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January 10, 2015

Zach Johnson


Q.  Quiet compared to years past when it was really blowing.  How easy is this golf course, if at all?
ZACH JOHNSON:  I don't feel like it's any easier.  If anything, I feel like the last 12 or 13 holes for us were pretty comparable to what we normally see with trades.  I mean, there were some shots that usually were a club‑and‑a‑half difference the other direction, in or down.  So I didn't experience‑‑ early on, yeah, it was pretty benign.  Probably had to take advantage of it.  But for the most part, I think this is what you expect.
Saying that, clearly it can be more severe.

Q.  You're one of only four players to win the Hyundai Tournament of Champions and to win the Sony Open in Hawaii.  The other three players, pretty good names, Vijay, Ernie and Jim Furyk.  What does it mean to be part of that short list?
ZACH JOHNSON:  It means a lot.  I guess it means I like Hawai'i, first and foremost.  I like what both golf courses present, and they are vastly different, yet almost kind of the same.  Hard to explain, obviously one is hilly, one is very flat.  But when it comes to execution with wind and trajectory control, they are both very similar and I like that kind of golf.  That's kind of what I grew up playing.
Controlling your trajectory and paying attention to the wind, sometimes you've got to be conservative and other times you can be aggressive.  Just knowing when and where to play.  I played with Nick Taylor, great young kid, and he didn't play that bad at all and he shot even par.
It's one of those things, the more you play here, the more you get your feet on it, the better it becomes, and I know he'll be back.

Q.  Playing solid once again here?
ZACH JOHNSON:  I played solid, given myself a number of opportunities.  I am putting well.  I was trying to go through the week without a 3‑putt, and that's just nearly impossible.  I had one today, so now I'm going to try to continue that streak and hopefully it's just one by Monday.
I feel good.  I feel good about how I go around this golf course, what I hit off the tee boxes, where the pins are, and knowing how to attack and knowing when to lay off.  Damon and I have I think a good game plan so far.

Q.  You hit every green today, 18 of 18?
ZACH JOHNSON:  I was thinking about it on 17 and I thought about it briefly because I didn't want to think too hard.  Yeah, you can do that here.  You can miss fairways and still do that here.  But I'll take it.  That is part of the goal.  Give yourself opportunities and that's all you can ask for.

Q.  The golf course seems to be different than last year.  When is the last time you thought you could fly it at the flagstick on 18?
ZACH JOHNSON:  I had a full shot, at the same time, usually you've got to play 15 yards from the hole.  That's strange and rare.  But, you know, that's the way it is.  We played a little early today.  The dew is still‑‑ it's not out anymore, there wasn't any mud on the ball or anything like that.  But the ball just didn't release.  You have to pay attention there.
As we get more wind the next couple days, I think this place will dry out.

Q.  Some comments on your day?
ZACH JOHNSON:  It was solid.  I guess I hit every green in regulation and I guess that's a good thing.  I was trying to go the week without a 3‑putt, but I failed on that one, so we'll go the week with one 3‑putt.  I gave myself some opportunities.  I gave myself some putts that didn't go and I made some and that's really what you've got to do.
I put the ball on some holes where you've got to take advantage of it.  I played conservative when I needed to play conservative.  15, I stayed right of the pin, and I knew that pitch.  14, much the same, I just missed the putt.
Just a lot of positives.  For the most part, I putted well.  Especially those‑‑ it's hard to putt 2‑footers out here.  Those two to four footers were quite solid.

Q.  Can you talk about yesterday versus today?  The golf course is certainly a lot different than when you won last year, seems like it's a lot softer?
ZACH JOHNSON:  Yeah, I think it is softer.  That being said, I'm hitting a lot more 3‑woods than last year.  Trying to figure that one out.  Last year there was slightly different wind but really wasn't that severe, either.  Two years ago, obviously.  But I'm hitting a lot of 3‑woods off the tee.  I hit a 5‑wood today off 6 which I've never done.  Just trying to plot my way around and pick it apart.
Early on in the day, there's a little bit of dew so the ball wasn't rolling.  Some guys didn't get it down the hill and I was right on the hill, so things of that nature.  Greens are still receptive, especially when you land it into the grain, you can be aggressive, and like I said, I got a lot of loft in my hand on this golf course.
I've just got used to it‑‑ yesterday, Nick shot even or 1‑over, and he played six shots worse than I did.  It's just really getting your feet on these holes more and the more I play, the better‑‑ the more I like it.  The better I see it, the more I know how to attack it.  The holes you have to take advantage are of the par 5s, and you have to know where to miss it and where to putt it.  Just experience is really what it boils down to.
I remember my first, whatever it was, five, six years I was here, seven years I was here, it was frustrating seeing everyone shoot 5‑ , 6‑under every single day and I'm like, how the heck are they doing that, and I know I can shoot‑‑ last year I shot 1‑over.  I know it can happen like that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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