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March 30, 2005

Zach Johnson


JOHN BUSH: Zach, if we could just get some comments on how your week is going so far and the thrill to actually be defending a championship.

ZACH JOHNSON: Coming into the week, it's been what I've been really keying on of course. I'm very, very excited -- you have to excuse me, I have a little cold. The reason why I have that cold is probably because of last week, how long and grueling that was, and as a result, I've got a sinus infection.

You know, this week so far, I haven't done a whole lot, mainly because of last week with all of the delays and Monday being, you know, such a long day. But needless to say, I am very excited. Today I'm going to get my good practice round in, play in the Pro-Am. Should be great; the weather is perfect. Looking forward to all of the events this week. I'm going to do a clinic on Saturday, so it should be great.

JOHN BUSH: You're coming in with three straight Top-10 finishes in Florida, so you're obviously playing really well.

ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, thank you. I feel good. I feel good with where my game is at. Just kind of a stretch where you want to get things rolling, and I had an opportunity to win last week, which is a little unfortunate not to get that win, but at the same time, many, many, many more positives than negatives. Hope it carries into this, weekend and the rest of the year, for that matter.

JOHN BUSH: Could I get you to comment, I know you took part yesterday at the Golf in the Garden, if you could comment on that?

ZACH JOHNSON: Yesterday was a very unique day. I actually at the Atlanta Children's Hospital -- I think it's Children's Hospital of Atlanta. There's a Golf in the Garden where a bunch of players are able to spend an afternoon with the kids, sick kids, of course, there and just kind of interact with them and bring some smiles to their faces. The day was perfect, catered by Outback, a bunch of wives there, family of the kids, so it was a really cool afternoon. It was an afternoon that we unfortunately don't get to have very often especially during the week of a tournament. So very unique deal. A great, great hospital, awesome hospital, and you know, just something that's really, you know, a way for us to give back, for us to people, and especially to kids for that matter. These kids put things in perspective pretty darned quick for us. I feel pretty fortunate to be able to take part in that.

JOHN BUSH: In addition to that, you'll be hitting the ceremonial first drive today for the Drive to a Billion campaign, so you're a busy guy this week.

ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, it's a good busy. I'd take this every week of the year for that matter. Looking forward to that. I hope I can hit the golf ball. It's going to be a 1938 Persimmon wedge, nothing that I don't know if I've ever hit. But the Drive to a Billion is something that I think all of the players for the most part are really excited about. What an awesome feat to get there, if we can, with charity. I've said it a lot, when you look at the letterhead of the PGA TOUR or our organization in general, you have the PGA TOUR icon, Nationwide Tour icon, symbol, the Champions symbol, and then you have our charity symbol, and I think all four equal one in everybody's mind, especially the players and staff. I just hope it continues and look forward to the remainder of the week.

Q. Practicing last week with all the rain and waiting, you were contending high up and then things got a little deteriorated at one point, it's so hard to keep things going in that routine, wasn't it?

ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, maybe a little bit. I think the more often I can get that situation, the better I can perform. Granted, because I've been in it now a number of times last two years, but at the same time, maybe not quite to that magnitude. But the delays obviously take a lot out of you, but the way things are going this year, we're pretty darned used to them. So I don't know if I can use that as an excuse and everybody's got to do it. But the more often you are in contention, the more draining it is mentally, emotionally, physically, what-have-you. So that's when you really cherish those weeks off when you've got to take some downtime.

I'm going to try to play the next three, including this week, in a row. So I'm going to try to get over this cold hopefully sooner than later, and, you know, take it easy. But I'm not going to go too hard into it. I'm going to obviously try to win, of course. I like where my game is at. I just hope I can continue.

Q. No islands; what do you think of the greens out here?

ZACH JOHNSON: I think I said that out here yesterday, to one of the local stations at the charity event, there's not really an island green here but there's some water. My wife gets all nervous when she sees water. It's funny you say that. I haven't vented a whole lot the last week at all to be honest but that 17th hole, I didn't give it much merit and then it got me.

Q. On Thursday it wasn't anything --

ZACH JOHNSON: Thursday, Saturday, I don't even know when I played it. But Thursday for sure, and it wasn't much the second round I played it. It's only 140 yards, 135 yards, but, I learned my lesson. It was the wind, there's no question. It was the wind. You could hit any number of clubs and end up the same spot with the wind, it's just bizarre.

My execution was good on the hole. If I were to stand up there and play there third and fourth round again, I probably would have hit the same two shots expended up in the same two spots. It's also had to hit first both times. That certainly didn't help, but what a good week.

Q. The fact that the rough here is pretty manageable, especially compared to last week, it's one of the rarer opportunities where you can of just -- not rare these days, it seems like it happened a lot, but you can bomb it pretty good here and not have to worry about it too much.

ZACH JOHNSON: Yes and no. If you're hitting your driver well, you can score -- I think part of the beauty of this course is that you don't need rough. Every year it seems like it's never, you know, 20-plus under here, probably because of the wind and the greens are so severe -- not severe, but quick and fast and hard at times.

So this golf course has got a lot of teeth aside from having no rough. It doesn't need it. I think in time, if memory serves me right, there will be nine holes overseeded with rough, and in 2007 they will have both nines overseeded with rough, so it's going to have a little change. That could make it very difficult.

Like I said, it's an awesome course, and I'm ready to get started. I just hope to get my game back.

Q. How much are you thinking about Augusta?

ZACH JOHNSON: You know, it's there. About a month ago I wasn't keying on it. It's hard but at the same time, just another week and that's my approach. I don't know if that's going to work, but I never got to get a practice round in. I was supposed to play there this past Monday, two days ago, but that obviously fell through. So I'm going to go into it, you know, the first time with probably 10,000 people lined on the first fairway.

But I've got a goal before that, that's this week. I enjoyed this course. It's a very good course to prepare for Augusta. I can understand why, although I haven't seen Augusta, I can see the resemblances, the hills and the type of grass and the hardness, the firmness of the greens. So it should be a good stepping stone to next week.

JOHN BUSH: Zach, thanks for coming by and good luck this week.

End of FastScripts.

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