29 September 2010
An Interview With: any stretch. Once you're affiliated one of these
teams or associated with one of these teams, you
do want to be a part of them at all points, however
ZACH JOHNSON my game was not in proper form at the time.
I mean, I felt like I was a part of that team
indirectly. You are American; they are -- that's
GORDON SIMPSON: Zach, thanks very your 12 best that are going out to compete. So I
much for joining us. This is your second wasn't one that was able to go out there and play,
experience of Ryder Cup, The K Club, you might but fortunately I am this year.
recognise some of the weather conditions. What
are your hopes, keeping the Cup this time, and the Q. I know you have a sense of who
losing experience last time. you're playing with, but I just noticed The K
ZACH JOHNSON: My goal coming here is Club, for a rookie, you had three partners.
to get at many points for the team as possible ZACH JOHNSON: Chad, Stewart --
given the opportunity. It's pretty simple. I want to
go out there and compete and keep that cup with Q. Scott.
us and bring it back home to the United States. ZACH JOHNSON: Oh, Scotty, that's right.
GORDON SIMPSON: That wasn't a bad
team that you were on in '06, just The European Q. Are you assured a fourth partner
Team were exceptionally well. this week, and what does that say about you?
ZACH JOHNSON: They were deep in ZACH JOHNSON: I don't know. That's a
talent and played magnificent. One thing I good point. I never really thought about that.
remember, as it is with any Cup team that wins,
made a lot of putts and that year the Europeans Q. We're desperate this morning?
made a lot of putts and putts when they needed ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, clearly. I don't
them, and that's really what it boiled down to. know. I mean, I think everybody is pretty fixated
Yeah, it certainly didn't work in our favour on the fact that Paul Azinger had these pods and
unfortunately and we have a different team this kept everybody together. And you certainly don't
year. want to mess with something that's working. I truly
GORDON SIMPSON: Does that make the grasp that and understand that, and frankly I think
motivation all that greater if you've had the it's the right thing to do.
downside, and you watched the guys at Valhalla I think me in particular, I can't speak on
on the upside. behalf of the other guys, but me in particular, my
ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, absolutely. game is fairly obvious. It's not that flashy. It's
Since then, I've played on a couple Presidents pretty boring. I prefer boring golf. So my point is I
Cups, and I've experienced the wins, which is nice. think you could put me with about anybody and I
But yeah, this one is the priority, no question about could perform. I drive the ball pretty straight. Hit
that. Witnessing '08 on television, because I did my irons pretty straight on the green, make a few
watch a lot of it. putts, short game is decent.
GORDON SIMPSON: Were you jealous? So I think my game can be put with
ZACH JOHNSON: No, I didn't get jealous,
because I didn't earn my way on the team, not by
somebody's, depending on the format certainly, but spectator's eye, may be a little unorthodox, but
my point is in '06, Scotty's game and my game when you look at the blade and you look how I try
certainly mirrored each other, but I think I can be a to putt the roll on the ball, it's fairly simple.
good partner for anybody. I prefer, especially coming down the
stretch, I prefer putting the pressure on my putter.
Q. When we ask a lot of the guys, the I like that. I want that. It doesn't matter the length.
first thing they really mention is the rough, It doesn't matter the situation. If pressure can be
pretty high. Two parts to this question; one, do put on my putter, I don't say I like my chances, but
you think that maybe given that, that you'll I certainly relish that opportunity.
probably see a lot of action this week? And
two, are you a good wet weather player? Q. Staying on the subject of Tiger, you
ZACH JOHNSON: Due to the rough? have played with him on some teams; do you
Yeah, I don't know what he has in store as far as notice any more determination or focus on him
the amount of matches I'm going to play. I don't this week or from him this week than previous
know if it's weather based. I don't know if it's rain Presidents Cup, Ryder Cups?
or rough-based; element-based, I should say. ZACH JOHNSON: Any more? No. I think
The rough is very thick and it's penal, but he's just as focussed as he's always been. He's
once again, I don't mind that. Am I a good wet always focussed. I think he's always very keen as
weather player? I mean, I'm very familiar with it. to -- I do remember in '06, I mean, it was my rookie
But to say that I'm as good or better than anybody year, so you're really digesting all of it and kind of
else out there would be completely wrong, like a sponge. I do remember him and a couple of
because we are all experienced. It's not like it's -- the other veterans, but saying, you want to get
you guys know. We are in delays all the time and your rest, but you want to hang out, and we all did,
playing in it all the time. but there were a couple of times where a lot of
I remember a handful of days where it these guys said, hey -- and we did it's time to rest.
rained for the first two days tee-to-green. Outside of that, his focus, you guys see him. He's
GORDON SIMPSON: Don't say that, a very determined individual with his golf clubs. I
please. haven't seen anything different this week.
ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, I hope that's not The best thing that Tiger said leading up to
the case. I mean, I'm a mudder. I don't mind this is the fact that he wants to be here and that's
grinding it out. been very evident, on the golf course and in the
Q. I don't know how to put this, but
Tiger has been complimentary of your putting Q. Secondly, your impressions of the
at times, can you talk about that? grandstand of the first tee and that
ZACH JOHNSON: Well, I've played with atmosphere. Probably haven't seen anything
him obviously a bunch of times and -- quite like that, even in a Ryder Cup or a
Presidents Cup. Your impressions of it?
Q. You've heard him say that. ZACH JOHNSON: The first tee in
ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, I've heard him general? Well, yeah, go back to '06 again, the first
say that. I mean, I think I am a good putter. I tee, I mean, I remember my first match on Friday
mean, I'm not going to deny that. I think I am a afternoon, certainly the nerves and it's just the
pretty good putter. I think there's a lot of putts that feeling when they announce your game, and you
you see and that you witness that, you know, this get a small golf clap, proper, no ill will or anything
putt is pretty big, and I think I've made a lot of like that. But when they announce the European
those putts. Team, it's pretty intense. It's awesome. You're
At the same time, it's a little bit different going into a foreign stadium, if you will, or an away
between he and I. When I'm on television, it's arena, that's the way it should be.
because I'm playing well. So I'm typically putting Now, specifically, Sunday's match against
pretty well. When he's on television, he's always Darren Clarke, I'll never forget it. It was so loud
on television, good or bad. So my point is, you and long, and rightfully so. One, for him to
really don't witness my bad putting days on compete there; two, with everything that happened
television. Just the way it is.
Now, given all of that, I think I am a good
putter. I think certainly to the eye, to the
to that point with his family; and then to compete ZACH JOHNSON: The hole in general?
as well as he did there -- it was inspiring. It's great. I don't mind it. You know, for me, it's
Unfortunately I came in on the other side of the pretty simple. I want to get the ball in the fairway
ledger there, but you know, he is Darren Clarke. and not in the rough, because the lay-up shot,
He is an awesome competitor, a guy that I love to even though it is a lay up, is very important. I want
play with, and an even better person. So that was to get to a yardage that I can control and that I can
pretty strong. I remember the team rallying around get it close for a nice birdie putt.
him. The third shot, it's not obvious, but it is the
third shot, because of what's in store, you put it
Q. Just to follow up, what do you think short, put some spin on it, what is it, 30 yards to
of this grandstand here? the water probably, but it's not going to stop. You
ZACH JOHNSON: Oh, specifically this have to be probably aggressive to the front pins.
grandstand? You have to be a little conservative there, but the
middle, back pins, you can be a little more
Q. That was my other follow-up, just strategic.
this grandstand here, and the atmosphere you I think it's a great finishing hole. Plus it's a
expect this weekend. par 5. '06 was a par 5 finishing hole and I don't
ZACH JOHNSON: Do you mean like think there's anything wrong with that.
Q. Do you see a lot of matches coming
Q. Yeah, big. down to that hole?
ZACH JOHNSON: Obviously I've not ZACH JOHNSON: I have absolutely no
really grasped it. I went to the first tee, but I didn't idea. (Laughter).
even look at it. I remember seeing some
Oklahoma State shirts and that was it. I don't Q. Over the last 25 years when you
know how big it is. Does it envelop the whole tee? look back at the matches, it's very much in
I truly don't know. Europe's favour; any talk or emphasis on
GORDON SIMPSON: It's bigger than The closing, finishing off?
K Club. ZACH JOHNSON: Has there been any
ZACH JOHNSON: That's the way it talk? Not specifically to my knowledge.
should be. There's some strategy involved there.
GORDON SIMPSON: Check it out today. Q. Should there be?
ZACH JOHNSON: I'll check it out today, ZACH JOHNSON: I don't think so. I think
for sure. (Laughter). If we even get to 1 today. I we all know what to do. You know, when you are
think we tee off on 11. going to the 18th hole, whether you're 1-up,
1-down or all tied, it is the most important hole at
Q. Let's go to the other end of the hand. But to have it be more emphasised than any
course at 18. Monty was talking about how a other hole, like 17, I think that's completely wrong
lot of the last few matches, a lot of them came because they are all important.
down to the last hole. What are your So we all know that. It's not like it's any
impressions of that hole and does it favour different. I don't think you put any added emphasis
anybody if a lot of matches do come down to on it. I think you might be putting a little too much
that last hole? into it. It is the final hole, it is important, I realise
ZACH JOHNSON: Does it favour that, and it does determine where the point or half
anybody? I don't know. I think it depends on the point goes, but I'm not going to change my golf
elements and the conditions. If it's straight into the game because it's the last hole. I'm still going to
wind, I don't think it favours anybody because approach that hole the way I know I should
everybody is laying up. I don't think it favours approach it.
anybody. If it's down winds, there's some guys
that can get home in two and some guys that can't. Q. Second time you played a Ryder
So, yeah, it might favour the longer Cup overseas with Corey Pavin and Tom
ball-striker, but both teams have guys that hit the Lehman; haven't heard anything from Goydos
ball pretty darn far. I don't see the favour.
Q. What's your impressions of that?
this week. What's he brought so far?
ZACH JOHNSON: Really? Okay. Well, I
love Paul. I've gotten to know him pretty good over
the last three, four, five years. He's just an
awesome guy. He's a character. He's a guy that
kind of looks at things in a different light maybe,
different angle I guess.
A cool thing he said already, that I heard
him say, I don't know if he was specifically talking
to me or a bunch of us, he didn't know what to
expect. I'm assuming this is his first Cup to a
degree, not for sure. He didn't really know what to
expect but now he grasps the situation and just
how cool it is. You know, just what the Ryder Cup
is all about, why as players you want to be on the
team and be a part of it.
So Paul has been great and I know he's
relishing his opportunity to be a part of this team.
He's fun. He's fun-loving. He's easy to be around
and he gets along with everybody and everybody
loves him so he's great.
Q. Any pearls of wisdom from him this
ZACH JOHNSON: Not yet, no. Not yet.
There's little things that he has here and there --
no, nothing specifically.
Q. Yeah, specifics, Zach?
ZACH JOHNSON: I have nothing specific.
If I did, I would tell you but I honestly don't. He's
trying to soak it all in as well.
GORDON SIMPSON: Zach, thank you,
it's been a pleasure. Have a great week.
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