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July 9, 2005

Zach Johnson


PHIL STAMBAUGH: Okay, Zach, 5 under 66 today, and we looked up, your seventh straight sub par round at this event. You're back in contention a little bit.

ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, it was good. I mean, I got off to somewhat of a shaky start, especially considering the first two holes are very accessible pins, and one is a par 5. Outside of that, I think there was a ton of positives today. I had some other birdie opportunities that I didn't even make. All in all, you know, I needed a good round to get into Sunday.

PHIL STAMBAUGH: You want to just take us through the round if you can.

ZACH JOHNSON: Sure. 3, I three putted for bogey. I just misjudged the speed and then hit a good second putt, just didn't go in.

PHIL STAMBAUGH: How far was your first one.

ZACH JOHNSON: Probably about 40 feet.

Second putt was probably about eight feet I'd say.

No. 5, I made birdie there, probably made about a 15 footer 16 feet.

No. 8, hit a sand wedge from like 120 to about six and a half feet.

PHIL STAMBAUGH: Six feet, two inches.

ZACH JOHNSON: 10, hit a good drive and a 3 wood just over the green, hit a poor chip to six feet, one inch.


ZACH JOHNSON: It's six feet, one inch, trust me.

12, I cut a 5 iron to about two feet, 11 inches.

PHIL STAMBAUGH: Three feet, two inches.

ZACH JOHNSON: 13, I hit a poor wedge but I managed to be on the fringe and I made about an 18 footer.

PHIL STAMBAUGH: 18 feet, three inches.

ZACH JOHNSON: 14, hit a good drive and chipped it up to one foot, ten inches.

PHIL STAMBAUGH: Not registering a distance.

ZACH JOHNSON: It was about two feet.

17, hit a good drive and a poor second shot. All I had was a 6 iron into 17, a par 5. Pulled it, hit an actually pretty good chip because it wasn't easy, and I made about a 15 footer.

PHIL STAMBAUGH: It says 12 feet, one inch.

ZACH JOHNSON: 18, hit a poor drive, hit the tree fortunately, went back in the fairway and I cut a 5 iron and then hit a poor chip and missed probably a 35 footer.


But all in all you're back in the tournament.


Q. Do you feel like you are in the hunt?

ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, I think so. I mean, I definitely think so. It's hard to say. I mean, there's definitely some accessible pins on the back nine but there's some good ones, too. It's a matter of getting the ball in the fairway and then making some putts. We'll see.

You know, I had the luxury, especially on the front nine of being the first group off when the greens were pure. As the day goes on, those greens on the back nine will get more trampled, but somebody is going to get pretty low, I think, going into tomorrow. I just hope I'm Top 10 ish, top 12 maybe.

PHIL STAMBAUGH: Course playing any different than the first two days?

ZACH JOHNSON: A little bit different wind, but all in all, you know, the tees were a little bit further back, I think, but that's the way it should be on the weekend. You know, we know where the pins are going to be. There's four or five pin placements per green, and now this is my fourth year here, there's not many surprises out there. So I can't use not knowing where to go as an excuse.

Q. I think you had only had back to back rounds in the 60s once coming into this tournament. Now you've got three in a row.


Q. Does that make you feel like you're getting pretty close to where you were playing in March?

ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, I'm getting close. I can see what I need to do. What's frustrating is when I get up to it and I don't do it, but it's part of the game. Like I said, I feel close. I know what to work on. I'm getting stronger, I'm getting more flexible, so that kind of tends to change your golf swing a little bit, too. Alongside that, I think my mental approach has gotten better. I'm becoming more patient, even though I'll miss cuts. Patience is always something I can improve on, I think, and work on, and trusting, of course. I think Damon, my caddie, and I, have a good system, but it's still a matter of relying on each other at times, and we're getting better at that. It's getting better.

Q. The 5 iron on 12, you looked real confident over that. That's the kind of shot that might tell you you're right there?

ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, that was the one shot, there was no question. That was a right to left wind and a right pin, and I cut it, and I don't hit a cut very often. I couldn't have drawn it up any better. Those are the kind of shots exactly that I know I'm getting close. The execution was there, one, but the fundamentals were there, as well. I don't know if I was trying to hit it quite that far right, but yeah, I need more of those shots for sure.

Q. How much bigger and stronger have you gotten and how hard has it been to adapt to that?

ZACH JOHNSON: I don't know if I've gotten much better. It's more toning and elongation of the muscles I guess you could say. My posture has gotten better and my flexibility has increased, but I've probably put on five to ten pounds. And one of my goals this year, I've got a trainer out here first of all, but one of my goals this year off the golf course is to be able to well, how do I say it? Last year was a long year. I played 30 some events, and at the end of the year I was just drained. I'm trying to maintain the workout regimen so I don't feel like that at the end of the year or even during the year for that matter.

My stamina has increased. When I get off the golf course I don't feel nearly as drained as I did before, and quite frankly, I can't afford to do that. I don't weigh that much, not that big of a guy, so I've got to keep the calories in me and keep just replenishing my body.

Q. Who's your trainer?


Q. Does he work with a lot of people?

ZACH JOHNSON: He's got probably a handful. He's got me, Stewart Cink, Stephen Ames, Robert Damron, J.L. Lewis.

Q. How do you spell that?

ZACH JOHNSON: N o s s. He's been out here for years. He actually came out here as a caddie with Corey Pavin initially, but prior to his caddying years, he was a weight trainer/body builder.

Q. Does he travel then?

ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, he's out here probably 30 to 33 weeks I'd say.

Q. He's having a pretty good week then, J. L. On top, you?

ZACH JOHNSON: Well, he's good. He's really good. He's also one of those guys, he's 51 or 52 and he looks like he's about 38, so he's in good shape, as well.

Q. Was that just the Sam in a issue that made you decide you need today do this?

ZACH JOHNSON: My purpose was, one, for injury prevention, and then along side of that, coincided with that, is longevity, just being able to play out here for years and years. My body is part of my instrument when it comes to the game, so I think it's pretty crucial part of my game.

But yeah, stamina, of course. I want to get stronger and more flexible. Flexibility is big. The best example is Tiger. Granted, he is quite big, shaped, cut, but his flexibility is ridiculous. I've witnessed it maybe once or twice, but I've read articles and heard from the guys that he's like a Gumby. The best players in the world and Vijay, another good example. He works hard, works out a lot, and as a result he's playing good golf. I think fitness is becoming more and more imperative and more significant in our game, especially considering the USGA has cracked down on technology. There's really not much else to do.

There's only so much you can do with the ball and the clubs, so you've got to find something else to improve.

Q. Is J. L. also a shining example of you mentioned longevity?

ZACH JOHNSON: J. L. is a good example. He's been around for a while and playing good golf. He's solid. I've played with him a handful of times. I don't know if the fitness part of it is why, but I'm certain it can't hurt. Well, he plays well here pretty much every year.

Q. He won at Oakwood actually, '99.

ZACH JOHNSON: He didn't win on this golf course?

Q. But he finished 2nd to Vijay.

ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, okay. So J. L. is a good example. Who are some other ones? Like a Tom Pernice? I don't know how old he is but he's in good condition. Vijay is perfect, he's over 40 and still cracking at it obviously.

Q. After the year you had last year, have you felt any pressure to follow that up, the sophomore jinx people talk about? How has that worked? Has that been on your mind?

ZACH JOHNSON: No, not really, especially after the three or four week stretch I had in March or April, I guess. Up to that point, I was making cuts early on in the year but I was finishing Top 30, top 25, that was it, and then I managed to have three good weeks.

Prior to that, yeah, there's a little bit of thought as far as the sophomore jinx goes. I felt pretty good. I ended the year on good notes and felt good going into the year. It kind of felt that 2004 blended into 2005. I didn't have much of an off season first of all, but I probably didn't play quite as well as I did last year up to this point, especially as far as earnings go, but I can tell you that I've improved in a lot of areas, my golf game, both on and off the golf course, more so than last year. That's my goal every year is just to improve some sort of facet. So there's definitely a lot of positives, a ton of positives.

You know, I was in a slump kind of getting out of a slump, I guess, but slumps are good sometimes. They make you reevaluate things, one, and two, you're learning. I mean, I'm learning more about my golf swing and my routine and how to approach things. I think it's going to make me stronger and better in the end, at least I hope.

Q. Talk about that chip on 18, and how dicey that was and what happened there.

ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, I thought about trying to hit it but that would be pushing it with the sprinkler heads. The grain was growing into me. I had to put it way back in my stance. I felt like I didn't take a back swing. I just barrel hit it and it just came out with no spin. The greens are getting firm and hard, which is the way they should be on the weekend. I caught a couple dry spots and just kept on going. I'm not going to complain about it because my execution was pretty good, I thought, overall. Granted, I wanted to get up and down, but I got a pretty good break on my tee shot, so maybe things kind of weighed even there.

Q. As a board member are you tempted to tell them to put a little more water on 18?

ZACH JOHNSON: I don't know how much pull I really have in that (laughter).

Q. Do you know how many guys out here

ZACH JOHNSON: Everything I've ever said to Clair and his staff they've done (laughter). That's not true, either.

Q. How many guys out here are on boards, do you know?

ZACH JOHNSON: You know, I don't know. I know we have funk who's on the Booz Allen board outside his home area. I want to say it's either Sluman or Sindelar is on the BC.

Q. Slu is at the Western.

ZACH JOHNSON: One of those guys Jay Haas

CLAIR PETERSON: We're mowing that area at 18. Jay Haas at Wachovia.

ZACH JOHNSON: I think somebody is down in New Orleans, too, one of those guys.

CLAIR PETERSON: I don't know if it's David Toms.

ZACH JOHNSON: DT, yeah. I mean, I don't know how much I've helped yet, but we've only been doing it for, what, six months? I think they've gained a little bit and learned a little bit but I've learned a lot. It's one of those things, what I appreciate is they want to make the tournament better. He can only do so much when he's out with us, so it's nice for them and for his board to have a liaison between their tournament staff and the players because that's yeah, we are spoiled for sure, but they're out here for us. That's the bottom line. They just want to know what we want and what we like, what we don't want, just our needs and wants. It's been great. I look forward to it more when we have the phone conversation, especially this year when we had Michelle here. It's awesome.

Q. With your relationship with this tournament and being on the board, you call this your fifth major, does that change your perspective going into tomorrow at all, put any more pressure being this close to the lead?

ZACH JOHNSON: I don't think so. I mean, I want to win, don't get me wrong. I want to win it bad. But I'm not going to put any more pressure on myself or look at it as something I have to do. You know, I'm going to try to let it come naturally. If I start doing that, things go astray and I just get all out of whack. But I can tell you I was kind of in a similar position last year going into Sunday. I don't know how many shots out of the lead I was, but I think I lost by like five or six shots, but I finished like 20th. So it was pretty bunched at the top, much like it is now.

I just hope I can put I think I might have shot even or 1 under. I must have shot 1 under on Sunday. It wasn't anything special. You know, Sunday pins. It's got a lot to do with it for sure. I've just got to keep that putter rolling.

Q. Can't you just figure out where you like them and tell them to put them there? You're on the board, remember?

ZACH JOHNSON: I can't reveal that information at this point (laughter).

Q. Can you talk about how nice it is after a few months to get back in the hunt and up close to the leaderboard again? It's been a while.

ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, it feels good. The best part about it is I probably won't get any more phone calls as to what the heck is going on. I think my dad just gets bombarded, man, he's missed two cuts in a row and he choked on Sunday at Congressional, what's going on? Is he having issues or does his back hurt?

It's just getting that stuff out of the way and getting back into scoring mode is nice. Yeah, being in contention is obviously where you want to be. You want to be in the lead, whether it's one shot or ten shots, but it's still 18 more holes, and who knows what's going to happen. I think the weather is going to be somewhat similar. I would imagine I've got to put up a pretty good number tomorrow.

Q. What does a chiropractor say to people who wonder if you have a good back?

ZACH JOHNSON: It's not a good question to pose to a chiropractor. He won't ever succumb to that. He'll probably just say it's something else. I just hope they're all right. They're in Britain now. I hope they got through London all right.

PHIL STAMBAUGH: Zach, thanks a lot. Good luck tomorrow.

ZACH JOHNSON: My pleasure, thanks.

End of FastScripts.

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