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JOHN DEERE CLASSIC MEDIA CONFERENCE
June 23, 2008
BARRY CRONIN: Thanks, everyone, for joining us. We apologize for the little delay here and appreciate your patience on that. Also, this is being transcribed by ASAP, and you can go to ASAP Sports' website afterwards and pull it down if you'd like to read it.
We're really happy to have Zach with us today. Really appreciate him being with us.
Zach, just in general, you just want to make a couple opening remarks about how your year is going so far and what you anticipate with respect to the John Deere Classic.
ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, sure. First of all, it's a pleasure to be here, to be able to do this. I thoroughly enjoy it, everything that has to do with the John Deere Classic, and certainly that tournament in general. I'm enthusiastic about it. It means a lot to be a part of it. And now serving on their board for a number of years and seeing firsthand as to what the tournament is about, what its people are about and certainly what the charities are about, it's all that much more gratifying. I'm excited about the tournament in a couple weeks.
My year so far is obviously not, from a numbers standpoint, not where I want it to be, but I think things are going the right direction. I'm always the optimist. But I know from a fundamental standpoint and certainly from a mental standpoint, I feel good. So I'm just trying to be patient with things and let things fall where they fall. It's a pretty grueling game, and I think my expectations sometimes get the best of me.
I'm just looking forward to the remainder of the year.
BARRY CRONIN: I read a little article in one of the magazines about various people's fifth major, and I think I noted that you said your fifth major was the John Deere. Is that the case?
ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, I like to say that. Just joking aside, I don't know if there is one. I mean, obviously everybody thinks Sawgrass is the fifth major, and from a category standpoint or from a player standpoint, I think that probably is the case.
But my heart is always at home, and I love going back. It was one of the first tournaments on the TOUR that I ever played in, and just -- I like everything about it. It's nice seeing friendly faces and family and friends, and as a result, I hold it in very high regard.
Q. Just wanted to ask about, first of all, the wrist situation, when that started and what the prognosis is and if that's been a problem through the course of the year? And also, a second part of the question would be, some of the players who have won a major championship have talked that there's a bit of a major hangover, and if you think that you've been pulled in several different directions and if that's been a factor in the way your year has started.
ZACH JOHNSON: Okay, as to the first part of the question, this is a first-time occurrence. Fortunately it's not that significant. It's just a strain. And I've just got to take some time off. So it's nothing more than that, fortunately. So I'm not worried about it, nor are the people I'm consulting with worried about it. It's just taking the necessary precautions.
As far as the hangover, you know, I mean, I've heard that. You know, I really don't know how to respond to that. As far as a hangover last year, I won the first major last year, and there wasn't much of a hangover as far as what I did post-Augusta. You know, I won another event and then had a number of other good finishes and ended on a good note at a number of tournaments.
But yeah, I don't know if the off-season or lack thereof kind of caught up with that. That's a possibility. I'll have to reevaluate that as time goes on.
But I think if there's been a lag as of late, it's -- well, I guess pun intended, it's kind of been revolving around my putter. That's usually one of the strengths of my game, and it just hasn't performed the way I would like it to perform, especially on a consistent basis. Certainly it's good at times, but I definitely feel it's going the right direction. As you all know, if you're going to score well out here and win golf tournaments and be in contention, you've got to be able to make putts.
I know things are going the right way. I've obviously got the right people around me, and that's a lot of it, and it's just a matter of me going out and performing when given the opportunity.
Q. I wanted to ask you about the plane that they're chartering to the British Open this year.
ZACH JOHNSON: Sure.
Q. From John Deere. What's that going to mean for you and how is that going to make your life easier?
ZACH JOHNSON: Well, I think you said it. You know, the plane -- to my knowledge, I've obviously sat in on a few meetings, I remember going on the board a few years ago and saying, we need to get a plane from Moline to the British Open. It can help with the field and certainly help alleviate a lot of issues for those players that are playing to get there.
You know, I anticipated chartering some normal plane, but then they go out and get the Dallas Mavericks' plane. It's going to be nice. Just knowing that whenever we get done on Sunday, we can kind of have our stuff ready, we're not rushed, we can get to the Moline airport, get everything situated there as far as -- I'm not taking my family, but if there's players that are taking their families, it'll be somewhat of an expedited process, and it'll just be much easier, rather than having to drive to Chicago, which is to O'Hare, probably two and a half hours given no traffic, and then typically a connection somewhere to get to the Open. This is a straight shot, straight from Moline to Manchester.
I'm very appreciative of what the tournament has done, certainly what John Deere is rolling out, if you will. I know the players that love this tournament as much as I do appreciate it, and those that are going are excited and those that aren't are excited to try to get that last spot.
You know, it's a win-win situation, I think, for both parties involved, and I'm hoping that it's the first of many.
Q. In the past you had driven to O'Hare after the tournament was over? Was it sometimes tight? I think those flights usually leave O'Hare around 6:00 or 6:30. Was it tight for you to try to get up there and make the flight on Sunday night?
ZACH JOHNSON: Good question. Usually I never had the issue to trying to make the flight there. I usually had a late enough flight. Fortunately at the John Deere on Sunday they've had a 3:00 o'clock finish or 4:00 o'clock finish or whatever it's been. I've had plenty of time to get to my flight there. When you're traveling overseas, you certainly want to get situated and make sure your bags get there. That's the big thing.
There's typically always connections coming from O'Hare to wherever. Unfortunately I've had the pleasure, I guess you could say, or lack thereof, of going through O'Hare -- excuse me, O'Hare is bad, Heathrow is worse. Last year I actually didn't have my clubs for about a day and a half.
Q. That's what I seem to remember.
ZACH JOHNSON: I had them once the competition started. I think I actually had them for the bulk of my practice round on that Wednesday.
But it's just frustrating because you want to get there and get settled and get acclimated with the time change because I think for central time it's seven hours typically to Britain.
This plane, I'm telling you, it's going to alleviate just a lot of minor stresses, some major, but minor stresses for the players and their families.
Q. Do you think it's improved the field? Have guys said, this is a good deal, I'm going to try to play this year because it makes it easier for me to get to the British?
ZACH JOHNSON: Absolutely. I've said before, prior to this year even, to improve the field, once again, you're talking -- you're labeling names and saying this player is better than these players, but I've never been a firm believer in that. I think our fields are deep and the quality is great every week. However, I think you're going to get more and more key players, and I think that's already been proven.
This is the first year, so this is the testing ground. And I think as time goes on, and once the word gets out, wow, this plane was great, I think it can only improve from year to year.
I hope there's a few more surprise players that decide to play. I mean, a lot of players don't decide until the week of -- excuse me, the Friday before, when it comes to the commitment deadline. So you never know what's in store.
But nevertheless, the field they've already got solidified, it's going to be a fantastic week.
Q. I don't need to tell you, but Cedar Rapids got clobbered pretty good here.
ZACH JOHNSON: I was wondering when this was going to come. I thought it was going to be the first question.
Q. Your designated charity this year for your foundation is right in the heart of that.
ZACH JOHNSON: Yep.
Q. And I was wondering just what you had to say, to speak to that, and if you've been in touch with those people, just anything you can tell us.
ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, you know, I really don't know where to begin on this. I missed the cut in the U.S. Open, and that week out in San Diego my -- if I wasn't at the golf course, I was pretty much glued to either CNN or the Internet looking at pictures and video.
Much like a lot of my emails have said, I'm really at a loss for words when it comes to it, based on the updates I received. When it's so close to who you are and where you're from and what you're about. It's one of those things, you never think it's going to happen to you or your friends and family, but it has.
As a result, my heart goes out, my family's heart goes out, and our prayers are certainly with Cedar Rapids and certainly all the other communities that have been affected and will be affected from this water, specifically the Birdies That Care and the Boys and Girls Club.
I guess we chose the right facility for this year as far as helping out people. But I know they've been devastated, just completely demolished, if you will, for lack of a better word.
Yeah, we're brainstorming. We've got a lot of ideas right now that we're looking into as far as relief and setting up this and setting up that with a number of different people and organizations, the TOUR, myself. The PGA TOUR and its players and its executives are really brainstorming and putting some good things on paper, and hopefully we can get some relief funds going here shortly. And then also even specifically back in Cedar Rapids with some friends of mine, we're really trying to work on some things and put some good things together.
As you well know, it's still so premature as to all the specifics. I mean, we know kind of where I guess the budget is, but they're talking obviously well over $2 billion in relief money needed. As far as all the other specifics go, we're just kind of sitting back and seeing where the money really needs to go. I mean, there's so many people that have been evacuated, so many people that won't be able to come back.
There's a number of levels to it, and we're just trying to -- we're really just waiting to see where this money that we can potentially raise can go to. Obviously the Red Cross is doing great things. I know the Cedar Rapids Greater Community foundation I think it's called is facilitating a lot of that, and that's obviously fantastic. That's a lot of immediate needs, that sort of thing. Obviously the Federal Government is going to jump in, the State government is jumping in.
In talking to people, when it came to Katrina and things, minor catastrophes -- not minor, but catastrophes that can kind of parallel what Iowa is going through, it's just a matter of figuring out what's best and what direction to go down. We don't want to jump too quick and make some irrational decisions.
But I can tell you that it's on my mind every day. I hear reports from my dad every day.
Q. Was his office affected?
ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, it's funny, my dad -- it's not funny, but it's ironic. My dad's office is -- I want to say it's on the corner of 8th Avenue and -- I don't know what it is, right near the post office there, 7th maybe. And for whatever reason my dad's office sits about two feet above most of the other offices around there. So his office had no effect. But yet you go a little further east away from the river and Mercy Hospital was devastated. So they got lucky. Chiropractic Health Care got very lucky.
However, my mom's office, which sits about a block and a half from the interstate, two blocks from the river on the west side, I mean, she had I think a foot -- the water went up a foot to the ceiling. I think she had nine-foot ceilings.
Q. That's, what, the archdiocese?
ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, the archdiocese. The old St. Ludmila's church I think it is. I don't remember the name of the church. Right there on 1st Avenue. Her office sat right behind it. There used to be a school there, and the school is no longer there, and as a result the archdiocese's offices are there. They're relocating to Xavier High School for the time being.
But that's really the only direct effect that my family had, outside of Birdies That Care and Boys and Girls Clubs. We get updates every day via email, phone, whatever the case may be. Certainly even though we're in Florida right now, it's in the forefront of our minds and our hearts.
Q. I talked to John Tercy (phon.) just a little while ago, and he said basically what they need is money.
ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, yeah, exactly, and they needed that before this happened. It's a terrible thing. I think even some of our previous beneficiaries -- I'm not sure about the community free health clinic, but I know that the women's shelter there, Way Point, had some effect, too.
Where do you start? It's one of those things. I mean, as an Iowan, my heart goes out to every one of them, certainly to my community in particular. But I know Iowa City is devastated, some of the towns down along the Iowa River are getting a lot of pounding. I don't even know where to begin on that.
I can tell you, speaking to specifically someone like Pat Baird, who's obviously a great friend of mine at AEGON, he was there that week and he's been there since. He mentioned to me, at times like this it makes me proud to be an Iowan. I don't know what it's like to be from any other state, but I know what Iowans are like, and they're going to grab hands and work hard and make it for the better because that's what we're about and what the community is about. And as a result -- I live in Florida, but I've always said I'm from Cedar Rapids. You can't take that away from me. Trying to be optimistic, but it's hard.
Q. I wondered if you could just sort of evaluate where you think you are vis-a-vis the Ryder Cup points and what you might need to do to bump yourself up or make an impression.
ZACH JOHNSON: That's a good question. Well, I've got to play a little better, that's first and foremost. I've got to have some good finishes. You know, I mean, the goal there is to finish in that top eight and just avoid any sort of potential pick. I mean, I don't want to get into that situation, especially considering -- and I know Paul, as to what he's thinking about picks. He's not just out of picking just some of the hottest players at that time, regardless of where they stand in points and regardless of what Tour they're on. He said if a Nationwide guy has won two or three events in a row or is dominating, he's not afraid to pick that person, and I don't blame him.
I've really got to make up some ground in that regard. I certainly want to do that when I'm fully healthy. I don't want to rush back from anything here.
I'm going to let things fall where they fall. I'm experienced enough, I know what I need to do, and I'm encouraged that things are going the right direction to do that.
The Ryder Cup is -- once you experience it, you want to be associated with it forever. I'm assuming even when my playing days are over, I'd like to be a captain or an associate captain or whatever the case may be. You want to be a part of it. It's just that remarkable of a contest.
I'm not going to put any undue pressure on myself. I'm going to go about my schedule the way I know that best fits me and certainly I'm going to play hard. That's really all I can do. I mean, I've got to play better and have some good finishes. But 'patience' certainly is going to be the key word there.
Q. When do you think you will be able to play again?
ZACH JOHNSON: I don't know. I don't know yet. I'm still waiting to hear back from doctors, and I've got a couple more appointments. Nothing serious, but -- I mean, I anticipate playing the John Deere. I'm obviously not playing this week in Michigan. That's about really all I can give you.
Q. Have you thought about changing putters at all? Has it gotten to that point? Or is it just a technical thing in your stroke?
ZACH JOHNSON: Good question. I mean, yeah, I think as a competitor, as a player, you always look for new things. I've never been much of a tinkerer as far as equipment goes, and I'm certainly not the most knowledgeable golfer as far as what equipment can do and the whole numbers game, if you will, when it comes to equipment. I think you'd be naive to go forward and not look at new things.
Yeah, I've looked at new putters, but if I get a new one in my hand and putt with it a little bit, I always seem to go back to my SeeMore, just because I'm that much more comfortable with it. I know what it can do because I've seen it in the past. And as a result it's easier for me to get back to where I used to be, or how I used to putt, with what I'm accustomed to putting with.
It is probably more of a technical issue, but nothing significant. I mean, it's just getting into the right posture and the right ball position and that sort of thing and consistently doing that over time. I've got my tendencies with my putter and my tendencies with my golf swing. And I think that's the beauty of what I've established with my instructors is I've got a foundation, I've got a system, and getting back to where I need to get to is -- shouldn't be that difficult.
Q. When you look at your statistics throughout your career, it does point to putting more than anything else because the Greens in Regulation or the same or better, Driving Accuracy, things like that. Is there a line you fear crossing where it becomes a mental thing? I know Mr. Pickens helps you there, but is that part of it, too, or is it fundamentals?
ZACH JOHNSON: I think it is, absolutely. You know, the mental side of the game is -- it's a fickle area. I mean, I think it's a mental -- I think part of it is mental. I think the part that is mental is the confidence thing. Once you start seeing putts go in, whether it's consistently three-footers or consistently five- to eight-footers, it doesn't matter. Once you start seeing those go in, your confidence can go sky high. And I think confidence breeds momentum. I've always said that. And momentum is pretty dangerous in this game.
Yeah, I think there's a little bit of a mental issue there, but if I were to pinpoint it right now, I'd say it's a confidence thing and potentially even a patience thing, because as you said, I've been hitting it pretty good all year. I really don't know what my stats is. It's not really important as far as I'm concerned because I know the way I'm hitting it.
I know what my ball-striking is doing. I just need to make more putts. I know it's going to come. It's just a patience -- it's persevering through some sort of lag here in my putting and getting to where I was.
I've played at the highest level, I've had some success at the highest of levels, so I know I've got the right foundation, the right systems and the right people; I've just got to go out there and perform.
Q. Can I ask, is it your left wrist or your right wrist?
ZACH JOHNSON: It's my left wrist. Fortunately it's nothing -- not that big of a deal. I thought it could have been worse, but it really isn't. It's really minor. It's just a matter of taking the necessary time.
Q. With the flood situation in Cedar Rapids and you coming back home for, quote-unquote, your fifth major, does that put more pressure on your game to play well here, maybe even as much for moral support for that community as much as anything?
ZACH JOHNSON: You know, I haven't really given it that much thought. You know what, I hope not. I mean, I don't feel a whole lot of pressure anymore. I don't way to say I'm callous to it because that's certainly not the case. But when I came back to play at John Deere, first and foremost I want to have fun. I want to play well and I want to try to win, just like any week.
I don't think the floods are going to have an effect on my pressure. If anything, I think it should alleviate it. But right there it just goes to show, as I said in San Diego, I had a fairly long press conference there, pertaining to it. I'm hitting a golf ball. Granted, I represent this community, certainly the Iowa community, but when it comes down to it, chasing a white golf ball and hitting it again really in the grand scheme of things is not as important as to what's really going on as to the other people that are affected by such a catastrophe.
That's certainly been my approach. It's always going to be in the forefront of my mind. But I think I can put it aside and focus on what I need to focus on. Hopefully I can play well. And, two, hopefully the people can take some pride in that. I mean, I hope they do because any time something happens back home that's great, I take pride in it.
Alongside of that, I'm just excited to be -- I'm just excited to come back to that area and play. I want to play well, like I said. But last year if there was any pressure after being the Masters champ, you think you should be able to go out there and play well at one of the tournaments you've played the most, and heck, I missed the cut. So there you go.
Q. In kind of going back to last year and leading up to the tournament last year, you were taking a couple weeks off, going on extended vacation with your family and kind of lived up to your form of not playing well the week back from vacation.
ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah.
Q. Does the injury and this layoff and having some time off coming back into this tournament set you up for playing well here or does it hurt your hopes of playing well here again?
ZACH JOHNSON: You know, I don't know. You know, I understand where you're coming from there. As far as taking time off, yeah, there's been a lot of times when I've come back and it's taken me maybe a week to get back into things. Because, like I said, I think I missed the cut last year, pretty sure I did, and then I went out to the British and had a decent finish. I don't know where I finished, top 25 maybe. I don't recall. So yeah, you know, there could be some truth to that.
At the same time, if I can get healthy again, get healthy quicker rather than later, I think I could be playing next week. I just don't know. Hopefully I can come into the John Deere in a high gear and perform well. That's what I want to do every week, clearly. But if I do have to take more time off, then I'll prepare more at home for the next week back on the road.
I know what I'm doing. This is my fifth year out here, and I know what I need to do to get into the right mind frame, and certainly into the right golf form, if you will, before I tee it up in competition.
Q. The 20-somethings had a nice run there in April and May. Are these kids coming out a little more confident, a little more ready? And is the next Tiger somewhere in the not-too-distant future?
ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, that's a good question. Those 20-somethings there, they're pretty hot right now. And I don't think that's any surprise. I think there is a little bit of -- I think the kids coming out of college are a little bit more prepared. You know, when I was growing up, I played a lot of different sports and certainly clinged on to golf later in my high school career and obviously chased it from there.
But these kids nowadays, I don't know when it started, maybe in the '90s, late '80s, they find a sport, find kind of a road to go down and they stick with it, and that's really all they do. I'm not saying that's the case for everybody, but it seems like a lot of these kids that are making a dent out here on TOUR early, they eat, drink and bleed golf. As a result they're talented, they're in great condition, great fundamentals. The knowledge of the game certainly has gotten more deep. So they know what to do. They're more prepared, like you said. These kids are good.
It's kind of strange seeing them now. I'm kind of an old guy, kind of more of a veteran type than I am a young gun, and it seems like yesterday I was a young gun. Yeah, they're phenomenal athletes now.
To say the next Tiger is around the corner, I don't foresee that. You'd probably have to go ask Jack Nicklaus' peers when they thought the next Jack was going to be around, because I don't foresee there being another Tiger for a long time.
Even if the right person or the right player comes along that has all the right physical attributes and the ball-striking attributes, this, that and the other, he's unparalleled when it comes to the mental side, he's unparalleled when it comes to the short game. There's a lot of guys that can hit it the way he does, there's a lot of guys that can chip and putt it the way he does, but to put it all together every week and have to make the putts when he has to make the putts, guys saw it in San Diego, it's just freaky. I can't think of a putt that he had to make that he missed... ever. That's a joke.
Q. If I can follow up on the airplane thing a little bit and put you on the spot. You were not totally committal last year about whether you could come back here. Did the airplane make a difference in your decision and are you just glad you didn't have to make the choice?
ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, I see what you're getting at. I don't commit to anything too far -- in other words, earlier than I do -- excuse me. I don't commit that early to any tournament, so to say I was not committed last year, I wasn't committed to anything last year, with the exception of obviously the majors and some of those big World Golf Championships.
But did it influence my decision? I don't know. I love going back and playing that tournament. Did I ever anticipate taking a year off from the John Deere? Potentially, possibly. I don't want to, but from a golf standpoint, from a career standpoint, you know, at some point I may want to look into getting over to the British Open earlier and getting acclimated to the time change earlier and that sort of thing.
I don't know. I've really not dwelled on that or even focused on that. I just know that -- I remember getting on the board, like I said, a few years ago, and I said, you guys get a plane, it's going to be a lot easier for players to play, and as a result they've now got that and it makes my life a lot easier.
I have no idea as to what my future schedule holds as far as golf tournaments go. Heck, I don't know if I'm playing next week (laughing).
Q. You went this long without really having to answer a Tiger Woods question, but I'll throw one at you. You won the Masters by beating Tiger Woods. I know that was viewed as a great accomplishment for you. Someone is going to win that British Open. Hopefully maybe it'll be you. And you'll have to answer the questions about you did it in a field that didn't include Tiger Woods. How unfair or fair is that going to be?
ZACH JOHNSON: Well, I think it's fair. He is a part of golf right now. He is current in golf. So I don't think it's an unfair question. I think it just depends on the label that that winner or that champion gets put on him.
In my opinion, this game is so difficult, certainly from the mental side to the physical side, and that physical side is taking a little bit of a toll on Tiger even. He's not right there; he's human, even though he doesn't perform like one.
So I don't know. I think if I win the golf tournament, the British Open, it really isn't going to bother me whether he plays or doesn't. I'll be perfectly honest with you. Certainly I would love to have him in the field. I think his injury stinks for golf. It's not a good thing. He's our focal player, and when he's not playing, it stinks. We want him to play. I want to play against the best, I want to beat the best; that's why I play. That's why the Masters last year is -- I mean, it is what it is. It was one of the best experiences I've ever had in my professional career, if not the best. To have him not participate stinks all around. It affects a lot of different areas in golf.
However, based on what I've read and based on what has been posted, he's going to come back probably 110 percent. ACL surgeries, from what I've been told, the recovery time is -- the postop stuff is certainly what's most important. They'll get his knee in good shape, and now he's just got to rest it.
When he comes back and he's healthy, he's going to be better than what he was probably this year. That's what's scary, but that's also what's good. Knowing that he's going to be able to come back and play at a high level again relatively quickly I think is awesome. I don't think it should take anything away from the champions of the next two majors, though. That's just golf.
Q. I would imagine if he hadn't been in the field when you won the Masters, it wouldn't have taken anything away from you?
ZACH JOHNSON: Absolutely not. You're absolutely right. I'd still be Masters champion and I'd still be able to go to the dinner every year.
Q. I was going to ask a Tiger question. I wondered if you have ever had problems with your left knee or left leg, and even if you haven't, if you can put into perspective for a lay audience what Tiger accomplished with those kinds of injuries to his left leg.
ZACH JOHNSON: Sure. Me specifically, I've never had - I'm trying to think - remotely an injury in my legs of that magnitude, not even close. I mean, I've had just the occasional tightness and that sort of thing. I really wouldn't even know where to begin there. I haven't had anything that serious at all. I've had some low-back issues that can affect your legs, but nothing more than that. I've never had any knee issues or ankle issues.
Now specifically what Tiger did at the Open with what he had going on internally, I mean, I think we all saw it. He was gasping after every tee shot it seemed like, and he still went out there and performed at an unbelievable level. He was challenged and pushed to the Nth degree, and he came out on top again. I don't know if words describe what he was able to do and what he's able to do mentally as far as getting through things like that.
I think he had, what is it, a bi-fracture, too, or something like that, below his knee in his shinbone? Good Lord, I don't know how he does it. As far as what he's going through each shot, I could not relate. One, I could not relate because I can't generate that much torque and speed. I'm assuming it was just the snapping of his body and that torque that he creates through the ball is kind of what puts the pressure on his knee.
I don't know, but that's just kind of what you see and what analysts and commentators have said. I really know about as much as the layperson, if you will.
Whatever it was, it's very impressive. I was shocked when I heard the news. And that same day I had to withdraw from Hartford due to my wrist, so I was also shocked that my name wasn't on SportsCenter (laughter). I'm just kidding, totally teasing.
It stinks. We all want him out here. I can tell you that. He's a good guy and he's the best athlete in the world playing our sport. You never want to see that go away.
Q. Since we're on Tiger's trail right now, Faldo said that his absence could actually be a good thing for the United States team, kind of make them hungrier. You've been there. Is Faldo right, or is he barking up the wrong tree?
ZACH JOHNSON: You know, I don't know. To make the U.S. team hungrier, that's going to take a lot. I think our team is hungry. Even if I'm not on the team, you still kind of feel a part of it. Because you've been there, one; and two, the other U.S. players that are on that team, you're pushing them.
I don't know, that's a great question. He is kind of the leader of the team, there's no question about that. But there's so many things you can play for in that, and I think the main one is certainly for your country, and behind that your teammates and your captain. It's not hard to get revved up for that.
To be hungrier than what they already are or we already are, I don't know if that's possible. I just know that it stinks not having Tiger.
Q. You've been there; you've been on a team with him. What does he bring? What's the atmosphere like at a team event with him being involved?
ZACH JOHNSON: Well, I think first and foremost, you can see it, especially in majors. But even his on weeks when he's playing on TOUR, it's business. It's work. He's not taking it lightly. He's going through the same regimen, the same routines as he would if it was any other event. I think that's a good thing because he's obviously doing the right things. He cares about it; he is passionate about it, whether it's the Ryder Cup or The Presidents Cup, especially the Ryder Cup.
I remember he took, two years ago, all of his rookies out to eat. I don't recall when or where, but you could see it there, what he was saying and how he was reacting to the Ryder Cup, this, that and the other. We had lost twice in a row or whatever it was, and he wants to win.
He loves it. He loves the competition, he loves representing his country, he loves everything that has to do with competition and the USA. I can't speak on behalf of him, but I'm sure he's frustrated that he can't play this year, but he knows in the long-term that he's got a lot more of these Ryder Cups down the road, and this is the best way to play at a high level in preparation for those.
It stinks right now, but in the long-term, it's a good thing that he's getting this done.
BARRY CRONIN: Well, thank you very much, Zach, for joining us today. There were a lot of enlightening comments and wonderful questions. Thank you all for being on the line, and we look forward to seeing you at the John Deere Classic on July 7th. Thank you very much.
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