MORE INTERVIEWS: FedEx St. Jude Classic transcript archive
DOUG MILNE: All right. We'd like to welcome the 2012 FedEx St. Jude Classic champion, Dustin Johnson. Was a great week for you, what a more fitting place to pick up 500 FedExCup Points than the FedEx St. Jude Classic to move to No. 18 on the list. You're back, you're healthy, a big week. You picked, you know, your sixth with win on the PGA TOUR. Just some thoughts about the win.
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Well, it feels really good. Especially having so much time off, coming back. You know, last week helped a lot competing and getting back in the groove of things. And then, you know, I came out this week and I really -- I just played well all week.
DOUG MILNE: Okay. With that we'll go ahead and open up and take some questions.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about the injury. The back injury was in March, and then -- was there another injury that you had that you talked about??
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I had knee surgery in the off-season. And then right before the Masters, I don't remember the date, it was right before the Masters that I just pulled a muscle in the back. And, you know, it's fine now.
I rested it, did a lot of physical therapy on it, and, you know, stim and ice and manual work. Everything's good, feeling healthy and great. Glad to be back out here.
Q. The round today with so many people tied at times at the top of the leaderboard, how did you handle it? Did you look at the leaderboard, keep track of where were you, especially as you went to No. 16 and 17?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I try not to. Try to just play my game today, you know. I'm hitting the ball well. I was driving it good. I was hitting good iron shots. I was just trying to play my game and get as many looks at birdies as I could. And, you know, I did that.
I had a lot of looks, lot of good looks, and made a few putts coming down the stretch. Made great birdies at 16 and 17. Made a good up and down on 16 for birdie, and then hit two good slots in there to about 10 feet on 17 and made a good putt.
Q. Rory McIlroy came here literally because he wasn't playing particularly well. Got a lot of attention for that. You typically have not come. Was it just you wanted the extra play? But for the injury, would you not have been here otherwise? How did you set it in your schedule?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I'm not real sure. You know, always play Memorial, I really like that place. I've never been here. I just was one of those -- it just fell in an awkward spot for me. So, you know, I haven't really played here. Obviously I like this place, so I'll probably be coming back laughter.
Q. Take me through the painting. Did you know there was going to be this portrait of you that -- you were prepared for this and did you -- or did you see it and were awed by the -- how did it work out??
DUSTIN JOHNSON: One of the FedEx guys told me they were going to do it. I went and -- I was going to bid on it, at least I told them at least I would bid on it enough to get the price up.
But, you know, it's just one of those things. St. Jude, they do such good things, and I felt like, you know, I wasn't -- the money I was going to donate to them or that I spent on getting the painting was going to a very good cause. I was happy to do it. You know, worked out where I got it.
Q. So in view of your back, you're going to get someone else to hang it??
DUSTIN JOHNSON: No, it's not going to hang anywhere in the Houston (laughter). I don't know what's going to happen with it. Probably sit in the garage for awhile.
Q. What does it mean to you, Dustin, to have won a TOUR event each year you've been out here on Tour since college??
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Well, it means a lot. Obviously it means I'm playing good golf, too. You know, I come out every week and I try to just put myself in a position to have a chance to win on Sunday, and I did that this week.
I played well yesterday, and then obviously I played really well today. Shot my best score of the week today on Sunday. If you do that, usually you're going to play well. You're going to finish up at the top of the leaderboard.
Q. Because you had never been here before, now that it's over, what did you like best about the golf course??
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I just think it's just a good all-around golf course. There's a lot of good holes out here. You know, they're all -- if you don't drive it in the fairway, you can make an easy bogey on any of the holes just because, you know, getting in the rough out here it's really hard to control your golf ball.
But, you know, I like the shape of all the holes. It sets up good to my eye and I just -- you know, just something about the course that -- each hole is different, but, you know, I like the sight lines off the tees. I think I got -- I had a good game plan to play this course.
Q. Dustin, after being off for like 11 weeks coming back and having a Top 20 finish at Memorial, coming in this week, what were your expectations??
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I mean, I was confident coming in this week, especially after -- I didn't really know what to expect going into Memorial, my first week back in a long time.
Didn't know what to expect there. I played really well. Even on Saturday and Sunday I played well. I just didn't finish my rounds off well. I played the last three holes 3-over on Saturday and Sunday. So, that hurt a lot.
So, but it gave me confidence coming in this week because I was hitting some good shots, I was chipping and putting it pretty well. You know, I knew just out here I just needed to get the ball in the fairway and then -- because I was swinging my irons well. I was going to have a lot of looks at birdies.
Coming into this week, I was really just, you know, trying to put myself in position to have a chance to win on Sunday, which I did.
Q. Can you take us through 17. 17, what did you play on 17??
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I hit 3-wood off the tee. I hit it really well. It went just through the fairway in the rough down there. I think I had 128 hole and then the pin was on like -- 128 to the front and then the pin was on 27. So I had 155. I hit sand wedge off the rough. It was straight downwind. But, you know, came out perfect and hit it just past the hole about 10 feet.
Q. Going to 18, did you have an idea of where you stood at this point and the idea of just getting the ball into the fairway to try and keep it safe at that point??
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I didn't really know because I wasn't paying -- I didn't look. I knew I was probably tied for the lead, or, if not, you know, leading by 1.
So, I knew I needed to hit it in the fairway. I was trying to hit it in the fairway. And then on my second shot, it was a good sand wedge yardage, but I hit it a little bit hard because I didn't want to come up short.
But, you know, still trying to get a putt in there because I didn't know where I stood. I wanted to at least have a decent look at birdie.
Q. I want to get back to why you've never played here before. Had you heard anything about it from the other guys? Did you have any knowledge of the golf course whatsoever?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: No, not really. I mean, you know, the people I talked to said it was a good course. I knew coming into it that everyone liked the golf course and it was -- the greens are good, which, you know, any golf course, they have good greens, you're going to like the course. These greens roll very well. They're quick, but they're true.
You know, I really -- there's really no reason why I never played here other than just where it fell on the schedule. But I will be back.
Q. Did you watch Merrick's chip at the end??
DUSTIN JOHNSON: No, I wasn't watching. I was standing there with Feherty. He was giving me the play-by-play of what was going on.
Q. Dustin, just go back to your injury. You injured your back moving a jet ski??
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah.
Q. Your lower back??
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Lower right side.
Q. You just had to do some rehab??
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I went and got x-rays, MRI on it, and it was just pulled muscle. And so yeah, I just rest. That's all the doctor said was rest. I took some anti-inflammatories and, you know, just rested. No manual work.
Q. Dustin, no one has won on TOUR and then gone into the Open and won there. At this point coming off the injury you just had, you know, to get a win and now worry about going to the Open and trying to play well there??
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah. I mean, you know, I wasn't worried about the Open today. I was worried about winning the FedEx. Next is a whole different week. It has nothing to do with this week. I'm going to go out and get a game plan together to play that golf course and stick with it. Hopefully just give myself a chance to win on Sunday.
Q. One last thing on your back. When you were out, how long were you home? How long was it that you didn't even swing a club?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Probably six weeks.
DOUG MILNE: All right. Dustin, congratulations.
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Thank you.