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March 6, 2005

Zach Johnson


Q. Zach, what a great showing; you must be proud of how things turned out?

ZACH JOHNSON: It was a good week, especially when I wasn't going in terribly confident. Got on a roll there. My putter was good. Started hitting some good shots and driving it well. A lot of positives for sure.

Q. What does it mean for you professionally to have your best round on Saturday and come out and finish strong with a T-3 in this kind of field?

ZACH JOHNSON: Feels good. Wish it would have been even more competitive. That's easy to say right after you get done.

Like I said, there's a lot of positives and I hope I can get in the situation more often and play even better. That's two guys that are playing behind us, seemed like there was a roar every hole. Pretty incredible.

Q. What's it like to have all that stuff going on behind you?

ZACH JOHNSON: Well, you kind of get used to it I guess. You have to get used to it. But it is difficult at times, too. You have to remain focused and worry about yourself and not what's going on. The galleries seem to get ahead of play so, they are always near us rather than with them, so that makes it kind of difficult at times. All in all it's a good experience.

Q. Was this a good week for golf and why was this a good week, with what's going on out there and all of the big names coming through?

ZACH JOHNSON: Absolutely. I think it's a great week for golf. This is what the spectators want. They want these kind of duels. They will have a lot more of them. Four or five, six years ago, Tiger raised the bar and now everybody is starting to come toward him. It's fun to watch as a spectator but it's frustrating for us because we have to step it up. All in all it's great for the game and Ford should be very, very pleased with what was going on and they ran a first-class tournament. I played here last year and in my opinion, it's gotten better.

Q. What does this do for you now coming here and getting ready to crank it up, this has to be a great spring board for you?

ZACH JOHNSON: Absolutely. That's exactly what it is. I'll try to use this as a catapult for me into the season and have some good finishes here on out. I look forward to the next, month, month and a half, Augusta and Atlanta, that's going to be a lot of fun, too. A lot golf stuff in the future and I hope to continue play well.

Q. You started birdie eagle, you had to be pretty pumped at that point, were you even looking at the leaderboard?

ZACH JOHNSON: When you start the first two holes and you're 3-under, you kind of know you're getting back into it but you've also got 16 more holes. That was awesome, for sure, to start off like that. That's kind of what I wanted to do, get out of the gates pretty fresh and 3-putt on three kind of took me back a little bit.

I hung in there, I missed some putts, I made some, probably evened out, but I missed a lot of ten-feet putts. I made my share for the remainder of the week. Woulda, shoulda, coulda, I guess.

Q. Did you find this course as easy as everybody seems to think?

ZACH JOHNSON: I don't think the course is necessarily that easy. It's just that the conditions have been so favorable. We have fairly moist fairways and very receptive greens and true greens so, that -- those three -- and very right-to-left rough alongside. When you can see your ball off the tee and you hit it in the rough and you can see it from the tee box, you know there's not much rough. And the greens are pure. If you're rolling your rock, you're going to make a lot of birdies.

It doesn't surprise me. The golf course really isn't that easy. If the rough was up and the greens were firm, it would not be anywhere near this, but that's just the conditions, and Mother Nature of course.

Q. How much of a distraction was it playing in front of Phil and Tiger?

ZACH JOHNSON: I guess this is my second year, year and a half out here almost, and you get kind of familiar with those situations. If you play in the group in front of one of those two guys or Vijay or one of the big names, you've got to get used to it. It's just one of those things that it's part of the game. It's frustrating, especially when Tiger made eagle on 12, that's just ridiculous. James and I just shook our heads. We're like, you've got to be kidding me. That's disgusting.

Q. Were you preparing for a shot?

ZACH JOHNSON: No, we were walking off the tee.

Q. At any point were you getting ready to take a shot and you hear a roar?

ZACH JOHNSON: My caddie and I were pretty cognizant of where they were, what they were doing to an extent. On Sunday, near the last group, you have to be pretty aware of what's going on.

Q. Did he give you a signal or something?

ZACH JOHNSON: You can kind of just -- it's one of those feelings. Just an awareness, you would say.

End of FastScripts.

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