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Grading the Tournament of Champions

By Kyle Porter | Golf Writer

Zach Johnson wins the first tournament of 2014. (Getty Images)
Zach Johnson wins the first tournament of 2014. (Getty Images)

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Zach Johnson doesn't look like a killer.

He doesn't talk like a killer or act like a killer.

But he sure does close like his blood is cold.

Johnson won his 11th career PGA Tour tournament on Monday at the Tournament of Champions by one stroke over Jordan Spieth. And it wasn't even really that close. He did it with ease.

While playing partner Dustin Johnson was trying to drive par fours and reach par fives in two shots, Zach was content to lay up and use his wicked wedge game to help him score.

Johnson told Golf Channel's Steve Sands afterwards it was all part of his game plan.

"I just picked it apart. It's fairways and greens for me, try to stay below the hole. Remaining patient, that was the big thing," said Johnson.

And once he started scoring, he couldn't stop. Three birides on the front nine. Four on the back including three straight at Nos. 14-16.

According to Justin Ray of ESPN Johnson is the just the third player since 2007 with a major plus 10 wins. The other two are fellas you might have heard of before.

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.

Johnson has now won two straight events (albeit events with small fields) but it makes you wonder if his recent hot streak is a harbinger of what could be a monstrous 2014.

He noted that his thoughts all day were on Webb Simpson's caddie and his ailing newborn son.

"My prayers were going to the Tesoris. That's where my heart was today. That's where my mind was a lot of the day.

"Today was a grind but I felt very relaxed."

He looked it, too. That's what happens when your blood runs icy like Johnson's. It begs a lot of questions for 2014, as well.

Is another major in the cards? Multiple wins? The money champ?

One thing we've learned of late, if he's in position to win near the end, you can forget about it.

Here are our grades for the Tournament of Champions:

PlayerGradeAnalysis
AAnother incredible state from Justin Ray on Zach Johnson: he's 38 under in his last 10 final rounds of tournaments. That's a joke.
AJordan Spieth held all the chips midway through the final round but he couldn't get things going on the back nine. Seven straight pars to kick off the back nine left him just short.
BAdam Scott made a late surge at the leaders but a bogey at No. 18 left him well short at 14 under. Scott will play the Sony Open next weekend but then won't play again on the PGA Tour until March.
BThe stage was set for Jason Dufner. His Auburn Tigers poised to win their second national title in three years and Dufner poised to win $1.14 million by winning this tournament. Dufner didn't hold up his end but to his credit he said he'd rather Auburn win anyway.
CBrandt Snedeker needed a big Monday finish and he shot 1-under 72. It feels weird to give somebody who was 12 under a "C" but that's what you get in a 30-man field when 19 under wins it.
DBill Haas wasn't bad, he finished 5 under for the tournament but he only broke 70 once and finished T24 (of 30) on the week. Plus I picked him to win and he didn't even come close.

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnGolf and @KylePorterCBS on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

 
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