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July 19, 2013

Zach Johnson


Q. How much of a grind was it?
ZACH JOHNSON: It was a grind. It was a grind from the first shot to my last 3-, 4-footer, whatever it was, on 18. Just trying to pick the right club, trying to pick the right target, with the right shot was very difficult. You don't want to overthink it, so you've got that going through your mind as well. And truly, I mean, for the most part the entire day I'm trying to two-putt from 15 feet and beyond. You're just trying to pick the proper line, very conservative, play the wind on the putts, especially the last, I'd say the back nine in general. There's not many pins you can get at. So if you make a putt, you just go to the next tee, you just get out of there.

Q. How frustrating is it? You know what you can do, but it's humbling, this course?
ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, you expect it, though. Every Major Championship can be humbling. I mean, to be honest with you, I played pretty good today. I didn't hit that many bad shots. I hit an errant tee shot on 1, an errant tee shot on 18, and maybe one more errant tee shot. But for the most part I hit it good and I putted it well for the most part. My lag-putting was suspect off the greens, a number of three-putts in that regard. But just much more difficult. I hadn't seen this wind. That would be the big thing. So I was accustomed to the west wind, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. And I have not seen an east wind until today. I didn't get in until Monday, and I guess they had it on the weekend, but I can see how this wind is significantly more difficult. Everything goes downhill, downwind towards the bay. And that just makes it very difficult.

Q. A few of the guys said this is the toughest grind today they've ever had to deal with. How do you respond to that?
ZACH JOHNSON: Well, I don't know. I'd have to go back in any memory bank and think of something that was more difficult. But it was very hard. When I shot 4-over, you know, getting it back to even par with it five or six holes to go for the day, I felt pretty good. And frankly on 14 I hit 1, 2, 3, 4 good shots and made a bogey. I misjudged the second shot, hit it in the proper line. Hit a great chip to about six feet. Hit a good putt, misread it and tapped in for a bogey. It's one of those things, you can hit a great shot and walk away with a bogey in a heartbeat. And obviously 15 was a bit of carnage, when I'm trying to two-putt from ten feet. That was just not easy.

Q. If you thought two days ago that you'd be, would you think, okay, I'll take it.
ZACH JOHNSON: I don't know, I don't particularly like hypotheticals.

Q. (Inaudible.)
ZACH JOHNSON: Thank you. Yeah, I was shocked. I hit a great 4-iron off the tee about 280-some yards. And evidently I should have hit a sand wedge. I tried to punch a wedge. I had like 158 to hole. Wrong club, I should have hit a sand wedge and got it over the bunker and accept it wherever it went. Hit a great pitch. I actually misjudged the read. I thought it would go more left and hit a great pitch to 10, 12 feet. It was probably a two-ball outside left putt, but I played the wind. I hit it left edge, just barely out. If I would've had the wind on that first putt that I did the second the putt, I think I would have made that one. That went right, the first putt. And the second putt was all three and a half, four feet, and it also went right. So, you know, the pin is on something. It's not -- well, it was awkward. If one side of the hole goes right and the other side of the hole goes right, there's something not particularly normal there.

Q. (Inaudible.)
ZACH JOHNSON: Well, it's fair. I mean, the fairway lines are fair. Certainly the run-ups onto the green are very fair. These are just the fastest Open greens I've ever witnessed. If I explain to someone back home The Open and what it requires, it requires hitting quality tee shots, with trajectory control, utilizing the ground. The same thing on your approach shot and the greens are extremely slow. But with this wind and the speed of these greens, they're the complete opposite. I don't want to compare it to Augusta, because there's nothing like Augusta. When you have to play the extreme high break and play wind, it's like Augusta.

Q. (Inaudible.)
ZACH JOHNSON: Potentially. Yeah, when you're trying to two-putt from ten-plus feet, just trying to two-putt, extremely difficult. The thing is that the holes that are kind of open to the wind are significantly faster -- 15, holes like 17, it's kind of guarded there, much slower and greener, as a result. There's some inconsistency green to green, but we know that. The more traffic in the afternoon, certainly the faster they are. All of what you'd expect.

Q. Has there been anything more open than this at a Major (inaudible.)
ZACH JOHNSON: Oh, yeah. I feel like it's almost like that every tournament/Major. There's very few times when someone runs away with it. Louis at St. Andrews, Rory at the PGA, and the U.S. Open. Those are just odd years there. But this is pretty much what you'd expect. A leaderboard that's jumbled with a lot of talent.

Q. Your thoughts, you're right there, your thoughts as you go through this journey right now?
ZACH JOHNSON: If anything I'm confident -- still confident this the way I'm striking it. I hit a lot of great iron shots today, on the par-3s. Very confident and nice knowing that I got around with the east wind under my belt. That's a big difference relative to yesterday. I probably would have shot another 8-under today if I -- just kidding. So it's just nice seeing where the ball is going to go with this amount of wind coming from the east. And hopefully I can continue just hitting solid shots because 2-putting and getting up and down, eliminating big mistakes, specifically doubles, are still going to be key.

Q. And you're in the mix?
ZACH JOHNSON: You're in the mix. You never know what can happen. Remaining patient and keep doing what I'm doing.

Q. I always wonder, the fun factor. A lot of guys say that if you can have fun it helps overall. Is it possible to have fun under these conditions?
ZACH JOHNSON: Well, I enjoy difficult tests, I think everybody does. "Fun," you've got to use that term loosely, I think, here. What's fun about it is that we don't see this but once a year. I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoy that. And that's why I want to keep coming back.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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