'Frustrated' former Masters winner Zach Johnson denies directing profanity at fans

Former Masters champion Zach Johnson denied Friday that he directed profanity toward fans at Augusta National.

Television microphones appeared to catch Johnson, who won a green jacket in 2007, shouting an obscenity after making a putt for triple-bogey on the par-3 12th. He then tossed his ball into the creek.

Johnson, who was also the 2023 captain of the U.S. Ryder Cup team, claimed patrons were more than 150 yards away and that he couldn't even hear them.

"That I swore at the patrons? That's laughable," Johnson told reporters after his second round shooting a 3-over 75. "That's completely laughable. I can't hear the patrons, number one. Number two, I just made a triple bogey on the 12th hole that evidently is going to make me miss the cut, which at the time I knew was pretty sensitive in the sense that I needed to keep making pars.

"If I've said anything, which I'm not going to deny, especially if it's on camera, one, I apologize, and two, it was fully directed towards myself entirely because I can't hear anything behind me. Does that make sense?"

It isn't the first time Johnson has been accused of hostility toward patrons.

A social media video surfaced that appeared to show a frustrated Johnson telling fans to "shut up" at the Phoenix Open in February. Johnson didn't deny that encounter but insinuated it was because of unruly patrons.

"Oh, no, again, I'm not on social media, haven't been for months upon ― maybe even close to a year," Johnson said Friday. "I was shown a video. I think I know which one it was because it happened multiple times where I interjected. But when I see vomiting and then guys egging on the guy to drink another beer with a middle school golf team to my right, I'm going to say something as an adult."

(Editor's note: The following clip contains profanity)

At the end of a lengthy post-round interview Friday, Johnson pivoted back to the incident at the 12th hole to apologize again.

"I'm going to clear that up," Johnson said. "I don't know what was said on 12 because I'm really frustrated by that. I'm just frustrated by that. I am sorry if it looked like that. Please know that. I had no intention of – I can't hear anybody.

"... I apologize if there was something there."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Did Zach Johnson swear at fans? Former Masters champ says that's 'laughable'