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June 22, 2018

Zach Johnson

Cromwell, Connecticut

Q. Like Mike Tirico was mentioning, you look at your card, and you see two birdies, 16 pars and he called it benign early in the broadcast. It was anything but. What a roller coaster it was for you?
ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, I mean, basically one hole in particular was a roller coaster. There was a lot of good out there. There was a lot of boring fairway green, missed putt golf. But there were a couple incidents that were highlights and/or asterisks. I don't know how you'd label it.

Q. Let's get right to 17. You said this might have been one of the best par saves you've ever had in your career?
ZACH JOHNSON: Yes. This is ridiculous. That is an open-faced, PXG 4-hybrid from no -- I have no idea how far we really were, but I could just kind of guess that I'm going to get it over the water, ideally get it around there so I can get up-and-down for a 5, and then that happens. I mean, it was perfect, obviously. But, yeah, you just got to kind of grin at it and continue on.

I was using the lateral hazard rule to my advantage there, and drew a good lie, and obviously the putt was --

Q. You had to play it off?
ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, you can't not at that point. I don't know what a mic drop is, but that's pretty close.

Q. So from there, you're counting it up. There's your 4.
ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, yeah, yep. It was -- let's talk about the tee shot was so bad that I had to go in that position. That's where I kind of got ahead of myself.

Q. What was Damon saying?
ZACH JOHNSON: Damon was -- the beauty of that drop was if we don't have a good lie, which we obviously had a good lie in the rough, is that we could hit a wedge on the fairway and try to play for a 5 that way. But the lie was good enough that I could -- it's a 4-hybrid. I mean, it was high. With a jumper lie like that, I think anything around that pin, I've got a chance to get up-and-down, and it landed, obviously, perfect.

According to the fans and the caddies that were on the green, it almost went in. Maybe I got unlucky? No. That's top three of all times.

Q. Speaking of maybe a little unlucky, the third hole, you see how that played out. It was right on the edge of the lip?

Q. You did the count. Here's the putt.
ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, whatever. It was 18 feet or so. It looked like it was going to fall in because it was coming in the back door there. Once you get to the ball, once you have ample time to get to the ball, you have 10 seconds. Regardless if that ball -- which I found out, if that ball is moving in those ten seconds, it's still deemed to be at rest.

Because the ball did come to rest, as we can see, the label's not moving and I'm counting. You can see me counting. That's ten seconds. Now there is a line there, so I don't want to step on it, but now the ball is rolling, and I'm like, I can't touch it, it's moving. As I get closer to it, it's moving even more. So I don't want to touch a moving ball. However, even if I would have, it wouldn't have mattered. It's a 4. That's all I know is it's a 4.

Q. In the moment you might have thought, oh, I have a chance.
ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, I probably should have walked slow up there and taken my time. But it's a rule protection for pace of play. I guess there's been some incidents way back in the past, so that's the way it is.

Maybe I used the rules to my advantage on 16, and maybe I got bit a little bit on 3. But, hey, it wasn't in at one point, and they said it took about 15 seconds to fall in, so it was about five seconds over. So it's okay.

Q. Overall, shot back.
ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, second round. It's no big deal. Got a chance, got an opportunity for the weekend, and I love what we're doing and how we're doing it. Lot of fairways, lot of greens, and we'll continue doing that and see what happens.

Q. Who knows, by the end of the week there may be a plaque for where you were on 17 with that par save?
ZACH JOHNSON: Oh, I'm not so sure I'll be proud of that one.

Q. Blemish-free scorecard, but kind of a unique sort of a day. Just talk about 16 and number 3, if you would?
ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, 16 was the most. I kind of wouldn't say 3 was that big of a deal. But 16, I hit an awful tee shot, and it was kind of hard to determine where the ball crossed, but I think my playing partners and I were fairly conservative. I don't like to push it on that.

So we took the mark and I used the rule to my advantage and went lateral, which was towards 16 tee box. There was kind of a brown area there that was within two club lengths, so I dropped it there, and I thought, you know what? If I get a decent lie I can maybe give it a whirl because there's really not a whole lot there between me and the hole, and maybe I can get it around the green and make a 5. If I don't get a good lie, I'll just wedge it out on the fairway and try to get up-and-down for 5.

So I got a great lie. Just opened up a 4-hybrid, and it started over in the grandstands and drew in there. Obviously, where it landed is about the only place it could land to get that close.

At that point you have to make that putt. I mean, you can't not hit that shot and make that putt. It felt good. It felt good to get away with that 4. That's as good of an up-and-down as I've witnessed or performed.

Q. What made you think of going right on 16? Have you thought about that in the past?
ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, where I was there if I would have dropped, it would have been -- well, one, it was pretty thick rough, so I would have obviously just wedged it down the fairway and played for a 5 at best. Yes, 5 at best. But I'm like, hey, you couldn't really tell where the line was on 16, whether or not I could get two club lengths on the tee box. If I could have gotten on the primary cut, tee box cut, I'm like I know I can get it on the green from there. We kind of had a ballpark number.

I couldn't, however there was an area there that was very brown and dried up, and probably worked to my advantage that I couldn't because it didn't. It popped up, and it, obviously, it got there pretty easily.

Q. So anyone who has dropped food knows about the five-second rule. But have you ever heard of the 10-second rule before?
ZACH JOHNSON: Oh, yeah. The 10-second rule has always been there. Vague to some degree. I really didn't know. The bottom line is I went to tap it in after 10 seconds and the ball was moving. At that point, even if the ball is moving, it's deemed to be at rest because it's on the lip. Don't ask me why, but that's just the way it is.

So even if I would have hit a moving ball there, it would not have mattered. Technically I wouldn't have to tap it in either, I guess, because it's a one-shot penalty. Once the ball is in the hole, the ball's in the hole.

So you can call it unfortunate. You can just call it the rules of golf. I really don't know. I'm not going to lose one second of sleep. I don't want to say it's irrelevant. It's just the way it goes. It's good to learn the rule though. 10 seconds is there for pace of play is my guess. That would be an assumption, but that's just the way it goes.

Q. The real bottom line is you set up pretty well for the weekend though?
ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, that's just it. There are still 36 holes left of golf, and I like the control I have right now. It's just a matter of going out there and executing. That makes it fun.

Q. Was there any question on the ten seconds or what was your conversation with Mark?
ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, I brought up the situation where like what if I would have marked it? Because technically there was still somebody -- one of my playing partners could still putt. What if I would have marked it, placed it, do I get a bonus 10 seconds? And I didn't really get an answer. But I was pushing it at that point.

Then to further that, if you roll it up there to eight inches, let's say eight inches, and you mark it because you're going to step on somebody's line. For whatever reason, you have to mark it, clean your ball, whatever, and then the ball rolls in after you place it and you mark it, it counts. So that ball is deemed to be at rest and yet it rolled in, but that one counts. But if it's on the lip, it doesn't. It's a rule. I'm not going to say who did it.

Q. The ten seconds doesn't start until you reach the hole.
ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, I think it said you have to enable the player ample time or reasonable amount of time. That's what it was, reasonable amount of time to get to the hole, and that's when the ten seconds begins. I mean, if you see the footage, granted they can go right up on the ball too. You can see the print of the ball. The ball, one, it did come to rest. Two, I was going like this, you know, just in case I miscounted.

Q. But you could have walked a bit slower to the ball?
ZACH JOHNSON: I could have walked really slow to the ball, yeah. But I'm not so sure I would have felt good about that.

Q. Is it one of the weirdest rounds you've ever had?
ZACH JOHNSON: No, it's just one weird hole. 3 is what it is. I missed the putt, made a 4. 16 was very strange. Other than that, I mean, the scorecard looks pretty boring, and it was. A lot of greens, hit a lot of fairways, and made some putts, missed some putts.

Q. What do you want to do to change the scorecard and make it look a little spicier tomorrow?
ZACH JOHNSON: Well, ideally, hit more fairways, hit more greens and make more putts. It's not rocket science. This place, if we get some rain, the greens will be softer so you can be a little more aggressive. You can be more aggressive off the tee because the ball won't roll out as much. I hope it doesn't, because the golf course right now is absolutely perfect.

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