Photos: Matt Moran
Zach Johnson has another award to show off with his 2007 Masters green jacket: the Drake Double D Award.
On Tuesday, Johnson and former Drake volleyball player Lisa Behlmann Cannon were presented with the Double D Award, which is the highest honor Drake bestows upon its former student-athletes.
The award is given to former letter winners for their achievements and contributions to their profession and community after leaving Drake. Only 236 people have received the honor.
“This award puts things into perspective,” Johnson said. “It’s not all about golf. It’s indicative of Drake: student first, athlete second.”
Johnson is one of the most notable professional athletes to emerge from Drake. A graduate in 1998 with degrees in management and marketing, Johnson decided to turn pro after his four-year college career. The Cedar Rapids native is most known for winning the 2007 Masters Golf Tournament, which is one of four annual major championship tournaments on the Professional Golf Association Tour. He has also been a member of the 2006 and 2010 U.S. Ryder Cup teams.
“To go back to Drake, I never thought it would be this [award] that would bring me back,” Johnson said. “I was taken aback; one of those times you kind of pinch yourself.”
Behlmann Cannon was a four-year varsity letter winner from St. Louis who graduated with a degree in finance in 1980. She earned her master’s degree in business in 1989 from the University of Houston, and completed the Executive Development Program at Harvard Business School in 2006. She spent 30 years in the high technology field, holding a number of senior management roles in the U.S. and abroad. From 1993-1996, she was based in Munich, Germany, leading European marketing initiatives for Compaq Computer, which is now Hewlett-Packard.
“I owe so much for my time here at Drake,” Behlmann Cannon said. “I was blown away; it’s such an honor. It brings things full circle.”
The award was presented to both recipients at the annual Double D dinner on Tuesday evening. Behlmann Cannon and Johnson were then honored during halftime of the Drake men’s basketball game later that evening.
Johnson, who flew completely under the radar on his way to winning the Masters, was ironically not even the top golfer for the Bulldogs during his tenure. He said it’s the “underdog” role in which he thrives, and it motivates him to have a strong work ethic.
“I just enjoy competition,” Johnson said. “I always feel like my back is against the wall, always feel like I’m not supposed to win, and I like it that way. I love the underdog.”
Behlmann Cannon said the camaraderie of her volleyball team while at Drake provided necessary skills to be successful in international business.
“Teamwork [was] one of the most helpful things when working with people from different countries and with different languages,” Behlmann Cannon said. “I had a wonderful time at Drake and a terrific experience with athletics.”
Drake athletic director Sandy Hatfield Clubb said both individuals are terrific role models for Drake athletics, and said that their colleagues describe them as “focused, energetic, hard-working, fun, good character” people.
Johnson said that this award exemplifies what is great about Drake and its athletes. He said his time at Drake has “equipped us with the right tools” to be successful in life after college.
He also thanked his parents for instilling in him a hard-working, never-say-die attitude.
“[This award] is a testament to my parents,” Johnson said. “The example they showed with work ethic; put in the time, put in the energy.”
Although Johnson still holds the Masters title as his greatest individual accomplishment in golf, he says he has learned a lot more through the Presidential and Ryder Cup teams. He grew up playing team sports, and said he wouldn’t be the person he is today without the support he receives.
“[My career has been] a team approach, with so many instrumental players behind the scenes,” Johnson said. “This group of people helps me stay in the moment while still looking toward my future. They keep me focused.”
Still, Johnson can’t wait to get another chance to be on top of the golf world, the feeling he had after winning the Masters.
“It fuels the fire; once you get a taste you want more.”