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January 29, 2015

Zach Johnson


Q. Can you talk to the difficulties of the new greens?
ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah. I mean, I feel like some of the greens are not settled yet. That's part of it. The new ones, obviously the new ones in particular, like 3, 4, 14, or 15? 14. 13 and 14. You see a little bit of a -- I mean, they still roll fine. Don't get me wrong. There are like seams -- channels, I'd say. It's hard to read. You stand over it with your feet and it's got to go right and it goes left. Something along those lines. But they are still good. I mean, it's just a matter of -- I think it's the changes -- I mean, I thought it when I first saw it. Monday, Tuesday, I thought the changes for the most part are definitely better.

Q. What caused you to skip this tournament the last few years and what brought you back this year?
ZACH JOHNSON: You know, there were a number of reasons. I don't think it was anything consistent. I think part of it was just the scheduling, the way the schedule laid out. Fortunately I have been able to play Hawaii and Hawaii. Sony is a good one usually for me. Then I got really used to playing Palm Springs. This one was always a question mark. It was one of those -- you know, you got match play usually in Tucson. Now that's changed fortunately, and I think -- you know, I don't want to say I completely, 100% try to avoid poa annua, but that's somewhat accurate. These are not. I mean, I usually -- I kind of like these greens more so than poa annua. You know what? It's just the way the schedule is laid out. I really try to be prepared for Augusta but also kind of play into it. I play a pretty heavy schedule in Florida, so this is my forth in a row and I will take three weeks off.

Q. What's your takeaway from today's round?
ZACH JOHNSON: A lot of positives. Holy cow. Today was really good. I missed one green. Go figure. It was 16, so I got booed. You know, I mean, it was a good miss. Wasn't that big of a deal. Pretty simple chip. Couple three-putts. That's really -- the speed got to me early on today. Not that I put myself in a great position. But longer putts, I wasn't even close. I got 10- to 11-footer for par and then like an 8-footer. So all in all, a lot of positives. Like I said, I hit 17 greens in regulation. I had so many opportunities, especially in the back. Every hole I had an opportunity for birdie.

Q. Is there still a sense of frustration, then?
ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, you could say that. At the same time, I made a long putt on 1, made a nice 7-footer on 18 and another 20-footer on 14. You know, probably all evens out to some degree. I hit some close, you know. I mean, you don't expect to hit one close on 4, front pin. It landed one yard short, and as a result, it didn't release. If I landed another yard, landing on the green, that's probably 20 feet. It's one of those situations, you know. Kind of like Bay Hill used to be. You land it just short, it kind of pops up and trickles, and if you land it just on it, it has a bit of a scoot. You know, I don't know if it evens out, but I felt like -- I felt like I could have gone lower. There's no question.

Q. This time of year, here we are in January, your ball striking compared to last January, Hyundai, having a great week there. How do you compare?
ZACH JOHNSON: I feel like it's very close. I mean, granted I'm coming off a day where I hit it really good, so I guess I'm kind of staying right now in the present. I feel like it's been pretty close. I think like my iron play is consistently getting better week in and week out. I played pretty good in Maui. I had a chance to win there, I guess you'd say. Last week I was sick. Still not quite over it, but feeling better. You know, it may not be quite where it was last year. I probably drove it just a smidge better -- well, certainly all of '13 and into the beginning of '14 I was driving it great. I feel like my driver is coming along nice. It's just a matter of time.
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