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October 6, 2015

Zach Johnson

Songdo IBD, Incheon City, Korea

Q. What do you think of the course for this event?
ZACH JOHNSON: You can hit it out there and be pretty aggressive, which is fine. That's fine, especially with match play and this kind of format. The green complexes certainly are the course's defense in my opinion.

But they are really good. I mean, I don't think they are -- someone said they have softened them since the Champions Tour played here, and you know, they are kind of quad wanted, if you will. There are certain pins that you can be really, really aggressive. And sometimes long better than short. Sometimes left is better than right, obviously goes without saying. Meaning there's a couple pins out there and certain winds, I think you just -- you've got to get at it. And there's not a whole lot of area to land it.

It's going to require aggressive golf. That's what I saw.

Q. Any holes in particular that you like, good strategy match-play holes?
ZACH JOHNSON: I think the 14th hole comes to mind. Obviously you're getting through the latter part of the round, latter part of the match, and depending on where the tee box is could determine kind of the risk/reward sort of mentality. It's all situational out there.

If one guy can get there, one guy can't, who is hitting first, who is hitting second. I think that's the beautiful thing about that hole. And you hit a good tee shot, you can have a chance at it, too, clearly. But you hit a good tee shot right, you're going to have a chance at a three, with a wedge. So that's a great little hole right there.

What a fantastic par 5 to end the day. The wind right now, even I can get there. So it is risk/reward in that sense. It's awesome. You have to thread it down the right side, the bombers do, and if we get any sort of substantial wind it becomes even that much more crucial of a hole and crucial of a tee shot. I really haven't seen the forecast, I know it's calling for rain maybe on the weekend.

But those two holes come to mind. There's a few other ones. I think the 10th hole is a beautifully-designed hole, architecture, everything about it is really, really cool. Green slopes front to back actually, especially on the left side. Kind of the way the fairway sits, it's very cool.

Q. Jay was in here earlier and was asked what his captain philosophy is. What would you say?
ZACH JOHNSON: I don't know if I could put him -- Jay is Jay. He's his own personality, his own captain. I would say there's a reason why he's captain. One, his resumé is terrific. And two, the respect level, and I would say the -- just the posture he has for this sort of thing is attractive and warranted. He's experienced in this realm, too.

So you know, if I'm going to get more specific, with his mentality, I would say it's one where he wants all of our input. That being said, if I have a leader and he wants my input, I'm not suggesting that he needs to listen to me. He just wants my opinion and that's fantastic. But whatever he feels is the best for the team, Jay is going to do.

I think he's been awesome. Jan, his wife, has been just as good. He's got a great ensemble of guys that he can kind of powwow with for assistant captains, too. There's a lot of experience there, a lot of knowledge, a lot of wisdom. So he's right where he should be.

Q. Could you compare him to Freddie?
ZACH JOHNSON: If I were to pick one out, that would probably be the one. There's a lot more thought than we probably know with Freddie and Jay, but very little said, if that makes sense. They are not making it -- they are not overdoing it. There's not a lot of just rhetoric. If they are going to say something, it's probably got some meat to it, some substance to it.

I guess it's one of those that to me, their captaincies are kind of, use-words-only-when-needed kind of thing.

Q. Speaking of leaders and you've played on many of these teams with Phil. What characteristics make him a great leader?
ZACH JOHNSON: Well, I think he's been in every situation, so the experience, like you said, it goes a long way, especially with some of the rookies in particular. Bottom line is, is he's kind of an Alpha dog in a sense. I would say Jim is right there, too, personally, both those guys are willing and able to and wanting to shed light and take that leadership role. But the beauty of those two is they want to converse and communicate with the others and feel everybody else's thoughts.

Would I also say, you know, he is the Alpha doing. He does have kind of that mentality of: You know what, I've done it and I know what it's about. But there's also a significant selflessness there, if that's even a word. In other words, he knows he's just one 1/12th of the team. When you have a leader that gets that, that's pretty awesome.

Q. Do you have a theory why the Americans have done so well in this event versus The Ryder Cup?
ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, we've made more putts. I really haven't studied it and diagnosed it down, but there may be something -- I've heard this. I'm not suggesting, I'm making this up because I heard this. There may be some merit to the depth to what we have in the format this was prior to this year. So there could be some of that.

All that being said, Muirfield got really, really close. So the other piece of it is that we play this every year. The International Team only plays every either year, including The European Team plays every other year.

But in talking to some of the International Team members, I think our camaraderie and chemistry, expectations and just kind of protocol is kind of cemented to a degree. They have got different language barriers, they have got all sorts of things that are just difficult -- it could be road blocks. I'm not suggesting because I don't know, but there could be some things inside there that are just difficult to manage, difficult to navigate.

Q. Are you more relaxed at this event?
ZACH JOHNSON: Probably so. I would think that question would better be served for like the assistant captains that have played on both and captained both.

But in my opinion, I mean, I feel like we make The Ryder Cup a bigger deal than what it needs to be and it's almost like we are trying too hard. It is a big deal; how can you say it's not. But the more emphasis you put into anything, the harder it becomes. The pressure almost rises and/or even exists and doesn't necessarily need to be there.

I think it's just a matter of realizing it's just golf and just go hit shots.

Q. Being part of the history, you've won some of these -- so therefore, there's a psychology for success?
ZACH JOHNSON: Very possible. It's hard to say. You can break it down a number of different ways, both on their team, our team and the European Team. Bottom line is last year at this time, that team was really, really deep in Europe and playing really well, essentially all of them. There was a trend there.

2012 at Medinah our team was playing really, really well. I would argue, you could say the same thing about Wales. We won three of the four sessions I think, maybe halved one. We won three of the four and lost one -- my point is it's not that far off because we are winning Presidents Cups and we have been closer in Ryder Cups than most people think. Last year we got shellacked. You can chop it up, diagnose it any which way you want. Somewhere in the middle there, there's probably some truth. But the bottom line is, we've got to play a little bit better.

Q. I know it's early in the week, but can you sense at all the kind of influence that Fred has had on Jay?
ZACH JOHNSON: I mean, the personalities, they are very good friends, so it makes sense. They have kind of -- I mean, I would say Jay is probably a little bit older, not by much, a couple years. I don't know how old they are.

But they have gone through life together and they are good buddies, so, yeah, there's a lot of similarities. Like I said, their personalities are one where their competitive nature does come out.

Q. What do you think the biggest challenge would be for a captain, you're 8-1-1 in this event. What's the biggest challenge for a captain?
ZACH JOHNSON: In talking to some of the captains, obviously Davis is one of my very close, personal friends and a neighbor of mind; and knowing to Jay and talking to him and those guys, some of the hardest decisions for them are like, what bag should we use -- anyone like these head covers? I was talking to Bill; I played with Bill today. It's that kind of stuff.

Really, when it comes down to it, we are all professionals. There is some strategy and there is certainly some thought that needs to go into who is playing when and pairings and that kind of thing. But it's the little mundane things that it seems to me that kind of get in the way of what they really want to focus on.

Q. Do you love your shoes?
ZACH JOHNSON: My shoes I think are pretty sporty.

Q. How about your avatar?
ZACH JOHNSON: I feel it's pretty realistic (laughter). It's got two arms, two legs and a head. And then after that, there's not a whole lot of similarities. I was looking at the board over there briefly on the putting green. That was the one time I actually feel pretty good about myself standing next to Dustin. Evidently it's a pretty big deal.

I was thinking on the putting green -- my own theory on it is they all kind of look the same except for the face, right? I think that's a pretty cool thing.

In other words, you look at it in the sense that, everybody is just the same. A person is a person. Don't judge a book by its cover, that kind of stuff. Sounds ridiculous. I don't know.

Q. Jason Day looks pretty realistic.
ZACH JOHNSON: Those two come to mind, yeah.

Q. What does it say that Jim Furyk is here this week even though he's not able to play?
ZACH JOHNSON: Jimmy is a really, really good friend. I was texting him last week a little bit just because I was feeling for him. I didn't need to know everything because it's none of my business, but I was thinking about him a lot last week. I thought we might be playing together, too, because I think we would be good together.

It doesn't surprise me that he's here. These tournaments and this team atmosphere -- he's a team guy. He loves team sports but he's a team guy. These experiences are so much fun and there's not an individual that's been on one that doesn't want to be on the next, and Jim and Tabitha, like I said, they have become leaders of ours, on and off the golf course.

Having them both here, it's just -- it would be strange to not have them here, I've got to be honest with you. He may have missed one in there somewhere, I don't know if he has, in his tenure on TOUR. I missed a few and I hated that. I sat on the couch and watched every second of it because I wanted to be on the team. It still is my team, you know, as a fan. But yeah, Jimmy, that's just the way he is. He's very unselfish and very much a team player.

Q. Jay was saying this morning, he went through all the players and asked who they wanted to play with and as is the case, everybody said they will play with everybody, but needs more information. Are you sensing that?
ZACH JOHNSON: I'm not afraid to give information. I don't know what everybody else has told him. I don't have any idea. He's basically come to us individually not corporately. I don't know what others have said. I personally have said, I really, when it comes down to it, you can put me with anybody any day all five matches and I don't care -- obviously first four matches, I don't care who I play with.

But this is kind of what I'm thinking, just seeing where he was. He's accepted my input. I don't know. That's shocking to me. I think I've given him enough, I can't speak on behalf of the other guys. It's been individually via text or in person. And it's changed, too. It's evolved.

Granted, Jimmy is not here. Told him I would love to play with Duf, but Duf is not here, either.

Q. You and Jordan?
ZACH JOHNSON: Jordan and I have talked about it a lot. One, we are great friends, and two, there are some parallels in our game in how we manage it and approach it, the same golf ball, to get more specific. But there are some things there that if we ever get the opportunity somewhere down the road -- and maybe this week, I don't foresee that happening. But I think we could do some good work. I also think it depends on the golf course.

Q. Did you do anything different to prepare for this week?
ZACH JOHNSON: I had four days off. So no, I didn't. I played on a charity event, Stewart Cink's charity event Monday after THE TOUR Championship. Tuesday, Wednesday, I took off and Thursday, I practiced all day and Friday I took off.

I worked out three of those days and Saturday I flew here. It not like I had a whole lot of time for preparation. I was so focused on the FedExCup at that time that I was trying not to think about this, which is very difficult, much like The Ryder Cup. You can't not think about it. But my preparation was very similar. I had a big, long day on Thursday. I just blocked out that day. Actually Wednesday night, I was making sure I was getting prepared.

Q. Where is the Claret Jug?
ZACH JOHNSON: It's in its case back at home. I should have brought it. Phil got upset I didn't bring it. Actually Amy got more upset that I didn't bring it. That's all right.

Q. Do you anticipate the phones and pictures and that noise being a distraction at all?
ZACH JOHNSON: You know, I was. I didn't realize it. Someone mentioned it yesterday or the day before that; that it's going to be something you've got to pay attention to and/or combat. I'm thinking, here we go. It's almost like there's a ton of them going off. It's like a slot machine. You're going to a casino, that's what it sounds like, and that's fine. The more, the merrier.

It's kind of like, would you rather have eight to ten or 12 people over there kind of moving, or would you rather have tunnel vision with a lot of people. I'd rather have a lot of people. So I'd rather have a lot more going off than just one or two. It is what it is. Tee it up.

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