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September 12, 2010

Dustin Johnson


NELSON SILVERIO: We welcome 2010 BMW Championship champion Dustin Johnson. Thanks for coming in. Congratulations. You move to second in the FedExCup points standings heading into East Lake. Give us some thoughts on your day and coming down the stretch and pulling off the victory.
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Well, it was a great day. You know, to finally get it done, especially after all the things I've gone through this summer, to finally get it done on Sunday, it can't feel any better, especially I played really good golf today. I didn't make as many birdies as I would have liked to, but I made just enough.
You know, I felt like I really stayed in the moment. I didn't get ahead of myself. I tried not to watch the leaderboard too much. You know, I really did a good job of just being patient.

Q. Could you talk about the drive at 17 and also the tee shot at 18, just the importance of them and what you were trying to get done and what you did get done there?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Well, on 17, the last couple days -- I've hit good tee balls on that hole every day. You know, I knew today I needed to hit a good tee ball there because it was going to be my best chance of making a birdie, because 18 where the flag was, it's just a hard golf hole. I hit a really good -- I was just trying to cut a driver, hold it against the wind and get it around the corner a little bit, and I hit it perfect, right where I was looking, and hit a great wedge shot in there.
And then same thing on 18. Wind was coming off the right, so I was going to -- I cut a driver to hold it against the wind, and I knew I just needed to get it in the fairway because you hit it in those bunkers, you never know what kind of lie you're going to get, and they're tough. I hit it in the fairway and I hit my iron shot right where I wanted to. I hit it where I wanted to all day.

Q. What did you learn from the struggles that you've had, Sunday struggles you've had this year, and how did you come back and apply those lessons today if there were specific things?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Well, Pebble taught me a lot, I think. That's where I learned the most is I think after getting off to a rough start, I kind of maybe got a little fast. I played -- everything starts moving fast in a situation like that. You know, so I really learned to be patient and not rush things. I didn't rush any shot today. You know, I took my time, took practice swings, even when I -- a few times I felt myself trying to rush a little bit, but I would stop, put my club back in the bag and come back and go through my routine and just take things slow.

Q. It seems like we've talked to you every day the last three months or so about how you've been able to shake all this stuff off, but did you kind of need this one, to play in a final group and close it out, deliver the goods, get it in the house and make you feel better about yourself?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, I mean, any time you can come out and be in the last group on Sunday, come out and shoot a good round and win a golf tournament, I mean, it doesn't get any better than that, you know, especially for the confidence. I mean, I always have confidence. I always believe in myself, and that's a big part of getting it done.
You know, after a few unfortunate situations I've had, you know, it definitely feels good and gives me a lot of confidence going into next week and the rest of the year. You know, it makes things a lot easier.

Q. Can you draw any comparisons to the tee shot you hit on 17 to the one you hit on 18 at Pebble in February?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, they're similar, but 18 at Pebble, I'm drawing it, and 17 and 18 here I'm hitting cut shots. But still, you've still got to sack up and hit a good shot.

Q. Could you have hit the cut back in say March, April before you started working with Butch?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I don't know. I could. I could always cut it, but controlling it was the big issue. Now I've got the cut down where I can control it, so it definitely helped me a lot today. I hit a lot of good cuts all day.

Q. Some people say that you need to be down before you can really get back up and enjoy success more if you've had some failures along the way, if you haven't got it done. Do you feel that way now? Do you feel this means more to you now?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: No, they all mean a lot. Just, you know, I know I've had some failures, but I don't know if I'd call them failures. I've had a few mishaps. But still, today to come back and get it done, I'm very proud of myself. I think I've handled everything very well, and now I've got to look forward to two weeks from now in Atlanta.

Q. Was Whistling Straits worse than what happened at Pebble? And despite the fact that you've seemingly got over that quickly, how hard was it?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I mean, it wasn't very hard at all, to be honest. You know, there's a lot of good things I can take from that day other than the last hole. I played really good golf. I birdied 16 and 17 to get a one-shot lead going down the stretch, and that's what you -- I mean, that's what I play for. That's why I practice. That's why I'm here is to win golf tournaments and to have a chance to win a major on Sunday coming down 18. To get there and do that through 17 holes, you know, disregard the unfortunate situation; I still did everything I was supposed to do.

Q. What is the greater testament of your progress right now, the fact that you've won twice or that you've given yourself a half dozen or so chances this year that you haven't done in the previous two years?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, I mean, that's always the goal is every week to give myself a chance or put myself in a position to win it on Sunday, you know, whether I have the lead or a few back or whatever it is. But you want to just have that chance. If you're in the situation where you've got the chance, then you're doing everything right.

Q. Why are you doing that more often now?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I mean, confidence. I think I'm getting a lot more consistent with my ball-striking day in and day out, short game is pretty good. This week is the first week I've really felt like my putter has come back. Even though I didn't make a lot of putts today, I made the short ones, and all my putts I hit on line. I hit them where I was looking. You can't read them all right; it's just not going to happen. I hit everything exactly where I was looking.
To finally get back and feel like the putter is there, it definitely helps a bunch.

Q. Talk about the field here versus the fields you beat at Pebble Beach twice and Turning Stone. It's only half a field here, but it's most of the top players. Does that mean anything, make it any more special for you?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I mean, every victory on the PGA TOUR is special. You know, obviously the majors are really special, and then, you know, playoff events, very special, too. You know, the FedExCup, that's why we're out here playing is because of the FedExCup. You know, it's very special to win that and then to have a chance to win the FedExCup in Atlanta.

Q. A lot of people when they're on leaderboards week after week after week, they end up looking a little bit exhausted and frazzled, and you seem to be really fresh. Do you just kind of enjoy the competition?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, I enjoy it. I love it.

Q. Does it wear on you?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: You know, I try to keep my fitness up pretty good. I get to the gym. I'm pretty sporadic. I'll go two weeks on and maybe a week off, two weeks on. But I try to stay pretty good in shape. And it definitely helps going to the gym. It definitely helps not get tired.

Q. Even though you got over your disappointments quickly and you said you were confident, did you feel that there was something in particular that you needed to prove or wanted to prove?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: You know, not really. You know, I mean, maybe to myself, but I don't think I needed to prove anything to anyone. My golf speaks for itself. But to finally -- you know, after all the things that have happened to be back in this situation and to finally get it done, it's an unbelievable feeling, and definitely just for myself. I wasn't doing it for anyone else other than me.

Q. Have you given any thought about what it would be like to play for $10 million two Sundays from now?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, I've thought about that a few times. (Laughter.) That's a lot of money. No, it feels great. To have a shot to win it, you can't ask for anything else. You know, that's the goal coming into the Playoffs. I knew I was in a good situation. You definitely want to be in that top 5 because if you win and you're in the top 5, then you get the $10 million. That would look nice in the bank account.

Q. If you've thought about it, what would you spend it on? You've surely thought about that.
DUSTIN JOHNSON: No, I'd put it in the bank. I like seeing them zeros. (Laughter.)

Q. Did you get a chance to talk of your Ryder Cup teammates this week, any of the veterans, and if you did, did you get any sage words of advice worth noting?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Well, I talked to them, but you know, more chitchat than anything, nothing -- it's a little too far away, I guess, from the Ryder Cup to start talking strategy or anything like that. We've still got one more big tournament before we go over to Wales.

Q. Kind of an offbeat one, but you seemed very excited at South Carolina beating Georgia yesterday. Was that an inspiration for you?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: A little bit, because they've kind of had our number the last ten years. So it definitely was nice to see them get the job done, especially I think we've got a good team this year.

Q. A lot of young players have had a lot of success on the TOUR this year. Can you just talk about maybe is the landscape on the TOUR kind of changing a little bit do you feel like?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I mean, I think there's a lot of good players of all ages, but the young guys definitely have stepped up and played really well this year and we've got a lot of victories. I think we're just getting a little better.

Q. Just to clarify something Gary asked, do you think this is the biggest win of your career so far?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, I would think so. A playoff event has got to be up there. I think it's the biggest win for sure.

Q. What's the biggest win you've ever had against Phil so far?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: There's been a few (smiling).

Q. How many zeros?
NELSON SILVERIO: Dustin, congratulations.

End of FastScripts

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