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January 1, 2020
Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii
JOHN BUSH: We'd like to welcome Dustin Johnson into the interview room, a two-time champion here at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. Earned his way with his win this year at the Mexico Championship. Dustin, welcome back. If we can get some comments on being back at Kapalua.
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, you know, I've been here for, what, this is the 10th or 11th time I've played here. It's a place I always enjoy coming. When you do get a win on the TOUR, you're excited to get to come back here to Maui.
Obviously the changes with the golf course, it's going to be a little different this year. I think they made really good changes. I think it's going to play difficult just because the greens are so new. They're really firm, so it's hard to get the ball close to the hole. It's a great way to start off the year.
JOHN BUSH: Quick turnaround since the Presidents Cup. Talk a little bit about the state of your game coming into the week.
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, I felt like I played pretty well at the Presidents Cup. Obviously it was a good outcome for us. It was very close, though, the whole way. But you know, that was my first week since the TOUR Championship, and yeah, I was pleased with the game and how I played there, especially being my first week back and coming off of surgery. The game is in good form, though, I feel like. I've played the last six days here, and I feel pretty good.
Q. Given you've been here six days, can you give us a bit more light on the changes and how specifically the course will change?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, obviously some new tees they added on 3, 9 and 10 make the course longer, but it's -- and then they redid all the greens. They didn't really change the course at all. They redid the greens.
You know, on a few holes like 10 where we kind of had all the pins on the left, on 13 every pin was on the left. They give you some more options, but it definitely makes it more difficult just because there's pins on the right, but the slope in the middle of the green is more severe. You've really got to make sure you're on the right level or at least not -- you can't be on the higher level. You can be putting up the slopes, you don't just want to be putting down them.
Q. Obviously you played the Presidents Cup and you're coming in here. How long realistically and is it this week where you feel like you'll knock off that obvious win where you're going to keep that roll going?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Game is in good form, so I'm excited about this year. I'm healthy. My knee feels good. No issues there. So I'm looking forward to this year and hopefully getting back to the form I was in a couple years ago.
Q. I think you've won 11 of your 12 years on TOUR. For someone like that who's done that, do you ever -- I don't want to say do you ever take winning for granted, but do you come to expect it?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I mean, I expect to win, yes, but I don't take it for granted just because it's so difficult to win out here. The guys out here, they're so good, and any week, anybody that's in the field can win the tournament if they play really good.
You know, you never take it for granted because you don't win that much. If you think about the amount of times you play, so winning is still special, and it's always going to be special to me.
Q. You've won 20 times.
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Which is not that many considering how many tournaments I've played.
Q. Are you proud of that or do you think you should have done more?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I mean, yeah, I'm proud that I have 20 wins out here because it's very difficult to win, but yeah, I definitely feel like I should have more.
Q. How many?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Probably about double.
Q. How long did you go after the surgery like before you could even pick up a club?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: The first time I hit balls or like -- I've chipped and putted maybe like three, four weeks after -- maybe a month after, or I putted. Then I hit a couple chips. But I probably didn't swing until probably about seven or eight weeks after. And it's funny, you take a break, and so you'd think you'd be like wanting to get out and practice, but I was like -- it was on a Monday, I remember I went up to the Floridian and I was practicing, hit balls, and had a really good practice session, and I'm like, all right, I'm going to get back into it. Tuesday came, no; Wednesday, no. I didn't go back. Then finally the next Monday I was like, all right, I'm going to start this Monday. Hit balls, a good session. Yeah, didn't work. Waited until the next Monday.
But yeah, more like -- I really started practicing probably two weeks before Presidents Cup, which would have been a week before Tiger's.
Q. Was it just the fact that -- why didn't you want to go back? Was it just --
DUSTIN JOHNSON: So everything was good, but it was more -- it was still the driver, which is what was kind of -- which is the reason I didn't play at Tiger's is just because when I hit drivers, it wasn't that it hurt, I just could feel it in the transition of the driver, like when I would kind of load into my left side, and so then I would kind of back out of everything. So that's why I kind of kept pushing it back until I could do everything I wanted to.
Q. Going back to the question about the 20 wins, what do you consider a successful year, and how has that changed, if at all, over the last five, six, seven years?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Well, I mean, obviously I know what I'm capable of, and I know what it takes to win out here. You know, for me a successful year would be just obviously winning three, four times and then competing in all the majors, just putting myself in a position to win golf tournaments every week, really.
Q. Are you surprised you haven't had more success, if that makes sense? Are you surprised you haven't won more, if that makes sense?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I mean, surprised? No. Like I said, it's very hard to win out here. But should I have won more? I mean, I think so. Or could I have? Yes, I believe so. But I've still got a few good years left in me.
Q. Are you playing a new Sim driver, and can you describe that, and are you putting it in the bag?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, the new TaylorMade Woods, the Sim and Sim Max. I'm playing the Max. I've got the Max driver and 3-wood, and I'm actually going to play a rescue club, I think, which I never thought that would happen. But I don't know, I've been hitting it the last few days. I hit it quite nicely. I don't know, we'll give it a run for a little while, see how it works.
Q. Can you remember ever hitting a rescue before, and what did you take out?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, I can remember. I played a long time ago, I had a -- this is probably my first couple years on TOUR I played a rescue club a little bit, kind of switched back and forth between a rescue and a 2-iron, depending on the course.
But yeah, I took out the 3-iron. We'll see. I don't know, I'm going to go hit some on TrackMan and see how far it's going.
JOHN BUSH: Dustin, don't give up, keep grinding. Thanks for your time.
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I won't.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports