What they said: Zach Johnson

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May 13, 2012
PGA TOUR staff

MORE INTERVIEWS: THE PLAYERS Championship transcript archive ROYCE THOMPSON: Like to welcome Zach Johnson to the media center.

Zach, if you could get us started with some comments about your round today.

ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, it was a pretty solid day. I mean, the scorecard probably shows that. I got off to a really good start with an eagle on 2. I don't know how I did that. And I gave one back again on 3 and then managed to grab it back again on 4 with a birdie.

So then from there, it was pretty steady. Gave myself some opportunities and missed a few putts, but then I hit two really, really good shots on 11, had an eagle putt. Hit a terrible eagle putt but then made a great birdie putt.

Made a great putt on 15 for birdie 14, rather. And then gave it right back on 15 and then made another good putt on 16.

And then 18, I'm assuming they showed that. That was a bone headed and lucky and all that good stuff all wrapped into one. But came away with it.

Q. Do you feel like the circus you got caught up in yesterday cost you any shots at all??

ZACH JOHNSON: Circus?

Q. The whole thing with Kevin yesterday, having too much trouble, the length of the round and all of that??

ZACH JOHNSON: He played really well yesterday. I mean, if you're talking about his routine and not being able to pull the trigger, I wouldn't define it as a circus. I would just say it's something he's trying to fight and trying to improve and get over, because I think he's going through some swing changes. Whatever changes he's making are pretty good, because he had a great yesterday. I have no idea what he did today, clearly.

I don't know, I don't think it necessarily got to me. I mean, I was really focused on what I was trying to do and stay in the moment. So I think I did a pretty good job of that yesterday quite frankly. I didn't putt very well and didn't get anything out of my round. I hit a lot of fairways yesterday, hit a lot of greens. Just didn't make any putts.

Today I managed to hit a few shots closer and then make some putts.

Q. Considering you and Matt and how close you are --

ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, we've become pretty good friends as of late. Certainly the 2010 Ryder Cup Team is part of it, but then the fact that you know, Sybi and Matt and my wife have been pretty good friends prior to this, but they moved back to St. Simon's, that's where his wife Sybi is from, but now that they are back on the island we've become even closer. We do a lot of golf, we do a lot of things with our kids together beach, pool, that sort of stuff. We get along with the Kuchars so, so well. Our kids get along. Everybody gets along great.

We just have a lot of fun together. Yeah, I'm just hoping he stays in St. Simons. I don't know why he'd leave. Those that have come have never left. We have a pretty good contingent of TOUR players and Nationwide guys now. We have a stable of studs; myself excluded (laughter).

Q. We see Matt smiling almost regardless of what happens. Describe his personality, what you know, up close and what you think of that on the course??

ZACH JOHNSON: He's always smiling. I think that's the beauty of Matt. I don't think he ever takes himself too seriously. I don't think he ever takes anything too seriously. He just kind of goes about his ways and has fun with it. I would hope that he'd say the same thing, or at least his family would say the same thing, because that's all I've witnessed.

I say all that, however he is as gritty a competitor and as fierce a competitor as I've ever been associated with. His game, it models consistency. It models, I'd say tenacity, when it comes down to finishing the deal, and we've certainly witnessed that this week.

He's funny. He's a witty, funny guy. I mean, I could tell you stories beyond stories. He's a funny guy.

I was actually partnered last year at the CVS, and won, so that was my only win last year. I enjoy being around him. I'm not so sure there's anybody that doesn't enjoy being around him.

Q. Can you talk about how you played 17 today, and walk us through that hole a little bit??

ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, made a good putt on 16, so I was just trying to hit quality shots. It's hard for me. I was in between clubs, trying to cut a wedge. I don't cut wedges very well. I don't cut anything very well.

It was a double cross pull, but a really, really good lag putt down there to 2 1/2, three feet. I because back left of the green and hit a good putt and it trickled down there and got a way with a three. I think I played it even for the week, which is probably my record, I would have to assume; I don't know, but I would take that in a year.

So I was pretty pleased with it. I did not hit a good shot.

Q. You talked about making your birdies and then giving it back on the back nine. How difficult is it at this course, especially on the back nine on Sunday, to kind of keep that sustained momentum, to keep putting the pressure on the leader, the type of things you're trying to battle back??

ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, it's a course that you really just have got to when you have the right club, you know you have the right yardage and the right club and you can be aggressive, you've got to take advantage of it.

However, there's times when you just have got to accept a 20 footer, and try to make putts.

You know, it's hard. It's hard. When you're behind, it's hard to come back here. You need help, I guess you would say, I think. Much like a major, par is a good number, and you can never lose sight of that.

But when you have holes that like 13, 14, 15 in particular, 17 and 18, they are not birdie holes, per se. I mean, they are get it on the green, 2 putt and get out of there sort of thing.

You know, 10, once again; probably a par hole. But 11 you can probably take advantage of, and 16 is kind of a birdie hole, too.

Yeah, you really have to pick up some shots somehow. It's just not easy.

ROYCE THOMPSON: Thank you.

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