Johnson savours final moments with Claret Jug

2016-07-12 11:10
Zach Johnson (Gallo Images)

Troon - Defending champion Zach Johnson poured one last bottle of wine into the Claret Jug before the "bittersweet" moment of handing back golf's most famed trophy.

The American presented the Claret Jug on Monday in a now traditional handing-back ceremony to R & A chief executive Martin Slumbers in front of the Royal Troon clubhouse and venue for this week's 145th Open Championship.

Johnson collected a second major championship a year ago, defeating Australia's Marc Leishman and South African and 2010 Open winner Louis Oosthuizen over a four-hole play-off at St. Andrews.

And since becoming Open champion the Claret Jug has not been far from Johnson's company.

But before handing it back, Johnson revealed one last bottle of red wine was poured into the Claret Jug on Sunday night, with Johnson again toasting his success with his caddy, manager and close friends.

"We had wine out of the Claret Jug last night, and besides it's a Claret decanter, so it serves its purpose in that regard, too," he said.

Johnson had released a Tweet over the weekend of himself, his wife Kim, and three children holding the Claret Jug but with a frowned look on their faces.

"Yes, that was all Kim's idea and it sort of pictures exactly how I felt this morning," he said.

"It was bittersweet handing back this morning to Mr. Slumbers.

"More sweet, but the fact that you've got it give back you know it's coming. I guess a portion of that sweetness is you still have an opportunity to get it back yourself."

Johnson will start the defence of his title at 2.15pm local time (1315 GMT) on Thursday alongside Australia's Adam Scott and Swede Henrik Stenson.

He will be hoping to fare far better than on his Open debut at the same venue in 2004 when he missed the halfway cut.

"Since I played in this golf tournament, and it was here I played my first Open, my love for it was immense and immediate," Johnson said.

"It's my favourite to play. I just love it and I think I have embraced it, and you have to, as conditions are what they are."

Read more on:    the open championship  |  zach johnson  |  golf

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