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July 30, 2005

Zach Johnson


JOE CHEMYCZ: Zach Johnson, 7 under par 65. Zach, I guess when the day started, you were looking at Vijay and Tiger on the leaderboard, but you decided to go about your own business, didn't you?

ZACH JOHNSON: Absolutely. You can't get caught up in what others are doing. I think first and foremost, when you're hitting it well and putting it well, you can put up good numbers. So you have to stay within yourself and just, know, it's a matter of momentum out here and I fortunately got it early.

Q. What were you doing early?

ZACH JOHNSON: Well, first and foremost, I had a great pairing with Fred. He's easygoing, appreciative, pumps you up. He's a great guy to play with. I always seem to play well him.

I got the ball in the fairway and I was putting well and that was the key, especially early. I could kind of ride with it.

Q. You've missed three of last four cuts, what's been different from the last four tournaments?

ZACH JOHNSON: No, you're right no, you're right. You know, I was a little off. I put some things into my routine and into my so called regimen, I guess that have changed me fundamentally. It's a matter of getting back to basics. My instructor, Mike Bender, and I have worked hard. I usually have a pretty simple, stupid swing, but it's been very hard to get it in the fairway. I'm starting to drive the ball a lot better. That's usually one of best parts of my game. We just kind of fixed that and now starting to see the benefits of it.

Q. How many times have you played the Buick Open?

ZACH JOHNSON: This is my first year.

Q. What is your overall impressions of the course and the tournament compared to others?

ZACH JOHNSON: I love the golf course. I think it's just a good, classic golf course. It's not terribly long. Granted, it is usually a birdie fest, but that's good for confidence. If you're not hitting your driver well or hitting off the tee well, you can still make a ton of bogeys. It can still separate the field, and ones that are hitting it straight and making putts will certainly rise to the top.

I like the fans. 17 is a pretty cool arena. It does smell like Wolverine in here but no one's perfect.

Q. As far as your round today, when you started the round, did you feel like today might be a day where anything could happen; in the morning before the round, did you feel good warming up?

ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, I had a good warm up session, and I had a good session after I got done yesterday. Then this morning when I was warming up, things were going all right. I was just in a good tempo, good rhythm and it kind of led on to the golf course fortunately.

Q. What's the approach for tomorrow? Do you think Singh is catchable at all or what's your approach?

ZACH JOHNSON: Anything can happen. Absolutely. He could play he could play good and shoot 4 or 5 under tomorrow yet someone could still shoot 11 (under), obviously, more maybe. It's a matter of just being patient and staying within yourself, and you've got to take advantage of some of these holes out here, some of the shorter ones and some of the par 5s, for sure.

Q. Have you ever played with him before? And do you not pay attention to what he's doing tomorrow because you'll probably be three or four shots down and just play your own game?

ZACH JOHNSON: I don't think I've ever played a competitive round. I think I've played one practice round. I've gotten to know him a bit. He's a great guy. He's one of those if you ask a question about anything golf related, he will help you out if he can. I'm going to relish the opportunity, but I'm going to focus on myself and focus on my game rather than his. That's going to be my approach.

I've played with Tiger once well, two rounds I guess, and this will be my opportunity to play with Vijay, I think. I don't know what's behind me, but we'll see. It should be fun. You always want to play in the last group. You always want to be in the lead, but, you know, second is not bad, I guess.

Q. Were you watching what Vijay was doing on the front nine today? Were you watching the scoreboard at all?

ZACH JOHNSON: I saw the board early. I truly accidentally saw the board on 16 and I saw he got to 22, I think it was, so that's eight or nine for the day. One of those things where you get it going out here, it's a birdie fest.

If you're hitting it straight out here, you can pretty much tackle any golf course out here, and obviously with Vijay's talent, 9 under is completely 10 under, is completely in the realm of possibility.

Q. Did you play in the last group when you won last year and have you played in the last group before?

ZACH JOHNSON: Did I play in the last group when I won last year? Yes, I did, Saturday and Sunday, I believe. I think so. I think I had a lead going in Saturday and I had a lead going Sunday. I've been in the last group a couple of times.

Q. When you're in a good position to win a tournament tomorrow, but you look and see guys like Tiger Woods and Vijay up there, does that make you think the odds are a little longer than usual or just how do you look at it, your mental approach to the game tomorrow?

ZACH JOHNSON: Those guys are cream of the crop, so it's difficult but it's also a situation that I want. You know, if I can hang or even more, if I can beat them, that just proves a lot to myself and gives me the realization that I more than belong here playing. That's the reason we play the game, competing against the big boys, I think it's going to be a great experience for me.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Cruising along, the lone hiccup, the bogey on 16, the par 5.

ZACH JOHNSON: I hit a poor drive into the bunker but hit a really good chip shot, probably one of the better shots I hit all day and I had a great yardage. I misjudged the wind and probably didn't hit it I hit a wedge in the bunker, had an okay lie and chopped it out to seven feet and missed it. Maybe a little too quick.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Disappointing to bogey a par 5?

ZACH JOHNSON: Especially out here, especially when you have a sand wedge in your hand. That was very frustrating.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Play well tomorrow.

End of FastScripts.

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