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March 19, 2004

Zach Johnson


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Zach, thanks for joining us. You first two round of the Bay Hill Invitational, 67-68 puts you in great position for the weekend. Maybe just start with some opening comments about your first two rounds out here.

ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, it was good. I felt good going into the week. I got off to a pretty mediocre start yesterday, I guess, but was able to get some momentum on the back side , my front nine.

Today was kind of up and down at times, but a lot more positives than negatives for sure.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Good finish last week at the Honda Classic, and obviously trying to build on that and build on that the rest of the season.

ZACH JOHNSON: Definitely, definitely. Like I said, this game, momentum is huge. Confidence is even bigger. I had some swing changes -- went through some minor swing changes a few weeks ago and now I'm starting to feel the club a little bit more. As a result, I'm hitting a lot of straight shots. The putter is working good.

Q. You kind of went on a little Mickelson run on the back nine where I think it was eagle, birdie, bogey, birdie, birdie bogey or something like that, which usually you're a little more on the steady side?

ZACH JOHNSON: Thank you, Steve. Yeah, I hit two good shots on 10, 11, 12, made that, and I made birdie on the next hole. I was pretty high confidence there, momentum there for sure. I probably got a little too ahead of myself. Misjudged -- I hit both the next two greens. I 3-putted from both.

That next par 3 is a tough pin. I hit it on the green, I hit a pretty good shot, misjudged it. I hit two pretty solid putts there, just misread one of them. But the next hole, I hit a bomb there, too, and hit a bad four- or five-foot putt. I had a good read. I missed it.

Q. The eagle, what's the play-by-play on that one?

ZACH JOHNSON: I made a good par save on the previous hole, so I was fairly excited, and smoked a drive there. We didn't know if we should go for it or not but my adrenaline was going. I just killed a 3-wood. Rolled up there -- probably perfect, five, eight, ten yards short. I probably made about a ten-footer for eagle.

Q. Were you on the green?

ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, just pin-high right. Right edge putt. It was fairly simple -- well, I mean, relatively speaking.

Q. For you.

ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah. (Laughs). Some of these greens are pretty brutal.

Q. Talk about what was wrong before the swing change and what you worked on to fix it.

ZACH JOHNSON: Specifically?

Q. Yeah.

ZACH JOHNSON: I work with Mike Bender and we are all just about keeping the club on plane start to finish.

My club was getting a little -- my hand was getting a little off-side at the start. So I was trying to get my hands more inside and as a result getting it in better position on the top. If I can keep my transition slow at the top, I usually will maintain my rhythm and I can hit the ball fairly solid. I was hitting a lot of unsolid shots prior to that.

Q. Were they going one way or the other?

ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, depending on where I came down from the top, I block it or I clip it. Actually, the biggest difference has been with my driver and my wedges, for sure, just a lot more consistent. My driver has probably been my best club.

Q. Was it at Honda that you felt like you've kind of addressed the issue and you felt like you're back where you should be?

ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, mentally, I was really fighting things Thursday and Friday at Honda. Thursday I had a good score but made a bunch of bogeys along with a bunch of birdies.

Friday was very sub-par.

Saturday is when it clicked. I could feel where the club face was at impact, where it was lined up and my club face control is significantly better. I actually hit it as good, if not better, on Sunday, just didn't score as well, and it led into this week. So I'm still working on it. It's by no means perfect.

Q. Looking at the back row here, is there anyone left in Iowa?

ZACH JOHNSON: There's about four or five left. I think they are on the golf course, though. Pretty good following. Wherever we go, there's always Iowa people behind the ropes. It's unbelievable.

Q. You've seemed to play two very different rounds even though the score is very close. Is there anything that you can attribute to the difference in the day of the setup of the course or anything?

ZACH JOHNSON: My scorecard is different than yesterday. It came out to be relatively the same. If you were out there watching it, it really wasn't that much different as far as my play.

I made a good bogey on 5. Made a good save for bogey on 5 and actually hit two good shots there. Completely misjudged the wind. The wind was swirling at that point in time; misjudged it. So after that, I 3-putted twice and they were long putts, and these greens, that's going to happen.

I probably made more putts today than I did yesterday even though I did score one shot higher. Some of the pins today were probably -- maybe a little more difficult, I don't know. Overall, relatively the same. But those front pins are difficult and then the ones that are over the little knobs are difficult, especially if you are hitting long iron, but they are by no means unfair.

Q. Your approach, obviously you won on the Nationwide Tour before and you've on won in other places, your approach now, this is the first time you've really been, I would say in pretty good position going into the weekend on the Tour; what kind of approach will you take, will it be the same as the Nationwide Tour, will you make adjustments just because of, it is the Tour and the course?

ZACH JOHNSON: Well, like I said, this is pretty much my first time in this position. So, I mean, I'm not going to change anything. My routines are going to be the same and I'm pretty routine-oriented. I'm not superstitious but very much routine-oriented. If you ask me that question after Sunday, I could probably -- whether I adjust to it, I could answer it better.

Nationwide Tour I think prepared me pretty well for this and that's the way I'm going to go about it. If I change now, I can get off-kilter and I by no means want to do that.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Let's go through your scorecard. You started on the front side. First birdie on No. 3.

ZACH JOHNSON: 3, I hit a good drive and kind of in between clubs, knocked down a little 9-iron three feet, straight putt.

5, I hit a good tee shot. It was in the middle of the fairway and I had like 150 to the hole. 4 and 5 are terrible holes. And my problem was 4 was into the wind and 5 should have been downwind. However, it was not. I didn't hit a great second shot, but I didn't hit it -- really wasn't that bad. It was in the bunker. I had no lie. I actually left it in the bunker and it plugged and I chunked it out of there about, I'd say at least eight feet. Made a good -- yeah, it was probably eight feet, made an eight-footer for bogey.

6, I laid up. I was in the left rough. Then hit a little sand wedge in there to about eight to ten feet, more like ten feet probably.

7, I hit a 6-iron to probably 20 feet right-to-left downhill.

12, I had 260 front. I hit driver, 3-wood. I don't know if it was into me or not there. It was more right-to-left.

13, 3-wood, just a half-wedge to, that, was probably 15, 18 feet.

14, I was 40, 50 feet. I was on the very left side of the green. Probably 50 feet and missed an 8-footer for par.

Next hole, I was on the front of the green, pin was back right, and I missed about a 5-footer for par, easy putt.

16, I hit a good drive there. I hit 6-iron. Didn't hit a great lag putt, but I made about a two-and-a-half, 3-footer for birdie.

End of FastScripts.

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