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July 9, 2010

Zach Johnson


Q. Talk a little bit about the round, how you finished up there.
ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, I mean, I shot -- what did I shoot, 1-under? 2-under, thanks. Once again, I think it was fairly indicative of how I played. I thought I gave myself quite a few opportunities today. Driver was really what cost me. I think it cost me -- I can think of two shots, potentially even three. But I mean, given the conditions, you've got to hit the ball in the fairway because it's not releasing that much.
All in all, there's certainly more positives than negatives. I thought I gave myself some good opportunities on the front, especially the last two or three, three or four holes, four or five holes. Just didn't get any putts to drop on the last nine.
But you know, you can't lose it on the second day. Well, maybe you can if Steve's 17-under. (Laughter.)
You know, I've certainly got some work to do, which is good. I don't mind.

Q. Can you talk about the 11 days off without touching a club? Is it getting there? Is the rust coming off, or did you see an improvement today?
ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, I think so. I think the rust is coming off. I mean, I know what I've got to do and I know -- for the most part I know why I miss shots. It's just -- when I say rust, it's just a matter of getting set up properly. It's a matter of ball position, alignment, the basic things, weight, you know, tilt, that sort of stuff, tempo.
All in all, I think it's not that big of a deal. I'm going to go hit some balls on the range, and I think I'll be able to get back on the right track fairly easily.

Q. Why do you take 11 days off as opposed to, say, six or seven?
ZACH JOHNSON: Well, first of all, I was -- right in the middle of those 11 days, I was on a quick vacation with the in-laws, so golf clubs aren't going on vacation.
Second, four weeks, I needed 11 days off. That's a -- four weeks when I was in contention at least twice, and I made the cut every tournament, so you're talking 16 competitive rounds, and the final tournament was a major. Mentally, physically, I was spent.

Q. How do you approach things with the scores the way they are?
ZACH JOHNSON: It sounds so cliché, but you can't pay much attention to it. You've really just got to play your own game and avoid -- those are outcome-oriented thoughts, I think, when you're looking at a board. I mean, there's times you're going to look at it. There's times if you're right around the cut line or obviously coming down the stretch of a tournament, but all in all, you've just got to stay in the moment, got to stay in the present.

Q. How tough is it to put a schedule together right now with the majors, and you obviously want to play here, the FedExCup, a Ryder Cup year, a whole bunch of things coming up at once.
ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, it's not easy, but I've kind of got a formula to it. It's based on a number of different elements, a number of different factors that will help me play my best, I think. Staying fresh, so -- staying fresh, the ingredients there are when do I play and when do I not play. And then obviously what golf courses are suited to me, where have I had success, and then obviously you plan around the big tournaments, the WGCs, the majors, that sort of thing.
There's a number of elements involved, and I'm still learning. I mean, I tried to play four in a row and end on a major; probably not the right thing to do. I'm not trying to second-guess it because I had to try it at least once.
I think I can play four weeks in a row, I just don't think if it's smart ending with a major.

Q. The last weekend was fantastic for you. Knowing that happened last year, you said that yesterday, but this thing is not over. Is that the way you take it for the weekend?
ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, you never know what can happen. I mean, we're talking about top three or four best player in the world at the top of the leaderboard. You've got someone who's five shots back when he hasn't even teed off yet and a proven winner himself. So you know, it is what it is. I'm not going to try to be too -- I've still got to play my game. I mean, you feel like you've got to go after every pin when you're down, I guess 11 shots right now. So you feel like you've got to be really aggressive.
But at the same time if I start getting really aggressive, that's when bogeys surface. So I've got to play my game, hope for some putts to drop, and hope for some -- take advantage of the short -- the easy holes.
You know, the course is going to dry out, too, which will be nice. I think come this weekend, the rounds of 4- to 6-under are going to be pretty solid, at least I hope that's the case.

Q. What do you think has made Stricker a top five player in the world?
ZACH JOHNSON: Well, you know, when he was having success somewhere in the '90s, I wasn't out here, obviously. I played with him when I first got out here, and his golf swing was a little wavered, so he's done some things fundamentally with his golf swing that have obviously made him more consistent. He's got a go-to shot, meaning it's just a slight draw, and it's very repetitive and it's very consistent.
And then you coincide that with the fact that he's probably top two or three best wedge players and certainly one of the two or three best putters; given the week, that's why he is where he's at. He's got big, broad shoulders, he's fit, he doesn't have to swing very hard, and -- you know, he doesn't bomb it by any stretch, but he hits it nice and very straight. He's very good. His ball falls a little left or a little right, and then he makes some putts.
I talked to DJ Trahan after his round, and he's like, "He's the best player I've ever seen." It's one round, but he's coming off a 60.

Q. Is there anything you can do this week to help prep for next week? It's completely two different styles of golf, but is there anything --
ZACH JOHNSON: Right, I've thought about that. It's hard because the styles are totally different, they require a different type of shots. I think the one thing that you have to have with any major but specifically the British Open is your rhythm and your tempo has to be on. The elements become fierce or the elements become your opponent at times it seems. To combat that you have to have swinging with proper tempo just to hit solid shots. I mean, you're going to hit some solid shots and be in some unusual or unfortunate places, but more times than not, a solid shot turns out okay.

Q. Maybe you can get D.A. to put some pot bunkers in out here to practice.
ZACH JOHNSON: That won't be on my course suggestion list.

Q. You seemed to be frustrated with some of your putts. Were they misreads?
ZACH JOHNSON: I wasn't too frustrated with the putter. If anything I was frustrated with my approach shots at times. I felt like I was making some good putts.
There was one putt in particular, but it was not the putt, it was me that was frustrating, lack of commitment, just poor stroke. All in all, I hit some good putts. I hit a really good putt on 9, and for the most part I hit some good putts.

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