Catoosa golfer wins round with pro Zach Johnson
BY JOHN D. FERGUSON World Correspondent
Sunday, November 11, 2012
11/11/12 at 6:54 AM
Bill Irmen of Catoosa was lining up a 25-foot birdie putt at the picturesque Frederica Golf Club on the St. Simons Island, Ga., course recently. Irmen was completing his pre-putting routine when the 54-year-old looked up to see 2007 Masters champion Zach Johnson tending the flag.
Irmen lost his concentration and realized this was not an ordinary round of golf.
The Spirit AeroSystems mechanic was one of four golfers - out of more than 250,000 entrants - who won the GolfLogix contest to play 18 holes with Johnson. The all-expense-paid trip came Oct. 21-22.
Irmen, a 10-handicap player, had regularly shot in the mid-70s this year. The week before the Georgia trip, Irmen managed a 75.
"I was kind of cocky before going there," Irmen admitted. "Once I got there, I couldn't hit a golf ball to save my life. I had my highest round of the year. I got caught in the moment (of playing with a PGA pro)."
Johnson, on the other hand, had little trouble carding a 67 following the four days of the McGladrey Classic held nearby. The McGladrey had just finished the day before Johnson welcomed Irmen and three others.
"It was the easiest 67 I'd ever seen," Irmen said of Johnson. "He had a little draw on everything he hit."
The memorable experience wasn't without a few teachable moments. The biggest lesson came by just watching Johnson hit the ball.
"It's the simplicity in the way those (PGA) guys play golf," Irmen said. "He never forced anything (in his swing)."
Johnson, who has career earnings of $26 million, had two wins, two seconds and six top 10s this year. He's ranked No. 21 by Golf World and No. 4 in the FedEx Cup standings. But it was Johnson's personality that earned him high rankings among the four GolfLogix winners.
"His wife was expecting a baby at any time and could have left," Irmen said. "But, he signed golf balls and gloves for me ... and bought us lunch. He made me feel great and his personality was super. He was just one of the guys."
Original Print Headline: Area golfer enjoys round with pro
PGA golfer Zach Johnson (right) and Catoosa resident Bill Irmen laugh during their round at Frederica Golf Club in St. Simons Island, Ga. COURTESY