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July 31, 2012

Zach Johnson


CHRIS REIMER:  We want to welcome Zach Johnson here to the media center at the Bridgestone Invitational.  You had a charity event yesterday, and just talk about how the event went, who turned out, and what the cause was.
ZACH JOHNSON:  Sure.  A lot of ladies in the crowd today.  (Laughter.)
Yeah, the last couple days was good.¬† We had my Second Annual Zach Johnson Foundation Classic, I guess you'd call it.¬† Sunday we had some clinics and a gala and some auctions and that sort of thing, and then yesterday was the event, the pro‑am, sponsoring a program that we kind of co‑developed with the community of my hometown of Cedar Rapids called Kids on Course, just a fully, I guess you'd say‑‑ it's a deep program that just gives kids opportunities in every aspect, socially, athletically and certainly academically.¬† But it's a collaborative effort with their families and the school system and a number of other entities.¬† Very rewarding.
I had a lot of friends, some guys here in the field were there.  Bo Van Pelt came, Ben Crane, Johnson Wagner, Stewart Cink, Kyle Stanley.  Had a good group of guys help, Scott Stallings.  Helped us raise some good money.  Raised a little over $700,000 in two days, so that's pretty good.  And we're helping kids and families in need.
CHRIS REIMER:  Obviously a great year so far, ranked high in the FedExCup.  This is an interesting time of the year with a World Golf Championship event, a major championship and then the Playoffs and then right into the Ryder Cup.  Talk about this fall and what you're looking forward to.
ZACH JOHNSON:¬† Yeah, I think you're right.¬† Starting I guess you could even say with the British Open, there's really not a‑‑ every week is big.¬† I think it comes down to it, you have World Golf Championships and you've got majors it seems like back‑to‑back to back, and then you have the start of the FedEx.¬† Every week is big on the PGA TOUR, you can't deny that, but this time of year it just seems like there's a little bit more added incentive and maybe even added‑‑ I don't know.¬† I just feel like you get‑‑ I get more pumped up to play this time of year, probably because I love the tournaments, I love this golf course, this tournament, and you've got the FedExCup.
There's a lot of things at stake, the Ryder Cup following that, and a lot of good just good weeks in the schedule.

Q.  I think last year was your best finish here.  Was there anything you did particularly well, or did you figure anything out about this place?
ZACH JOHNSON:¬† No, you know, I don't know.¬† I mean, I played well last year I recall, probably‑‑ I was probably top 10.¬† T6, there you go.
You'd have to go back and look.¬† I feel like I've played pretty well here every year.¬† I don't know‑‑ I mean, I don't know specifically, and this is probably my ninth or tenth year here, I don't know if I've ever really finished outside the top 25, but I don't know if I've ever finished better than sixth.¬† I'm always right there, but I can't quite get over it here.¬† I was in the last group on Sunday one year, I believe, had a minor hiccup on Hole 9, if I remember correctly.¬† I think I might have made a 9 actually.
You know, I don't know what it is, but I really enjoy this course.  To me it's Midwest golf.  It's the same type of golf I grew up playing.  There's no homes, there's thick rough, and you have to hit every shot, you have got to hit it left to right or right to left.  Fairways are a premium, you know, they're not very big here.  Bentgrass greens, that's what I grew up on, and I love it.  I've really never played horrible here.  I've never played fantastic here.  So hopefully I can ride the momentum from last year into this year and certainly the previous couple weeks.
But I like it.¬† I mean, this is always a tournament that I come into and I just feel like‑‑ I feel very comfortable.

Q.  How do you feel about your Ryder Cup standing?  Do you feel pretty good about where you are?
ZACH JOHNSON:  I do now versus two or three months ago.  I haven't checked it in a week or two, but I'm assuming I'm in the top 7, 6, 5 even.  Is the top 8 set after the PGA?

Q.  Yeah.
ZACH JOHNSON:¬† Is that right?¬† And then when is the four picked, after Boston or Indy or‑‑

Q.  It's in September.
ZACH JOHNSON:¬† Yeah, I mean, I'm in position.¬† That's really what it comes down to.¬† I'm in position.¬† I've been in position before and had the good side of things happen and had the bad side of things happen.¬† I'm familiar with both sides of it, and what I've learned is you've just got to keep playing and let‑‑ the only thing you can control is what you're doing on the course.¬† I know that sounds very clich√©, but it is, and that's really what your focus has got to be.¬† And ideally you'd like the guys that are in front of you to play well.¬† I can't control that, though, either.
It's a huge goal of mine.¬† I love Davis.¬† I love Hubby, his associate captain, and obviously Freddie, his other captain.¬† I'd love to be a part of that team.¬† Davis is a neighbor of mine, a guy that I've looked up to for numerous reasons.¬† And then the fact that it's in Chicago, I mean, there's a lot of Iowans in Chicago.¬† I've got family in Chicago.¬† It's like‑‑ that's the city if you go east of Cedar Rapids, that's where you go.¬† That's just where you go.
I'd be lying to you if I haven't said the ticket requests are coming in by the day.  It's a good thing I have no idea what the situation is, and I don't want to know.  But we'll deal with that when the time comes and if it comes.

Q.  Does your brother still live across from Wrigley Field?
ZACH JOHNSON:  Well, no, he's not in Wrigleyville anymore, but he's blocks.  I think he's in the Lincoln Park area, so yeah.  He's going to a Cubs game followed by the Iowa football game at Soldier Field in September.

Q.  What a great day.
ZACH JOHNSON:  Well, it's two days, but Friday, Saturday, yeah, great day.

Q.  Is there anything you've done differently this year that's caused you to be so consistent from May on?
ZACH JOHNSON:  Well, some minor things I would think.  Technically speaking, I did alter or polish my fundamentals with my putting.  That's really what has done it.
Last year‑‑ I haven't changed much since last year.¬† Last year specifically wasn't great, especially when you're talking about rankings and lists and that sort of thing.¬† But there was a lot of positives going in the right direction.¬† It's all a big process.¬† The one thing I've learned is for every one good year, it seems like you might have‑‑ for every couple good years, you might have one year that's just like treading.¬† I might have been treading a little bit last year, but there was good things coming.
The goals I had established I had essentially accomplished, and that was really frustrating because I felt like I should have‑‑ not a banner year but a really good year, and I didn't.¬† Looking at the stats and what we were trying to do, it's a matter of staying on that course and staying in that process and trying to get to where we needed to be.¬† And it started to show at the end of the last year and then obviously the spring and summer.¬† It's just a long process.
But specifically with my putting, my putting has improved.¬† Just more consistent.¬† I pride myself on being consistent.¬† That's the one thing you're always trying to strive as a golfer.¬† You want to be consistent in all areas.¬† The only area I don't think I've ever really been consistent on is that 310‑yard drive.¬† But that's not going to happen.¬† I've learned to accept that.¬† There's other aspects of the game that I can really focus on maintaining consistency.

Q.  Was it just results then that kind of made you frustrated with what happened last year?
ZACH JOHNSON:¬† Yeah, maybe a little bit results.¬† Yeah.¬† I felt like I was doing good things.¬† I mean, my ball‑striking was okay last year, pretty good, drove it straight.¬† My putting was okay.¬† My sand saves and my pitching was actually really good.¬† And like I said, the goals that we had set out, we had for the most part accomplished, all of them, statistically.
But it was just a matter of staying the course.  And like I said, I just kind of altered some things with my putter.  I remember at the Chevron I had no expectations going into that tournament, or low expectations I should say, and I started to see some benefits of that work that we put in really quick.  Eventually it led into 2012, but it took a little while to mature, I guess.

Q.  Great shot at the John Deere.  I know you try to forget, but can you ride that for anything, more confidence or anything?
ZACH JOHNSON:  Yeah, I'm trying to forget the one previous to that, so yeah.  I hope so, yeah.  You know, it's one shot, it is.  It's clearly just one shot.  Granted, the situation made it a lot bigger than just one shot, I guess.
But it was my second shot in that trap, so I should have learned from the first one.
All that being said, the one thing I do remember from it, I couldn't see the ball, so the result obviously speaks for itself.  But the one thing I do remember is that I was comfortable.  I mean, I had a great lie, relative to the first time I was in there.  I was comfortable, and I remember just slowly going through my routine.  That's the only thing I remember.  I was like, there's my target, and I'm going to hit it there, and that was it.  I had the perfect club obviously with the perfect number.  I didn't think it would get quite back to the hole.  Obviously it had a good ricochet or kick on the green, but I thought I could get it within 15, 20 feet if I hit it good.  I got a good bounce.  There's no denying that.  You get bad bounces every now and then, and then once in a while you get a good one, and that was a good one.
CHRIS REIMER:  Zach, thank you very much.

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