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 5, 2005

Zach Johnson


JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Thanks, Zach, for joining us for a few minutes here in the media center. A great round of 64, 14-under for the tournament, and we don't know yet, but you're probably in pretty good position going into Sunday. Talk about the day today.

ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, thanks. Yeah, it was a good day. It was one of those days where I got off to a good start and just kind of rolled with momentum. The golf course is -- I mean it's not much of a secret. The cut was 4-under this week. The greens are holding but yet they are still rolling true. If you get the ball in the fairway, you can take advantage of the holes, especially with some of these pins and make a lot of birdies. I had a lot of wedges and sand wedges and 9-irons in today. So that, and taking advantage of the par 5s.

But yeah, I hope it gets me up there going into tomorrow. You never know, especially with the field we have and what's going on. The back nine today, they are going to make a lot more birdies, I'm sure. But all I wanted to do today was get myself into position like you said and hopefully good things will happen tomorrow.

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Questions, please.

Q. 23 putts for you today, Zach, was the putter hot or were you just putting yourself in position?

ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, I mean, it was hot, for sure. But it was one of those things where aside from 17, I think I made probably like a 20, 22-footer there, I'm not sure what. Outside of that -- I guess I chipped in. (Laughter.) I mean, my birdie putts for the most part were six, seven feet and in. I 2-putted 1, probably four or five feet. There was a lot of 3-, 4-, 5-footers for birdies. I was hitting it pretty close, and you have to when you have these wedges and whatnot in your hands, just seeing the line and trusting it.

Q. Have you lived down here long enough where you consider yourself fluent in bermuda?

ZACH JOHNSON: Yes, I think so. These greens I think are overseeded this year with rye, but at the same time, yeah, definitely. That was the purpose in moving down here when I graduated from college in '98 was to get familiar with the southern courses; that, and playing all year-round, of course.

So, yeah, I'm beginning to get more and more familiar with it. West Coast, poa annua, I'm not familiar with yet, but I hope in time I can have as much confidence there as I do here.

Having Damon Green on the bag, I mean, he's a Pensacola kid and now lives in Orlando, a good player in his own right, he knows bermuda and grain, very well. He understands what it does and doesn't hesitate to tell me and that helps a lot.

Q. No state income tax in Florida either; you left that out.

ZACH JOHNSON: You'd have to ask my wife on that. That's too much information. I'm not that smart.

Q. How much does Damon help you out?

ZACH JOHNSON: It depends. It depends where we are in the United States. West Coast, he can try to help but I'm helpless, so we don't even bother there. (Laughter.)

Midwest, you know, when it's bent, I'm pretty much on my own. He's not the best at that. He'll even admit to it.

But when it comes to any sort of grain whatsoever, whether it's rye or bermuda or whatever, he's really phenomenal, to be perfectly honest. He understands a lot. And it's not just the putts, it's going into the green and hitting shots on the green, the release of the golf ball, things that I'm learning but he's understood for years. Does that answer your question?

Q. Have you guys ever played together, casually?

ZACH JOHNSON: Damon, yeah. We've played, I don't know how many times but a number of times.

Q. Has he beat you yet?

ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, oh, yeah. He's very good.

Q. You're regarded and rightfully so as a pretty upstanding kid --


Q. What's so funny about that?

ZACH JOHNSON: I appreciate it. Thank you.

Q. That's not what I'm going to write about you, but Damon had been with Hoch for a long time; was that at all awkward?

ZACH JOHNSON: It was one of those situations where I played some golf with Damon, and through other TOUR players in northern Orlando, namely DiMarco and Donnie Hammond and those guys, that's how I was introduced to Damon. Coming off the Nationwide Tour, I had a great caddie out there, Fred LeVeque. However he's getting older and he had some surgeries in the off-season after 2003, and so I was looking for a new caddie, at least to start the year and potentially for the whole year. So I picked Damon's brain, is what I did as to what caddies might be available, meshing with my game, etc., etc. He came back and said, you know, I found someone, and I'm kind of interested. I thought he was joking, frankly. He's with Scott Hoch who is more or less an ATM machine. He plays, what, when he's healthy, 20 tournaments a year but he still finishes in the Top-30 it seems like every year.

Yeah, it was good, our first tournament was the Bob Hope 2004, and he's just kind of laid back. I get a little uptight out there and he keeps me laid back I think. I can't tell you how advantageous it is to have a good player on your bag because he understands the idiosyncracies of the game. I played pretty good on Thursday and shot 4-under, made a bogey on 10 on Friday, and I lost my momentum, I was not feeling good about anything, just pulled me aside and said, "You know, let's play golf." It's little things, I'm not going to tell you exactly what he said, but it's just little things like that where he understands what I'm doing and can kind of, you know, pick me up when I need to be picked up and leave me alone when I need to be left alone.

Q. I don't know how it's going to ultimately shake out, but have you played with Phil before, and what do you make of how he's been playing here lately where it seems like 65 every time he rolls out of bed?

ZACH JOHNSON: No, I've never played with Phil. However -- no, I've never played with Phil.

Yeah, he's on a rampage. It's fun to watch if you're a spectator of the game, I guess. Kind of stinks to be part of it. (Laughter.)

I mean, I was telling some of the other media guys, when you're combining, obviously, great talent and feel with confidence and momentum, it just breeds, well, obviously, wins. It's pretty awesome, to be honest. We thought in 2000-2001, was it, Tiger's great season, we thought, "Oh, my gosh, that's it, why even play?" A lot of guys were like -- but he's got to come down eventually and I'm not wishing that upon him. I'm just saying, there's so much parity in the game and there's so much talent out here, someone is going to step up their game and win for sure, especially with this field.

This field is, I don't know what it is, but you all probably know better than I do, it's awesome. I think Ernie is the only one that's not here, really. So you never know what's going to happen, especially on the back nine today and 18 tomorrow. He slips up a little bit, somebody can pop up and take it.

Q. What was the gallery like out there today in terms of vibe and feedback; this might be the biggest crowd they have had here since anyone can remember.

ZACH JOHNSON: I teed off, what, two hours before the leaders, but there's a ton of people out here today, it's great. They are knowledgeable and they are great as much as I'm concerned.

Q. Going back to when you were on the Nationwide Tour, you made a lot of cuts, you make a lot of Top-10s, you won as a rookie and everything, Nationwide Tour Player of the Year; where does your competitive streak come from? You seem to be a quick study at whatever level you get to.

ZACH JOHNSON: Thank you. I don't really know, to be honest. I guess I'm just competitive, that's what my wife would say. That, and I don't put -- I say that, but for the most part I try not to put a lot of stress on myself and try not to put a lot of merit into the game. To me, it's my job, and I'm fortunate to be on the PGA TOUR and playing golf for a living. But at the same time it's not my No. 1 priority and never will be. So, I don't know if that really answers your question.

Going through the ranks, mini-tour, Nationwide Tour, PGA TOUR, and winning on all of those levels, that, once again, breeds confidence and it's huge. I don't care where you win. There's so much good talent and so many good players out there, a win is a win on any level. So I think that's a lot of it is winning on every level and succeeding at every level.

My goal every year is to improve. That's my biggest goal. It's very vague, but, you know, if I'm improving on the course, that's fine. Off the course, sometimes that's even better. Missing the cut, so be it. But I think that helps with my consistency. I don't know how many cuts I've made in a row but I've made a good number in a row now and I'm just kind of going with that. I know I can win out here, not even playing my best. However, I need a lot of bounces to go my way and if I'm playing my best, I think I can win a lot. But I'm learning and that's the bottom line, I'm learning every week. That was a really roundabout answer.

Q. What did you hit off the tee on 2 and on 5?

ZACH JOHNSON: No. 2, I hit driver into the sand, actually, but I hit a good sandshot. And 5, I hit driver there, too. That was bad, but I made birdie there, too.

Q. Are you busting away, off the tee here?

ZACH JOHNSON: Am I busting it?

Q. Or are you just bombing away off the tee?

ZACH JOHNSON: I feel good with my driver. That's one of my better clubs. I would say that and my putter, usually consistently are the two better clubs in my bag. I usually hit it pretty straight, obviously not very far, but usually pretty straight and I have a lot of confidence in it.

So I'm not afraid to pull it and neither is Damon. My irons, still, are probably not the best part of my game, but they are getting there. So I think in time, you know, when everything is together, it's fun to play. It's pretty boring, but that's good.

Q. When we walked in here, Phil was up by four shots on the field. If it remains that way or could be even bigger, how difficult is it going to be to go out tomorrow and not subconsciously say, "We're playing for second"?

ZACH JOHNSON: You know, I don't like to think about winning the tournament at any point in time, maybe not until like the 18th hole. I'm just going about tomorrow -- they are all cliches, take one shot at a time, one hole at a time and make a lot of putts.

If I can keep that approach, good things can happen.

You know, I mean, Phil could have a five-shot lead going into tomorrow and somebody could still -- I shot 8-under today, obviously 9-under or 10-under is out there. The greens are just so pure. They did a great job with the golf course. If the rough was up a little bit it would have made it a little more difficult, but that's just Mother Nature. I mean, the staff here and all of Doral should be pretty proud of where their course is at. I know the numbers really don't show what they probably want, but like I said, the greens are pure and you combine that with -- for this area, I think we've had minor winds, I guess. We also had some rain, so the fairways have been very receptive. If you mis-hit it a little bit, it may land in the fairway and stay there. That helps a ton, too.

Q. How many guys from Iowa have won on the TOUR? Do you know of any other guys; D.A. Weibring?

ZACH JOHNSON: D.A.? No, he's from Illinois. We can claim him, though, if you want.

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Can we go through your birdies and bogeys, starting on 1?

ZACH JOHNSON: Sure. 1 was a good drive, a good 3-wood in there to about, I don't know what it was, 35 feet maybe.

I like doing this. Can I guess? Do you have the numbers? 35 feet I'm going to say.

Q. Is that your final answer?

ZACH JOHNSON: We'll go 35 feet, 2-putt.

No. 2, I hit it hard. I just hit it dead straight right into the bunker hit a good sand wedge from probably 85 yards. Spun it back to about four feet.

5, I hit a poor drive in the rough and hit a wedge to 7'8".

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: 8'2". (Laughter.)

ZACH JOHNSON: This is kind of fun.

8, I hit a 2-iron into the back bunker, hit a good sandshot to 5'6".

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: You're getting better. 5'3".

ZACH JOHNSON: Then I hit it to two feet on nine. Hit a good 9-iron there.

10 that was my only bogey this week. I hit a good drive, too. Butchered that hole. I hit a 2-iron into the sand trap, chunked that, and hit a good pitch but I misjudged it, but kind of released a little bit probably to 20 feet and missed the chip, made it, 3-footer for par or bogey rather.

12, I hit a good drive, pretty poor second shot and had a good lie on the rough from about 70 yards to 4'2".

JOAN vT ALEXANDER: Seven inches.


14, I hit a good drive and actually hit a really good second shot. We were still puzzled. I chipped in from 35, 40 feet.

16, I hit a good drive. The pin was up front to, I had to hit a flop shot and I flopped it to about, I would say, 3'10".

Q. Driver off there, too?



ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, I hit driver. I was trying to hit it left to give me an angle at that pin but blocked it. It was fine.

17, hit a good drive and I was in a divot, just kind of punched it out of there to, I would say, 23 and a half feet.


Q. Zach, you're pretty good.


Q. What was your putt on 18 for birdie?

ZACH JOHNSON: I'm still puzzled by that one. 13 feet, four or five paces.


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