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April 27, 2011

Dustin Johnson


Q. Have you had a chance to play the course; if so, what do you think of it, and how is your game coming into the Ballantine's Championship?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I'm really looking forward to this week. It's a great golf course. I've played 16 holes. Yesterday we got a little rained out, but so far, the golf course is great, and you know, I'm really enjoying my time here. Last night we had the gala dinner. It was very nice. I had a lot of fun. You know, I'm just excited to be here.
The game right now, it's pretty good. It's getting better each week, and I'm looking forward to this week. The practise the last two days, I'm hitting it really well, so finally starting to get a little more comfortable with the putter, which so far this year is probably what held me back a little bit from succeeding a little more than I would have liked to.
But you know, it's finally starting to come around. I've been working hard on the putter, so I'm looking forward to getting out there this week and maybe rolling in some putts.

Q. You've been out on the course yesterday, and it's been said that this course isn't the easiest course for drive shots. So as a long hitter, do you think that might act as perhaps a disadvantage?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I mean, so far, playing the golf course, I think it sets up very well for me. It's a fairly long golf course, and I hit a lot of drivers. There's only, you know, I think one or two holes that I don't hit driver on.
So you know, I think it sets up really well for me, and for a long hitter.

Q. How long is the search for a new caddie going? And how much of a distraction has that been in your preparation for this?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: No, not at all. Obviously it was a little scramble to get somebody to come this week. But I've got a great guy from TaylorMade, Keith Sbarbaro, which is the guy I work with at TaylorMade with all my clubs and stuff. He's a good player, too.
So you know, so for this week, I got lucky to get him to come out here. It will be good. It's actually very good, because then he can actually see, you know, on the golf course how the clubs are reacting and stuff. You know, if we need to make any changes, then obviously he's got more insight, being out there and watching me play all week. That's a good thing.
And then, you know, the search for a new caddie, it's been going really good. I've got a lot of guys interested in working for me, and we've got a few different ones lined up for the next few weeks. But it has not really been a distraction at all.

Q. Because your own caddie is your close friend, are you confident you can find someone with whom you can have a similar kind of close bond?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: You know, obviously it's very important to get along, and respect the guy that you spend so much time with. I think obviously I'll be looking for someone that I get along with on the course and enjoy spending time with. But you know, as far as Bobby, we are still going to be really close friends. You know, he's kind of like a brother to me. I think that was one of our faults is we were maybe a little too close.

Q. You probably had a lot of opportunities to play with Korean players. Who caught your attention the most out of all the players that you have played with, and what is your overall evaluation of Korean players?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Well, the guys that I know, they are all very good players. I think I'm not -- you know, for the ones that I know, they are all very good players, very well developed, and you know, I think are going to be very successful players on the PGA Tour for a while.

Q. So if you could pick one Korean player that caught your attention?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Well, K.J. Choi and Y.E. Yang are obviously very established players right now. So as far as right now, I think they are probably the best two. And then Noh, too; he's a good player.

Q. I have two questions. One is, you're known for being a long hitter. What's your secret to hitting long and at the same time maintaining accuracy? That's the first question. And the second question is, Korean player, Noh Seung Yul, is also known to be a long hitter and he is in the same group as you that will play on Thursday. Have you seen him play?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yes, first -- well, Noh, I've played -- I haven't played with him, but I've seen him. I think I saw him at the Match Play. So I spent some time hitting balls beside him. Yeah, he's a very long hitter. Not even -- not a real big guy, but got a great golf swing, very powerful.
You know, I think he's pretty young, too, isn't he, 18? He's a very young player. He's got a lot of promise. I think he's going to be a very good golfer.
And then as far as hitting it long and accurate, some days I hit it really straight and some days I hit it really crooked. So I don't know what the recipe for that is. If you find out, though, please let me know.

Q. The battle for world domination in terms of America versus Europe is quite a big talking point. How important do you think it is for American players to get out of the habit of just playing in America and coming over here to these co-sanctioned, tri-sanctioned events?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, I think it's important to get out and play. Obviously the European players are more -- they are more travelled and more -- play more events over here, and also play some in the States, too.
So I think it's important for us. We get comfortable playing on our tour, but you can't blame us. I mean, I think it's the best tour. A lot of people do.
It's hard to get the guys to come over here to play, but you know, I think it's important for us to come over and play a few times a year, just to get the acknowledgment and some more -- you know, to come play for our fans that are overseas is very important.

Q. So you are considered a very strong player on the PGA Tour, but in Korea you're known more for being a long hitter, and that's it. So at this Ballantine's Championship, what kind of impression do you want to leave on the Korean fans?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Well, hopefully a good one. You know, I want to obviously come out and contend. I'm obviously here to win the golf tournament.
So hopefully on Sunday, I'm going to be around the lead and have a chance to win. But you know, it's also good to come out here and play for my fans over here that can also see other parts of my game besides just the driver.
MICHAEL GIBBONS: Many thanks, good luck this week.

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