home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


March 24, 2005

Zach Johnson


JOE CHEMYCZ: We welcome Zach Johnson, 7 under par, 65. And this is your first Players Championship, your first round at THE PLAYERS Championship. That's a heck of a way to start.

ZACH JOHNSON: Thank you.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Talk about your first round out there.

ZACH JOHNSON: It was one of those where, it seems to me any round I play decent, I get off to a good start and the pressure comes off. Not that there was much pressure, but my putter was rolling well. I made a good save on 10, which was my first hole. And I made birdie on the next hole and chipped in two holes later.

So it was getting off to a good start certainly helped. And I've said it a lot, though, in this game, not just within a round, not just within a week, but within weeks, if you get a little confidence going, you get momentum. And I started that at Doral and it went into Bay Hill and now into this week, so I hope I can continue.

JOE CHEMYCZ: You got in that same run right about this time last year at Doral and Honda and that carried over into the BellSouth and your win there.

ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah. And my caddie Damon and I were talking about that, and I don't particularly know why that is. I'm more familiar with the greens, I read the greens better. But I really actually putted pretty good on the West Coast, considering I hit it only okay. I don't know if I'm a late start guy when it comes to the season or what. But no complaints thus far, I guess.

Q. Talk about the conditions out there. I think it was a little breezier in the afternoon than the morning guys. But talk about the mud.

ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, the mud was a little frustrating. The course was still I don't think they mowed the fairways. If you land on an upslope you have a pretty good chance of getting it on there. I'd say 50 percent of the time I had not quite 50 percent of the time, I had to deal with it. But that's part of the game, that's Mother Nature. So it kind of got to me on No. 2 and 9, especially, the par 5s on the front. But I managed to save par.

The wind picked up a little bit, too. Even when we were out there from our first hole to the last hole, and it switched, too. I think it was northeast at one time and ended up being east.

Q. It seemed like there were ideal scoring conditions with no wind, and then this afternoon

ZACH JOHNSON: This morning there was no wind?

Q. Not much, and this afternoon it made your score even better, if that's possible.

ZACH JOHNSON: Thank you, I appreciate that. It was breezy, for sure. But it was consistent. I wouldn't say it was gusty. And the greens were holding. With that being said, you can kind of get after the holes a little bit.

Q. How many times have you played this course? Had you played it before this week?

ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, I had, probably three or four times prior to this week. But I never played it in this condition. I actually played it three days after the tournament two years ago and it was weird. The rough was already scalped, and the greens were slower.

Q. Back to regular conditions?

ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, it was.

Q. You talked about after you got off to a good start it took the pressure off. Do you feel by being your first time out, there's maybe not as much pressure as the other guys that have played it a while?

ZACH JOHNSON: Maybe. I try not to put any pressure on myself to begin with. I don't want to say I don't take the game seriously, but at the same time I kind of don't. I give it 110 percent, but really when it comes down to it, I'm trying to have fun. I'm out there for other reasons. Maybe that makes it a little easier, especially in a tournament of this nature, I don't really know. I guess you can say I'm kind of dumb, too. I guess that's good, though.

Q. Dumb in a rookie kind of way?

ZACH JOHNSON: Exactly. Simple stupid.

Q. Obviously Steve Jones' locker is by you. What do you know of Steve Jones? Do you know who he is?

ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, I've gotten to know Steve he wasn't out here much last year because of his injuries. But we go to the Bible studies a lot together. I don't want to say we're good friends by any stretch, but we're brothers, I guess. And he's a great guy. I've talked to him a good dozen times or so.

I remember I saw him at the Sony Open this year, which was his first tournament back in a while, I don't know how many years or tournaments before that. But he said these four day tournaments, this is long, this is hard. He's going back in golf form. It may be surprising to some, but I don't think to most guys it's much of a shock.

He's won the U.S. Open. He's good on these style of golf courses, thick rough, good greens, because he's a great putter. But I think it's one of those deals if he gets it going, anybody can win out here.

Q. Were you surprised by the golf course today at all, any surprise versus what you had seen when you played it last year?

ZACH JOHNSON: Not necessarily. I've seen it on TV growing up. You think it's ridiculously long. It's really not. You've got to be precise. That's Pete Dye through and through. The one thing that somebody mentioned it, maybe yesterday, I was watching The Golf Channel, I usually don't do that, but I don't remember who said it, but it makes sense, that you can hit a pretty good shot, especially an approach shot and just wind up dead, especially if the greens are firm. I hit not a very good shot on 15 but I'm down in there and I can barely see my golf ball. It can grab you. It's one of those, you have to play the percentages, you have to stick with what you've got and sometimes the front of the green is better. But today it was a little moist.

Q. Are you in the motor home this week?

ZACH JOHNSON: In the motor home, first time this year.

Q. Where is it parked?

ZACH JOHNSON: That's classified.

Q. Because usually they're right out over here.

ZACH JOHNSON: It's kind of near one of the lots, I think it's near lot 9 or 10 or 11 or something like that. I don't know, because

Q. That's classified because he doesn't know.

ZACH JOHNSON: We're fenced in and we've got some cops there or whatever. But I really haven't paid much attention to where it is. I would say we can't be too far from 16 fairway and green, maybe, kind of in between 15 and 16.

Q. How big is the group, how many this week?

ZACH JOHNSON: Daly and Davis, Kent Jones, Dennis Paulson, Petrovic.

Q. Did Perez get rid of his?

ZACH JOHNSON: Did Perez have one?

Q. He bought one of Daly's used ones. It was before you were out here.

ZACH JOHNSON: He didn't have it last year. Kuehne and Gamez, 8 or 9, 9 or 10.

Q. It's like a NASCAR infield?

ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, absolutely, barbecuing, you know, it's great. Come on over.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Go through your birdies and your lone bogey today. You started on the back nine and said you made a good save on 10.

ZACH JOHNSON: I made probably about an 8 footer for par. I didn't hit a very good shot. I had a good shot out of the rough and had a good lie, made a good par there.

11, good drive, once again, mud on my ball, but one of the few times I guessed it correctly and landed my 3 wood almost pin high. But it rolled at least over the green, and I had an uphill lie, and chipped it up to about two feet.

Do you have the number of feet on my putts?

JOE CHEMYCZ: No. We could look them up to see if you're right.

ZACH JOHNSON: No, that's all right.

13, hit a little left of the hole, but hit a 6 iron. Everybody was hitting a 6 or 5, so I jumped on the 6. But I had an uphill chip. It was a fairly simple up and down, but it managed to go in.

15 I bogeyed. I hit a great drive there, too. But that was the worst shot I hit all day. It was my second shot, long and left, and it was just dead. I made about 30 feet for par, I missed it.

16 I hit a good drive and a good second shot to probably 45 feet and 3 putted. That was a hiccup.

17 I hit it just past pin high, but on the fringe, hit it left. And then I made it, I don't know how it went in, but it went in probably about 15 feet, I'd say.

And on 18 I hit a good drive and good second shot to probably about six feet.

JOE CHEMYCZ: What did you hit?



ZACH JOHNSON: 1, I hit a bad drive but I got so lucky, it was the top of the hill so it was kind of scalped, so it was perfect, hit it to a foot, foot and a half, sand wedge.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Good par on 2.

ZACH JOHNSON: Hit a great drive once again, mud on the left side of my ball, so I tried to hit it left. It still went 30, 40 yards into the pine straw. Tried to blast that out, slid underneath it, plugged in a bunker, chucked it out to eight, ten feet and made it.

JOE CHEMYCZ: 6, 7, 8.

ZACH JOHNSON: 6 I hit a 3 wood off the tee, hit a 9 iron to about four and a half, five feet, and made that.

7 I hit a good drive, hit a 6 iron from like 183 to about three and a half, four feet again three feet, probably.

8 hit 3 iron to about 12 feet two inches.

JOE CHEMYCZ: Approximately 12 feet.

ZACH JOHNSON: Approximately. And then I made a good save.

Q. Speaking of simple and stupid, do you think your boy, DiMarco, has what it takes to win a major, and if so, why?

ZACH JOHNSON: Yes, absolutely. What did you say? Does he have what it takes to win a major?

Q. Yes, and if so, why?

ZACH JOHNSON: He hits it fairly straight, I mean it's pretty much on, and he's a great putter. So he doesn't see the rough that much when he's hitting it solid. Granted, everybody says that. But he's not I'm not saying he's Fred Funk off the tee, but he hits it. He hits it pretty darn straight. He knows what's going on normally. He hits his irons high, if he needs to, which is on majors usually that's a big advantage, because and he's a great putter, especially on fast greens.

And being on the Ryder Cup, Match Play, gritty, gritty player, he wants to win. I don't think there's any question he'll win a major, if he'd practice maybe once a week. He'll say the same thing. I saw him today, I'm walking off the range, and I said, "this is a driving range, this is where you hit balls to practice your swing." He's like, "oh, okay."

Q. Did Fred have any notable dance steps, any notable celebrations, shuffles?

ZACH JOHNSON: Not particularly.

Q. He was restrained?

FRED FUNK: I hit the 3 iron in the 5.

ZACH JOHNSON: I turned to him and he's hitting it so straight. I said, "get in," when it's in the air. But I don't doubt it. I mean, his ball, if he drew it, it fell a foot left or a foot right, whatever. But it was pretty stellar. I got lucky.

End of FastScripts.

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297