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April 11, 2015

Zach Johnson


Q.  Well played.

Q.  Just kind of sum up the day, I guess, I know you had a strong back nine.
ZACH JOHNSON:  Yeah, another strong back nine.  Which it leaves a good flavor in your mouth, I guess.
A really good save on the last, but, you know, even if one of those putts‑‑ I said, just hit a good putt, if it goes in, it doesn't really matter, you've played great.  I read it properly and, fortunately, it dropped.
But a lot of opportunities on the back that didn't go in, some that did.  So it probably evened out.
Very content with my back nine.  My front was maybe a little more rolling, roller coaster‑ish.  My short game probably saved me more than my ball striking helped me.
So, once I got the driver kind of figured out on the back, it was one of those situations where I could kind of be more aggressive.
So, yeah, I feel good about it.  Outside of a couple shots on the front nine, I played pretty solid.

Q.  Quite a lot of you shooting pretty low out there.  What do you think the reason is?
ZACH JOHNSON:  I haven't really looked at the board.  I mean, I know ‑‑ I'm assuming there's a lot of guys that were 2‑ to 5‑under for the day, would be my guess.  I don't know what the low number is of the day yet, but my guess is there's going to be some 5‑under, maybe upwards of 7‑unders.

Q.  What are you putting it down to?
ZACH JOHNSON:  Excuse me?

Q.  What are you putting it down to?
ZACH JOHNSON:  I think there's minimal wind, which is pretty typical of the last two days, three days.  Minimal wind.  Maybe a little bit of humidity, which allows the greens to hold ‑‑ I had a couple pitch shots today that, fortunately‑‑ well, one, the 18 one, that stopped short of where I thought it would.
And then on 7, I thought I hit it 20 feet by and it ended up being about four feet, five feet.
So, the greens are still a little receptive, considering the humidity, the temperature, which kind of go hand in hand, I think.  And at one point there was an overcast.
And I think we had, I mean I don't know specifically, but a couple 10ths of an inch of rain last night.  It's just all of that.
It's still playing beautifully.  I mean, if you start being aggressive on certain things, you're going to get smoked.  But it's ‑‑ there's parts of this golf course that are predictable and it's because it's in such good shape.  It's pure.
You know where the ball's going to go, based on where you strike it.  Typically, where it lands, you know where it's going to end up.  It's just a matter of execution.  That's the beauty of this place, you know what you need to do, but you still got to do it.

Q.  A Match Play question.  What do you think of the new format?  Seems like most players approve of it.
ZACH JOHNSON:  I think I kind of got the nuts and bolts of it.  Yeah, I mean, it's always ‑‑ it's a great tournament, because we don't play it.  If we played match play every week, I would think medal play would be the best.  But match play is so much fun, because we just don't see it.  So that is one.
Two, it's a brutal tournament in the sense that usually it's one and done.  Potentially one and done.  I've had ‑‑ I don't know what year it was, but I made it to the semis and you're feeling great.  But the next year you lose in the first round and it's brutal.
And you could play great and win, or, excuse me, play great and lose and then play poor and win.

Q.  That was Chris Kirk's point was that this format should be better.
ZACH JOHNSON:  I think so.  It should.  It should.  I mean, yeah.  My guess‑‑ I think we play three rounds?

Q.  Right.
ZACH JOHNSON:  Kind of like pool play.  And then 16 guys advance.  And that kind of sums it up.  To me, it sounds great.  Why not, right?  And in San Francisco, I mean, I played Harding Park, I want to say ‑‑ well I played the Presidents Cup there, I think I played the American Express there in 2005.  So I played both of those events and I think it's fantastic.
It's not terribly long.  It doesn't need to be.  It plays long because of where it is.  It's got a lot of character.

Q.  Good match play venue?
ZACH JOHNSON:  I think so.  Last time I played a match play event there I was 6‑under through 15 and I lost.  Tim Clark.  He was 9‑under through 15 holes and he missed a 5‑footer.  I won't ever forget that.

Q.  That's right, you did actually play match play at Harding.
ZACH JOHNSON:  Yeah, I think it's a very good golf course.  Is the dogleg left 15 or 18?

Q.  15 and then 18 ‑‑ you know what happened‑‑
ZACH JOHNSON:  We played the par‑5 in Presidents Cup as 18.

Q.  Yeah, I was going to say.  You guys switched it from public play.
ZACH JOHNSON:  So 18 is, is 18‑‑

Q.  The one way over the big ‑‑
ZACH JOHNSON:  All right.  17's a par‑3.

Q.  Correct.  Correct.

Q.  How different from Arizona?  Seems like dramatically different?
ZACH JOHNSON:  You said it.  Dramatically different.  For me, yes.

Q.  What do you think of Jordan Spieth out there with the other players going low?

Q.  The other players going low?
ZACH JOHNSON:  The other guys going low or him going low?  I don't think he's surprised by it.  The kid's so mature.  And he's realistic.  He knows that he can't get too lackadaisical.
Last time I saw, I think he was 1‑under for the day, I mean, I don't know.  He's just got to play solid.  He's got to keep doing what he's doing.  He's got to play cliche golf.
And I played with him a number of times now, I hang around with him quite a bit, because we get along great.  And what he's done the last two days, I won't say it overly surprises me.
I mean, it's very impressive, that goes without saying, but I'm not shocked at his maturity level on the golf course here, confidence from last year, and he's even a better kid off the golf course.

Q.  Back nine compared to the front nine.  I know the back nine gets a lot attention, obviously.  The front nine, it needs some attention to it because of how difficult it is.
ZACH JOHNSON:  Oh, gosh, personally, for me, I think the front nine is harder.  But that's just me.  The par‑5s on the back, I can get home.  But I was in between a 5‑iron and a 4‑iron on 13 today.  I hit a poor drive on 15, but I've gone for it the previous two days.
You still got to execute, don't get me wrong.  But 2 I can get home here.  I actually hit a real good drive today right at the left edge of the trap and it kicked right in the trap.  I mean, I should have been left of it, but my point is, I can get that one.  At least get down into that area.  I don't always try to get it on, but I can get in the vicinity.
8, I've only gotten home once in a practice round and once in regulation, so it's hard for me to get there in two shots.
I just think when you throw in 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, those are just harder holes on the front there.  10 and 11 are the two you really got to get through on the back.

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