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November 10, 2020
THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, Dustin. Would like to welcome you back to Augusta National and your 10th Masters. You've come off a great year. You're No. 1 in the world, three big wins, TOUR Championship, FedExCup, a lot of good things. You come in with good momentum into a new season, and of course a very unusual timing for our Masters Tournament here. How do you feel about it and how prepared are you, and let us know how things are going.
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Obviously I'm happy to be here. I'm happy we're playing the Masters. I think we're very fortunate and happy with you guys for putting it on this late in the year.
Yeah, coming off a great year and a good finish last week, got a lot of confidence in the game and really looking forward to this year's Masters.
Q. What did you learn from last year's Sunday at the Masters, and a followâ€‘up about 12, specifically, please?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Last year, I played great over the weekend. On Sunday, too, I felt like I played really good golf. You know, just didn't get enough putts to go in the hole. Hit some good putts. They just were burning the edges. You know, it was a lot of fun. Obviously I've been in this situation enough times on Sundays in majors where I can feed off those experiences and kind of know what to expect. It was a lot of fun. I've had a couple good finishes here the last couple years.
As long as the game stays in good form, I think I'm hopefully going to be around here on Sunday and have a chance to win.
Q. How do you think of the shot on 12 to the Sunday pin? Is it a fade shot? A draw shot? A straight shot? How do you play that shot?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Kind of depends on the wind. I'll take it right in the middle of the green to every flag on 12. But yeah, generally, I like to cut it.
Q. Can you describe your COVID experience, and did you have some symptoms, and if, so how sick were you?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, I had very minor symptoms. I felt like I had a cold. A little bit of a fever for, you know, maybe 36 hours or something. But after that, I felt fine. You know, the worst part about it was the quarantining in the room for so long.
Q. A lot is made of the scripting, what you guys wear during Masters week and we get a lot of press releases from the clothing companies. When you know you're going to be up on the stage, do you wear a special shirt for your Tuesday press conference here at Augusta, knowing there's a lot ofâ€‘â€‘
DUSTIN JOHNSON: No, I don't. I didn't even think about it, but I do have scripting for Thursday through Sunday.
Q. As far as the backdrop behind you, do you have any preference on what they put up when you come on the stage?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I do not. Whatever they like is fine by me.
Q. How are you finding the conditions of the golf course in November compared to the spring?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I don't see any difference in the greens. I think the conditions of the course are really nice. It's a little soft, but I mean, I think the last few years it's played kind of soft in April.
But the greens are perfect and the rest of the course is pretty similar.
Q. How much have you played since you've been here, and is your routine any different than it would be in April?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: No. It's the same. I played nine yesterday, nine today, and if I can play a few holes tomorrow, I will, but obviously that's weather dependent.
Q. This question has been going on for 20 years or so, but what is par here for you? What is realistic par for you? Do you feel like it's 72 or more like 68, just given your length?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I don't know, never thought about it.
Q. Asking you to think about it now.
DUSTIN JOHNSON: The par is 72 when you add up the numbers on the holes (laughter).
Q. Tiger with his lengthâ€‘â€‘ (off microphone).
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Obviously this golf course it's tough. They have made it a lot longer through the years. You know, it's really playing long right now.
But yeah, obviously you need to take advantage of the par 5s. I mean, that'sâ€‘â€‘ if you look back through the past winners, they always play the par 5s well. That's something if I want to shoot good scores out here, I need to play the par 5s well.
Q. You've done a lot of work on your putting and taken a different approach to putting. It looks like a different approach, at least, to an outsider looking in. Would you like to comment on how you feel about this? It looks like it's made a difference.
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, I've definitely been putting well, just more consistent. I started using the line of the ball so I know where I'm aiming instead of guessing where I'm aiming. It's definitely helped. You know, just working, practicing a little bit more, working on my start lines and then obviously AJ helps me read the greens. But most of the time we read them exactly the same. So that works out well.
Yeah, it's just basically just work on the start lines and getting comfortable over the putter.
Q. You mentioned that the par 5s being so key, and you had an amazing day, I forget what year, but I think you're the only person to make three eagles in one round. Do you recall that day when you did that?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I do. I do. That was a nice round of golf. I made three eagles. I mean, any time you make one eagle in a round, it's very beneficial and it helps, but yeah, to make three, especially around here, usually going to add up to having a pretty good day.
Q. You mentioned earlier, last Sunday Masters, that the putts just didn't go in, but almost made it sound like you didn't have control over that. Down the stretch with the Masters on the line, how hard is it to execute, keep the tension out of your stroke and all those things?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I felt likeâ€‘â€‘ it's always tough in that situation, you know, Sunday at a major, the Masters. It's the thing where the more you're in that situation, the more comfortable you are.
I felt like I executed well. Just misâ€‘read the putts a little bit or speed was off just a hair, but I was executing them how I wanted to. Just misjudged them.
Q. When you look at how you've contended in nearly every event since the restart, do you feel you're on the best form of your career? Is this the best form of your career?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I feel like I'm playing really, really well. It's probably the best I've played in my career, yeah, but it's more consistent. I don't feel likeâ€‘â€‘ I mean, I feel like there's still a lot of room for improvement, but it's very consistent as far as dayâ€‘in and dayâ€‘out, my shot shape, my flight and controlling by distance. I've put in a lot of work on especially the wedges, being able to control my distance with wedges.
So it's very consistent right now, and I'm very pleased with where the game is at, so I'd say it's pretty good.
Q. Is it going to be more difficult this week without a greens reading book? How is that going to affect you?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I don't really use the book to read the greens. I use it a lot forâ€‘â€‘ especially on like a course last week where I don't know the golf course. I'll use it a lot for second shots, but as far as here, I've played here enough times, I know what the slopesâ€‘â€‘ you know, I know the greens well enough to where I don't need one. AJ, he doesn't use one either.
I'll look at it, but I don't use it to read my putts.
Q. And whenever you guys in the very apparently few times you do disagree on a read, has he ever won out?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, but I'll never tell him.
Q. You're very unflappable on a golf course, after one of your wins this year, I think you might have gotten your fist to about chestâ€‘high, maybe. But inside, is there more going on in the way of, I'm excited, or is that just kind of how you are?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, I definitely get excited and I can feel it coming down the stretch because I want to win. It means a lot to me. I get, I don't know, maybe more excited afterwards than I do right there in that moment because I'm so focused on what I'm doing thatâ€‘â€‘ I don't know how to explain it other than I'm just really focused on what I'm doing and not really focused on the outcome.
Q. How would you compare where you are right now to where you were the year that you had to withdraw from the Masters?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I would say it's really similar. Very similar. Obviously I was playing great coming into the Masters. That was in '17, I think, coming off, what, three wins in a row. They weren't backâ€‘toâ€‘back weeks but three starts in a row I won. Yeah, the game was in really good form. But I think it's really similar to what it was then.
Q. How difficult was that decision to make, and do you feel like you let one get away?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: What?
Q. A chance to win, to win the Masters, but not being able to perform.
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Well, I couldn't play. I would have played if I could have.
Q. This is a different Masters, no Patrons. You've been out there looking around. How does it feel compared to the nine others that you've competed in?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: This is definitely a different Masters, and it's just because the Patrons aren't here. Everything else feels the same. You know, really excited to be here and really looking forward to playing the Masters, and you know, everything's the same other than not having the Patrons.
It's definitely a different feeling out there, and it's going to be a different feeling throughout week. But it's still the Masters and there's still a green jacket on the line. So for me playing, it's not going to really feel much different, but obviously the excitement and having the Patrons around is a big part of playing here at the Masters, and you know, we definitely miss them, or I definitely miss them, and hopefully they will be back in April.
Q. You contracted the virus, and fortunately you didn't get seriously ill, but are you surprised that the TOUR, pro golf, was able to get through these months with as few problems as they have had?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Well, I think the PGA TOUR has done a great job with the plan they have implemented, and the guysâ€‘â€‘ I mean, all the guys out here take it seriously. I think they do a really good job and that's why we haven't had a problem.
Q. Do you tend to skip a shot on the 16th over the pond, and did you do it this year without fans?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I usually do, and I did not do it this year. I thought about it when we were walking by, but there wasn't anyâ€‘â€‘ there wasn't any Patrons yelling at you to skip it, so I just kept on going.
Q. And the other thing, when you first came here for the first time, did it look like a course that was tailor made for you? If so, why do you think it has took you as long as it has to really get a shot at winning?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I definitely liked the golf course from the first time I played it, but you know, it's tricky. I mean, you've got to playâ€‘â€‘ I feel like the more you play it, the more you learn about it, the more comfortable you get out here.
But the firstâ€‘â€‘ for me, the first few years playing here, I felt like I was learning a lot. You know, so I feel like I keep getting better and keep getting more comfortable the more times I play it.
Q. We think a lot about how many major championships a player has won and their place in history and that sort of thing. How anxious are you to add another major and keep going from there?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I mean, of course I would love to win a lot more majors. I'd like to get my second one first, but then, you know, add on to that.
Yeah, I just need to keep putting myself into situations, and I'm playing good enough golf, I feel like if I can put myself in position come Sunday, I like my chances, but we've got to get there first.
I've still got a lot more years ahead of me, so I'm not really too stressed about it.
Q. Growing up in South Carolina, was this the major that you most wanted to win?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: It was. Growing up as a kid, being only about an hour way from here; so on the putting green, hitting chips or putts, it was always to win the Masters, and it was just a tournament because it was so close that everybody, it was what we dreamed about winning.
Q. What is your favorite Masters tradition?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Favorite tradition. For me, I don't know if it's really tradition, but my favorite thing about the Masters is the sandwiches.
Q. Which one?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: All of them.
THE MODERATOR: On that, we're going to wrap up. Dustin, great to have you back here again in the Masters and our special Masters in the fall, and we all wish you the best of luck.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports