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June 17, 2011

Zach Johnson


Q. All you can do is worry about your game, but at what point does it become --
ZACH JOHNSON: Well, I think his score becomes relevant when you're talking about the last three or four holes of the golf tournament. I mean, if I get myself in contention on Sunday, that's when it becomes relevant, and if it's a 15-shot lead, then it's irrelevant. If it's less than that, I mean, if it's a handful of shots, you could say it's somewhat relevant. Right now it's completely and utterly irrelevant.

Q. Is it important to not let that into your head when you go out tomorrow?
ZACH JOHNSON: The way I look at it, the pressure is off me. I'm not the one that's supposed to win it right now. I'm not saying I don't want to lead, but I don't know how many shots he's winning by. It's got to be at least seven, right, eight, nine? You know, that's pretty good. (Laughter.)
Yeah, I'm going to play my game. I can't control the leaderboard. I certainly can't control what Rory is doing or anybody. They're just numbers. It's completely irrelevant.

Q. Do you like what you did today, put yourself in contention?
ZACH JOHNSON: I liked what I did on the front nine. I wasn't too content with the way I played on the back. I hit a lot of errant tee shots which was very, very frustrating. If there was one thing in my golf game that I was not concerned about, it was my driver, and that certainly cost me, you could probably say, at least one shot. I guess I missed one short putt on 10, but whatever.
Yeah, but my short game held me together today. At a U.S. Open venue, that's always comforting.

Q. Starting the lead if someone would have told you you were a couple under par going into the weekend, would you have thought you'd have been in the lead or near the lead?
ZACH JOHNSON: Probably. Probably, yeah.

Q. And can you talk about 6?
ZACH JOHNSON: Sure. I hit a pretty good drive there surprisingly, and then that was actually -- that's kind of one of those holes where I don't want to say I made mistakes, but I did get a little lucky. My second shot I had the perfect club, but I was trying to hit it left of the hole -- well, I hit it left of the hole, but I was trying to hit it left of the green even, and if it cut, it cut. It did cut, and I caught it just a smidge heavy and it landed on the front of the green. It was two yards from being in the water.
And then I hit a putt that would have been minimum eight feet by if it didn't hit the back of the hole. Charles said it moved the hole, so I hit it pretty firm. Fortunately it went in.

Q. How far did you have for your second shot?
ZACH JOHNSON: I hit a 3-wood -- I had 240, I think, to the hole, 242 to the hole, and then made about a 40-footer, 45-footer.

Q. How did the course play today?
ZACH JOHNSON: Setup or you mean conditions?

Q. Both, actually.
ZACH JOHNSON: I thought it played fine. You know, when it comes to a U.S. Open fairways are a premium and today was a little bit easier to hit the fairway because if it landed in the fairway it typically stayed in the fairway. A couple holes were maybe an exception to that, but I saw a lot of guys hitting 3-woods and 5-woods, and that makes it a little bit easier. I thought it was good. The pin placements were certainly not easy, but once again, if you get the ball in the fairway and you have a little bit of loft in your hand, you can be aggressive because there was minimal release. If you're errant on your second shot, you had the ability to get up-and-down once again because the greens held. It was very fair. It's what you expect after how much rain they had last night, close to an inch probably. But if we get a little bit of wind and dry conditions, it'll be quick.

Q. Have you expected somewhat better results in U.S. Opens?
ZACH JOHNSON: I don't know if I had expectations, I expected to play better. I just haven't played well. It's just bad weeks. I don't know why that is. I just haven't hit solid shots and putted well. I like bentgrass. This is the grass I grew up on. I don't know if I play as well on poa annua and we're probably not going to see a U.S. Open on Bermuda, which I like. There's a number of factors involved. But yeah, it is my eighth, I just haven't performed well. I think my game is fairly suited to it, but it's only two days, too.

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