classic. This week's was his fifth straight (including three wins) at the tournament.|
|A||Jordan Spieth is 19! Jordan Spieth is 19! Jordan Spieth is 19!|
|B||Nick Watney finished strong with a 69-66 weekend to catch another top-30 finish. He'll try to improve on a career best of T7 next week at the British Open.|
|C||Strange week for Davis Love III. He ended up being the only golfer not under par as he finished with a 73-73 on the weekend to finish at par. There were 40 (!) golfers who missed the cut at the end of the day on Friday with better scores than that.|
|F||Insconsistency is the name of the game for Kyle Stanley. Perhaps he was thinking ahead to his third British Open appearance next week, or maybe his game was just off. Either way, a 73-74 first two rounds is good at the US Open, not at the John Deere Classic.|