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September 29, 2016

Dustin Johnson

Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

JOHN DEVER: Good morning, everyone. Welcome back to the 41st Ryder Cup. Pleased to be joined by Mr. Dustin Johnson.

Dustin, thanks for your time today. Congratulations are in order. Yesterday we announced you are both The PGA of America Player of the Year and that you won the Vardon Trophy.

Perhaps, in general, maybe reflect on what's been a really stellar year for yourself personally.

DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, obviously it's a great honor to win both The PGA of America Player of the Year and the Vardon Trophy. I think one of the things is I think I played really solid all year this year. You know, had a lot of great finishes in a lot of tournaments and finally got that first major.

JOHN DEVER: So you've been here for two or three days, battled some wind. But I'm interested in your impressions of Hazeltine and how you see it as a match play golf course.

DUSTIN JOHNSON: I really like Hazeltine. The first time I came here was in '06 for the U.S. Am. I liked it when I came here for that.

Then obviously in the PGA Championship I played, also. I think it's a great golf course. It's in fantastic shape right now. I'm glad the wind is not going to blow quite as hard as it has the last three days, but I think it's a great match play course. I think you'll see a lot of good golf out there. And hats off to the grounds staff, because it's in perfect condition.

JOHN DEVER: Okay. Nice of you to say.

Q. You talked about liking the course. How much of a difference can the home crowd and the fans mean to the United States Team and to you?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Well, the fans out here, they have been awesome so far, and it's just the practice days and they have been -- I couldn't believe how many people were out and rooting us on. Obviously a home crowd is a little bit of an advantage. You know, we had a home crowd at Medinah, too, and it didn't quite work in our favor.

But hopefully this week, I think we've got a great team. I really like all the guys on the team. I think it's going to be a fun week. It's going to be tough matches, but you know, we'll see what happens.

Q. Do you think of yourself as a leader on this team, and if you do, in your mind, what does that mean? What does that role entail?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I'd like to think so. But we've got -- there's so many guys on our team, with Phil and Tiger and Strick and Furyk and Davis; we've got a lot of leadership there.

So for me, you know, I just kind of try to do whatever, whatever I can. But with those guys, I don't really have to do too much.

Q. How did that U.S. Amateur go for you in '06? And secondly, have you made any speeches yet in the team room, and do you expect to?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: (Laughs) I did okay in the U.S. Am. I did well at Hazeltine. I made it to match play. I don't know if I lost in the first round or the second round. I can't remember that much.

But I've not made any speeches at this point, and probably not going to (smiles).

JOHN DEVER: You ever in know.

DUSTIN JOHNSON: You never know, right (smiling).

Q. In all the meetings or team gatherings this week, has Medinah been brought up much? Is there any sense of wanting to finish it, and what's kind of the outlook of this team?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: No, in golf, it's one sport, and maybe a defensive back in the NFL, you need to have short memory. So we haven't talked about Medinah at all.

You know, we're looking forward to this week and these matches and this first session we have coming up tomorrow morning. No talk about Medinah.

Q. What's the key for you for playing foursomes?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Drive it in the fairway. But I mean, that's my key always. If I'm driving it well, I think I'm going to play well, and my team's going to play well.

You know, obviously playing in foursomes, you're really trying to hit your partner in the fairway.

Q. Could you talk about the aspect of team play, as opposed to what you guys normally do on a week-to-week basis where you're out for yourself; now you're playing for a team. Do you enjoy that? And could you also talk about the loss of Arnold Palmer, what that means to you and this week?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, team play, obviously we only do it once a year. I played college golf, so I'm kind of used to it. And then I've played in a few of these. But it's a lot of fun. It's nice to actually root for the guys you're playing with instead of playing against them week-in and week-out. I really enjoy it.

This is one of my favorite weeks all year. I always look forward to The Ryder Cup. So, you know, I'm really excited and can't wait for the matches to get started.

Then obviously the loss of Mr. Palmer, it's a great loss for the game. He's been such an icon for everybody. The things he's done for the game will never be forgotten.

Q. I want to go back to your defensive back comment, because you could probably say that your greatest strength is having a short memory, wouldn't you?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah. Or no memory (laughter).

Q. Do you think that's difficult, or would be difficult, for someone who has been on a number of teams, four or five, and has experienced nothing but losing; is it harder to put that behind you?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: For me, I can't speak for everyone else, but for me, no, because I mean, the only thing that matters is this Ryder Cup, and going out and trying to play your best golf and get as many points as you can for your team.

And so for me, it doesn't -- I don't think about what's happened in the past. I've just got to go out tomorrow morning, or whenever I go out, and play, and you know, try to play my best and get a point for my team.

Q. So the achievements and accolades are starting up, piling up, as far as the Player of the Year, Vardon Trophy, major championship win. Representing your country and competing for The Ryder Cup, where does that fit in your rank of things that are most important to you? What does it mean to you?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Every achievement is very important to me, and then obviously representing my country, it's different. But it's right up there with all of them. You know, I really enjoy representing my country. It means a lot to me and I've really enjoyed playing on The Ryder Cup Team.

Q. Two years ago, you obviously were going through a lot off the course. Were you able to watch that Ryder Cup at that time? Was it hard to watch it, if you did, and how much of a stronger and more motivated person are you for this Ryder Cup after everything that you've gone through at that stage?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, it was definitely hard to watch, because obviously I had made the team, but you know, elected not to participate; but to work on myself.

I think it's paid off a lot, as you can see, over the last couple years how well my performance has been. And so to me, it was the best thing for me at that time. I can see it paying off tenfold right now.

This year, I come in playing really well and got a lot of confidence in the game. I'm really looking forward to this year's Ryder Cup.

Q. In the U.S. locker room, has there been any discussion, or what's the mood surrounding Danny Willett's brother's comments from yesterday?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I've only heard about, you know, a little bit of what he said. I haven't seen it. But the U.S. Team, we're not -- we haven't really been talking about it.

Q. Not sure why I'm thinking about this so much, but have you noticed, seeing Europe the last couple days, why they are not wearing hats? (Laughter).
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I didn't notice.

Q. Not at all?
JOHN DEVER: You will eventually.

DUSTIN JOHNSON: I really haven't even paid attention. I haven't really seen them. I saw Westwood putting yesterday, but he doesn't wear a hat all the time.

JOHN DEVER: On that note, Dustin Johnson, thank you for your time, sir.

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