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April 9, 2019
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, we're excited to welcome the No.2 player in the world, Dustin Johnson to the interview room today.
Dustin, thank you for taking a moment out of your day to spend some time with us, especially since you've had a rain‑shortened practice session today. With your victory at the WGC México Championship, you became the fifth player in 50 years to reach 20 career wins before the age of 35, joining some pretty elite company. What does this mean personally, to you, to reach such a milestone at this stage of your career, and have you allowed yourself to reflect upon that achievement?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: You know, getting one win out on the PGA TOUR is very tough. So to say I have 20 is a big accomplish. And I'm proud of myself for that.
Yeah, I haven't had too much time to sit down and reflect on it. We've had a busy year and a lot of big tournaments, including this one right here that we're playing this week. So you know, I try to always stay focused on what I've got to do.
THE MODERATOR: Speaking of this tournament, you finished the Top‑10 in each of the past three appearances at the Masters. What do you feel needs to happen for you to be in contention and make a run on Sunday?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Well, this week is no different than any week for me, but I'm going to have to do everything well if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday. I feel like the game is in very good form right now. You know, for me, it's all going to be up to my putting. If I can putt well this week, these greens‑‑ I like these greens, they have got a lot of slope in them. It's greens that ‑‑ I like to see the ball breaking; it's something I really like out here. I'm comfortable on the greens, and I think if I can roll it well, I'll be right there come Sunday.
Q. What's the one tee shot that gives you trouble here, and why. And none of them is not a good answer here.
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I think all the tee shots are. For me, I think 7 is a difficult tee ball. And I don't know, it seems like 17 keeps on getting harder and harder every year, too.
But 7 and 17 are ones just because there's not a whole lot of room to start the ball. So if you want to ‑‑ if you have any kind of curve, and especially I don't curve it right‑to‑left, so I don't have much room to start it there.
Q. This is a little off the beaten path. But I wanted to ask about the head cover, the black lab that you've had in your bag sometimes, just what do you think about the company that makes them, if they're good, cute, what reaction you get to them with fans, whatever.
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, the head covers, they make very nice head covers. She's made me a couple of them and I like them.
Q. You're playing with Bryson Thursday and Friday. What do you make of all the calculations he puts into his shots?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: It works for him. I don't even try to understand all of them. Yeah, so‑‑
Q. Have you ever played with him before?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I've played with him quite a few times.
Q. What's it like? Obviously you're not over his shoulder, but what's it like to watch him go through all that?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: It takes a long time. (Laughter).
Q. What are the calculations you make before each shot?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I mean, I'm probably just about the same as most guys. I get the number to the front, a number to the flag, and how far I want to hit my shot, and then if I need to adjust for any wind, I do that. But no magical calculations, really. I don't need a calculator.
Q. Golf is one of the most up‑and‑down games for most players over the years. You've actually been one of the most consistent ones. Just looking, Rory is on a really good upswing and Jordan is trying to regain the form he had. How does the game humble you and how does it change you over the course of a long career, and can you speak to where you were maybe five years ago, ten years ago, and maybe what you've learned to stay consistent.
DUSTIN JOHNSON: It's a very difficult game to stay consistent at. I mean, I work my butt off to try to stay consistent, you know, in the gym, on the course. It's tough. I mean, you know, one day you can go out and hit every shot how you want to and the next day you come on the range and you've got no idea what's going on.
I can't explain it. I try to do things, you know, the same all the time so that I can feel the same on the golf course every day, but it just doesn't always work like that. But that's one reason why I love this game is it's very difficult and you'll never master it.
Q. All the rain softening the course, making it play a little bit longer does that play into your game, or would you prefer it to be firm and fast?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I mean, I've played the course, you know, all different ways. It doesn't matter. If you play good, you're going to shoot a good score, whether it's firm and fast or if it's soft. You've still got to hit really good golf shots. You know, I feel like it plays pretty similar.
Obviously when it's really firm and fast and there's some wind, it makes it very difficult. But you know, because the greens get very tricky. When they are a little softer, you have longer clubs in, but you can hold the greens a little bit easier. It's a fine line of if it's real soft, it's still going to play fairly difficult because it's so long.
Q. And is there one way that you prefer personally?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: No. I don't really prefer either way.
Q. All the strength training and cardio that you do and a lot of other guys do, is it something that you enjoy or is it something that's a necessity or a combination of those two things?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I've started to enjoy it. At first, you know, for a while, I didn't. You know, I was kind of‑‑ I would just kind of be off and on with it. I'd be consistent for a while and then I might take a month or two off, and then I'd get back into it.
But I just saw the results of me playing and my game stayed more consistent when I was more consistent with my training, not just lifting weights, but just going through everything, working, stretching, doing all the little things that I need to do.
You know, I just saw it transfer into the golf game.
Q. You mentioned earlier that you feel that putting is probably the most important part of your game heading into this week. Just curious, what would you say is the greatest putting week you've ever had, and what's your confidence level with your putter heading into this week?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I've been putting well this year, so I mean, I have confidence with the putter. Just kind of probably not as much as I do in the rest of the game, you know, day‑in and day‑out, just because some days, you know, the hole looks like the size of a five‑gallon bucket, and some days it looks like the golf ball is bigger than the hole.
You know, it just all depends. And then the best putting week I've ever had probably was at the BMW at Crooked Stick.
Q. You won that week?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I did. And I didn't hit it that good. I just made everything I looked at.
Q. I was wondering what part of your game feels best right now?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I mean, it all feels pretty good. For me, the biggest part of my game is going to be short game. If my short game is really good, especially around here, you have to chip‑and‑putt it well. If you chip‑and‑putt it well, you're going to have a good week.
Q. And completely unrelated to that, I was wondering if you watched the Drive, Chip & Putt Championship with Tatum, if he's getting to an age where he's interested at all in playing?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I think he's still a little too young, but hopefully he'll be interested and I'll get to come out and watch him play.
Q. Everybody has a different personality on Tour. You seem to be a little drier and more reserved than some of the other players. In what ways would you say that you're misunderstood?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I don't know, that's a good question. I don't know. I think I try to be myself most of the time. I don't really think I'm misunderstood.
Q. In the year since Patrick Reed won here for his first major title, have you noticed, being around him, has that changed him at all or the way he approaches the game or as a person?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I don't think so. I mean, I see Patrick most weeks out here, and then been on a few teams with him, he doesn't seem like he's any different.
Q. Going back to the head cover. Does it have a name?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Charlie is the name. I have a Labradoodle named Charlie, so that's what it's based off of.
Q. I wonder what you think of Brooks's 1,800‑Calorie‑a day diet and if you've ever thought of doing something like that?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: No, I've never counted calories. If I'm hungry, I eat until I'm not hungry anymore and I stop (laughter).
Q. Sounds like a good program.
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah.
Q. I also wanted to ask about Patrick. If you could take one trait of his, what would it be?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Like, what do you mean?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: In his golf game or‑‑
Q. Either the game or the way he approaches it.
DUSTIN JOHNSON: His chipping. He's a really good chipper.
Q. What about from a personality standpoint, is there anything that appeals to you?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: That I would want? I like my personality. I'm okay.
Q. What do you think he would take from you?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I don't know. You'd have to ask him (smiling).
THE MODERATOR: We've established about your diet and your personality. Anything else, Dustin, you'd like to add?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: No.
Q. To be at this stage of your career, are you disappointed to have won only one major, and if you're not disappointed, what would be a better word?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I mean, yeah, I would have definitely liked to have won a couple more. I've had some very good opportunities that I didn't capitalize on.
Disappointed or frustrated, you know, one of those would be okay to describe that. But I mean, it's golf. This game's very frustrating and disappointing at times, but I think I'm happy with my career so far. I definitely think it could have been better. But, you know, I've still got‑‑ hopefully still got a lot of time left in my career.
Q. Rory has talked a lot about a difference between needing to win, specifically, for him, this Masters, and wanting to win; saying that, yeah, he wants to win majors, but he doesn't necessarily feel like he needs to to find who he is. Have you ever thought about the difference between the two? Like when you come to any of the majors, do you feel any need that, I've got to win this week, or is it just strictly that, I want to?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, it's more want. I mean, if you're telling yourself you need to win, I think you're putting a lot of pressure on yourself. I mean, if you talked to any of the top players, they all want to win. Everyone that's out here wants to win. I think that's‑‑ there's definitely a difference. I mean, for me, I want to win every week but I don't need to win.
So it's definitely, I think it's‑‑ you put more pressure on yourself if you're saying you need to win.
Q. Have you ever been caught in that position any time in your career where you felt like you were wanting something too much, basically?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, for sure. Yeah, I've definitely done that, almost trying too hard.
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I mean (chuckles) I think I do that quite a bit sometimes. I try too hard. You probably won't know it, but.
Q. Trying too hard right now?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yes. You're making me think way too hard.
Q. What's the most you've hit into the new 5th hole in your practice rounds, either last week or this week, and what's your take on the redesign of it?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: The 5th hole? I thought it was a hard hole before. They just made it a little bit tougher. The green is a little bit less severe, but you're coming in with a much longer iron. So it's‑‑
Q. How much longer? What kind of clubs?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I played it yesterday. The pin was on the front right, I hit 7‑iron in. But I played it last Wednesday and Thursday, and the pin was back both days and I hit 4‑iron both times.
It was a little into the wind, and pin was all the way back right. It's a long golf hole.
Q. How close are you now to being on the same type of form you were in 2017 coming in here, and how much of that do you think about or look back upon?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I definitely look back at it a lot. I've got videos of my swing from when I was here in 2017, and so I watch those a lot to try to just get some of those same feels, and I feel like the game, it's close. It's not as good as it was then, but I feel like it's going in the right direction.
Q. Even before you started working out a lot, you brought a real athleticism to the pro tour. How much do you think yourself and Brooks Koepka, as an example, have influenced players coming behind you that golfers can be athletes and it's just part of the deal now?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, I mean, I'd like to think I'm a big influencer, and for the younger kids, if you see them all that are coming out nowadays, they are all taller, stronger. They hit it far. Pretty much all the young kids do.
So I think that's great. I just think that's where the game of golf is going. I think Tiger is a big part of that, though. He kind of made golf, you know, cool, you know, a cool sport to play. Because even when I was in high school growing up, like when I first started playing, it wasn't‑‑ just where I grew up‑‑ maybe it was where I grew up, but it wasn't a cool sport to play.
Where now, I think it gets a lot more notoriety and you see a lot more kids playing, and it's looked at more as a sport.
But I think that's a lot to do with all the guys that are playing the game now. There are a lot more athletes playing.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports