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December 4, 2011

Zach Johnson


JOHN BUSH:  Zach Johnson joins us in the interview room.  Zach, what a final round.  Came up a little bit short, but what a great day overall.
Can we get your comments.
ZACH JOHNSON:  Yeah, it was.  There were certainly a lot of positives out there today.  You know, I can obviously think of a lot of shots I gave away; you can say that with any round.
Yeah, I just came up a little bit short.  I executed well when I needed to, hit good shots when I needed to, and, you know, I putted pretty well for the most part.  Missed couple short ones, but nothing significant.
Probably evened out.  Maybe.  I don't know.  But I mean, overall I'm not disappointed in my performance or my approach.  I'm just not overly ecstatic about the outcome.
JOHN BUSH:  Great putt on 16.  Take us through the last hole there.
ZACH JOHNSON:  Yeah, 18 hit two good shots.  Hit an 8-iron there in there, I don't know, it was probably 15 feet at least, 16 feet.  That's the one that was frustrating.  I did not hit a good putt there; hit a really good putt on 17.  I did not hit a good putt on 18.
Probably didn't have it read right either.  It is what it is.  I would have liked to have hit a better putt to get a chance.
JOHN BUSH:  Questions.

Q. You just mentioned the putt on 17.  Judging by your reaction on TV, looked like maybe you felt like maybe you made that putt.
ZACH JOHNSON:  Oh, I thought I had a -- well, I did have a chance.  I hit exactly where I wanted to.  It just didn't dive enough or I hit it too hard, one of the two.

Q. The distance on that, on 17?
ZACH JOHNSON:  Probably 20 feet.  I don't know.  Yeah, 18 to 22 feet.  Somewhere in there.

Q. Three years ago Tiger doing this coming with a couple birdies the last two holes, tying and winning maybe wouldn't have surprised anybody.  But what's happened the last two years where he hasn't won at all, was it a surprise to you at all?
ZACH JOHNSON:  No, not at all.  It wouldn't surprise me if he continues to do it and wouldn't surprise me if somebody else does it.  In this game, I'm never surprised with the way the guys are able to execute and hit shots.  I think he would be the epitome of that example.

Q. Without the wind today, what happened?  We thought the scores would be lower.
ZACH JOHNSON:  Yeah, I thought the scores would be a little bit lower, but the greens were significantly faster and firmer.  It wasn't point-and-shoot like it has been the previous three days.
In other words, you had to know where to land the ball and play appropriate spin, because the greens were a lot -- I mean, 9 was a perfect example for me.  I hit it three feet from the hole and went over the green.
The other day it would have stopped pretty quick.  Getting there a lot faster.  Greens are a lot faster.

Q. I know it wasn't match play, but you and he had some room there.  Shot to shot, what was it like just in terms of adrenaline?
ZACH JOHNSON:  It was fun.  I mean, that's why I play the game.  I mean, I pride myself on being able to execute when I need to.  I love having the tension and nerves and being in those situations.
You know, I love having the ability have to make putts.  I love that.  I typically feel like I -- in the Cups I feel like I've done a pretty good job in that.  In big tournaments, too.
For the most part I did today, but obviously he just did a little bit better of a job.

Q. With what Tiger's has done in the last month changed what you think he will do next year?  Or what do you think he will do next year?
ZACH JOHNSON:  Yeah, I mean, I think he's going to have a good year.  I mean, I kind of thought that before this past month.
As I said yesterday:  If the man is healthy, that's paramount.  I mean, he's the most experienced and the best player I've ever played with.  In every situation, he knows how to execute and win.

Q. Obviously you've been under that kind of pressure that you were today any number of times in major Championships and all that.  Even with that, are you able to learn things like in a round today that you'll be able to take moving forward?
ZACH JOHNSON:  Sure.  I haven't played since the beginning of October so I was rusty coming into the week.  I went down to Titleist and worked there early on in the week to kind of get the rust off.
You know, the one thing I'm going to learn or take from this is the fact that I'm doing the right things and not doing anything that's certainly off track too much.  I can always improve.
It's going to be a great experience, no doubt about it.  Specifically probably the last five or six holes.  I guess the way I look at it, I don't think I lost the tournament; I think he won it.
That's certainly what it looked like today.  He made two really good putts.  Hit good shots to get in those positions to make those putts.
Yeah, that's what I'm going to take from it.  I mean, I want to win, as I do every week, but I'm not too upset with the way I played.

Q. Tiger on TV was talking about the shot you hit on 14.  He said he thought that was potentially a turning point in the day in your favor, and that possibly looked like he might make bogey there.  Instead, you turned things around and all of a sudden you're up.
ZACH JOHNSON:  The putt/chip one?  That one?

Q. Yeah.
ZACH JOHNSON:  Yeah, that certainly -- I guess indecisive would be the appropriate word there.  I knew if I hit a putt there there was no way he could get it within ten feet.  I mean, ten foot would have been a good putt.
I felt like if I could get my spin on a pitch, it would check a little bit and catch the brake.  It was not an easy chip.  Obviously you're chipping it off the greens, but it's not like I was trying to hit it on a downhill lie out of the bunker to a tough pin.
It wasn't like that.  It was doable.  You know, my circle was inside of eight feet.  I don't know if it was a turning point, but certainly kept me in it.
JOHN BUSH:  Zach.  We appreciate your time.
ZACH JOHNSON:  Thank you.

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