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December 16, 2007

Zach Johnson


JOE CHEMYCZ: We welcome Zach Johnson in, Zach with a 4-under par 68 today, finishes off at 15-under par, all four rounds in the 60s this week. That has not been done in the history of this tournament. And closing with a nice birdie there at 18. Congratulations on a good week and a good 2007. Maybe just talk about the week as it unfolded.
ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, very, very pleased, certainly with the way I finished. I made some putts coming down the stretch. My putter was very sour for most of the day. I hit it really good for most of the day. As a whole this week, if there's any negative I would say it was the par-5s. I just didn't capitalize when I could or should have. But that's being pretty picky.
A lot of positives this week, and certainly as I look to a couple times over the last two or three days, I think it's given me a little bit of confidence with what I'm doing and it's certainly going to help me going into '08, so I like what I'm doing.

Q. You felt like you were able to put a little bit of pressure on the front runner there?
ZACH JOHNSON: You know, I don't know. I didn't look at the leaderboard until -- where was the leaderboard? It was well into the back nine. I didn't have any idea where they were, and I knew that he hit the green in two on -- I heard he made birdie on 10 based on the roars, and I heard he made birdie on 5, so I figured he's just doing his own thing, and here he goes. Every time I looked back he was pretty much in the middle of the fairway anyway.
I don't know if that guy knows what pressure is, so I don't know if I could put it on him. It looked like Jim was playing well, too, for a while. You know, I don't know. I was just trying to stay in my game. I think for the most part I did a pretty good job of that, really just one hiccup that cost me.

Q. When you were standing over the putt on 18, did you have any idea it could be worth $270,000?
ZACH JOHNSON: No, I figured it could be a lot. That thing broke five feet. I'm just trying to get it down there so I have a tap-in two-putt, or an easy two-putt for that matter. It just seems like it's a pretty good way to end '07 for me, because it's been a good one.

Q. How far was that putt?
ZACH JOHNSON: That was about -- well, it rolled probably 30 feet, but I would say it was probably 25.

Q. You were talking a little bit yesterday that you have new goals for 2008, kind of want to look forward a little bit, but yesterday you also said that you felt pretty lucky to win a major in Tiger's era. Do you think that it's going to be impossible to do so again by virtue of having said that?
ZACH JOHNSON: Absolutely. Anything is possible, certainly possible. The bottom line is -- it's twofold. He is arguably the best player of all time, certainly the best player in the modern era, and he's setting records and will continue to do so. But I'm sure he'd say the same thing, the depth of our sport is pretty substantial. It just doesn't surprise me the guys that win majors because they're all good, and it's just a matter of having one good week. The courses, the majors, they're for the most part pretty difficult. If you're a little bit off, anybody can get on and anybody can win.
I think we saw that this year. I mean, certainly I wasn't supposed to win. Padraig and Angel have been around forever and certainly they're proven world-class players, but there's always surprises.
Yeah, I feel like I could probably win. Every level I've gone to I've had some success, so there's no reason why I can't do it again. It's just a matter of motivation and continuing to work hard.

Q. You started talking yesterday about using this as a springboard for '08, but I asked you if there was any part of you that was reluctant to say goodbye to this year and you kind of answered it by talking about next year. Could you amplify on letting go of this year?
ZACH JOHNSON: I think you have to. I mean, you have to -- obviously this year is positive through and through. But you have to let go because if you start dwelling on those, then things go astray. It's just like in a round of golf, man, I made three birdies in a row, oops, double. You have to put that stuff aside and stay focused on the present. I think for the most part I did a pretty good job of that. I could always do better both on the course and forward here in setting goals.

Q. (No microphone.)
ZACH JOHNSON: Not to this level, no, you're right, I'm not. I'm going into unknown territory, but that's exciting. Certainly once you get a taste of the high life -- is that a commercial or something (laughter)? Those are funny commercials, by the way.
You want more of it. Once you get a taste of something that cool, that special, you want more of it, whether it's another green jacket or winning another major, being on the Cup teams, winning the FedExCup, whatever. You just want more and more of it. It's a pretty sweet drug.
I mean, that's what's going to motivate me for '08. Like I said, I've got to put whatever, good or bad, in the past. You've got to put it behind you and look forward. What's encouraging is I know I can still improve, even though this year was great.

Q. I just wonder, you're down -- yesterday you spoke of this, but you're down quite a few shots. You're out there trying to play your own game I assume and not worry. Did you think when Tiger started stumbling you might catch him? And secondly, what does it feel like beating all these guys except Tiger?
ZACH JOHNSON: You probably missed what I said. I didn't know what he was doing. I didn't know if he was stumbling. I totally anticipated him not stumbling. I wished he would have stumbled more. What did he finish at, 21?

Q. 22.
ZACH JOHNSON: Did he birdie 18?

Q. He birdied 17.
ZACH JOHNSON: So I tied him today? Well, there you go. If today was the first round I'd be tied for the lead potentially, but it's not.
Like I said, our fields are deep. Even though it's 16, you're talking about 16 of the best players in the world, arguably one of the most talented fields in the world right here. Any week you finish in the top whatever, five, three, two, that's a fantastic week for me. Maybe not for Tiger, but it is for me. I'm very happy.

Q. What do you make of Rory withdrawing?
ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, I found out. You know, I know Rory. He's one of my neighbors on the road, so to speak, because we both have buses. I know his family pretty well, and I know his trainer. I work with his physical therapist trainer a little bit. I saw him last night briefly. If it's an injury I hope it's minor, and that's my only opinion because I really don't know what took place. For me to judge something like that, I don't know what it was. Was he playing well? I don't have any idea. To each his own.
JOE CHEMYCZ: Zach, congratulations on a good week.

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