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April 1, 2011

Johnson Wagner


DOUG MILNE: Johnson Wagner, thanks for joining us. A clean card, 5-under 67 today. Obviously this place is special to you. It's where you got your maiden PGA Tour Victory. Just a few comments on the round today and kind of how you're feeling as you're heading into the weekend.
JOHNSON WAGNER: I played great today. You know, bogey-free, as you said, is always nice. I was actually bogey-free yesterday. So I'm not expecting that for 72 holes, but it would sure be nice.
I played. The golf course is in fabulous condition. Greens were rolling great as always, and I just love being here. I love the golf course, I love the people, the Houston Golf Association, everybody at Redstone. I've got very good feelings as soon as I step on the property here.
DOUG MILNE: Obviously next week is a goal, as it was in 2008, and how much is Augusta on your mind?
JOHNSON WAGNER: It's not in my mind at all. Actually it's surprisingly -- you know, any player that plays professional golf or golf in general would love to play at the Masters. I have done that. I would love to go back, but I'm so focused on this week that I'm trying not to let myself think about that.
DOUG MILNE: Okay. We'll take some questions.

Q. What worked particularly well for you today?
JOHNSON WAGNER: I've been driving the ball great. I've been hitting my targets. This is not the most difficult driving golf course ever, but there's a few tee shots out there you really have to be committed to your lines, and 18 would be one of them.

I've just driven the ball really nicely and it set up my game to hit a lot of good quality iron shots. When you get on these greens, you feel like you can make a 40-footer. So everything has been pretty good.

Q. Can you expound on what this tournament means to you. You said in a TV interview you almost treat this like a Major in terms of what it means to you personally.
JOHNSON WAGNER: My first experience with the HGA was at the 2006 Nationwide Tour Championship down at the Houstonian. I met Steve Timms, the tournament director here. I think he was the tournament director at that event as well. That's when I got my PGA Tour card. So I immediately had a lot of admiration and respect for the HGA. My rookie year I came in here and finished ninth. I was in the last group the last day. Then of won in '08. Everybody has treated me so well here, and it's not because I'm a past champion. It's because they're good people. And I just want to play well here.
There's a few regular Tour events, Charlotte is my home town, would another that I treat as a Major in my mind probably because I'm not in every Major. But Houston and Charlotte will always be my two favorite events that we play.

Q. Is this one of those courses you almost expect to play well coming in?
JOHNSON WAGNER: Yes, it is just because I like it so much. I really -- the last couple weeks really was trying to get my game finally tuned to play well here. And then my coach came up to Bay Hill last week and my caddy, and I hit a lot of balls, worked on our putting a lot and just trying to peak for this week, really.
Like I said, this is just one of my favorite events and just want to play here. And, you know, I feel like I've prepared myself well.

Q. Lot of discussion about how good the greens are this week compared to some past events. Is it a difference that you can tell?
JOHNSON WAGNER: I think they're exactly the same as they were in '07 when I first played here. I loved them then. It's hard to improve on perfection. They're just so good. The ball doesn't bobble. The ball doesn't wiggle. You can look up on a 10-footer and know you made it because it's won't roll off line. The greens are just spectacular. The best we play all year.

Q. Is this, you know, a building from the win earlier this year, you feel like you're building back a little bit?
JOHNSON WAGNER: Definitely. I finished the year pretty nicely. Last year I had a couple Top-10s in the Fall Series just to get myself in that 126 to 150 category. Just tried to keep working hard. I got a new caddy midway through last year. He's actually got the same last name as you do, Hauser.

Q. You got Matt?
JOHNSON WAGNER: Yeah. We've really clicked well, and he works hard and makes me work hard. We've been going down the right road for the last year or so.

Q. Obviously big boost to win for the first time out here because then you always know you can win. But lot of guys have talked about that second win is really in a lot of ways more important because then, you know, that whole -- it shows the first one wasn't a fluke and -- does it give you a different sense of yourself having done it a second time?
JOHNSON WAGNER: Definitely. I won twice on Nationwide Tour and once out here. I was pretty confident with myself that the win out here wasn't a fluke. But, you know, sure, it definitely -- it was nice. It was three years pretty much in between, and I did a lot of things the wrong way after winning here.
I went from winning here to going to the Masters. And I was just thinking it was just the easiest thing in the world to do. And I dug myself in a deep hole, and it was hard to get out of it. And finally I did and, you know, I feel like I've got a really, really good future ahead of me, and hopefully I'll win a ton of tournaments and contending more. And I just -- I've got such a different perspective after winning the second time. I just kind of know how to handle myself now a little bit better.

Q. Are you a better golfer today than you were --
JOHNSON WAGNER: I'm a much better golfer. Much better golfer today than I was the day before than I was three years ago. That's the goal is to try to get better every day. It's kind of a cliche, but you want to get better every day. If you're not getting better, you're getting worse.

Q. Is your game itself better or is it just mentally the whole package?
JOHNSON WAGNER: My game is so much better today than it was in '08 when I won here. I made a lot of putts that year. Really putted my way to victory, which would be nice to put like I did then. That's all that golf is, is who gets it in the hole.
Tee to green I play a much straighter shot than I used to. I have much more command over where the ball goes.
DOUG MILNE: Okay. Well, Johnson, congratulations on a great second round. Look forward to seeing you back on the weekend.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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