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Sunday, June 20, 2010Dustin Johnson
Dustin Johnson

Player Bio

BETH MURRISON: We're honored to be joined by Dustin Johnson who shot a 5‑under, 66 today to be leading into the final round of the 2010 U.S. Open here at Pebble Beach. Dustin, some thoughts on your great round today.

DUSTIN JOHNSON: I'm feeling great. I really played good today. I drove it well, hit a lot of fairways and greens, and even when I missed the greens I left myself with a chance to get up‑and‑down. Only made two bogeys. Missed two short par putts. But other than that, I putted beautifully too, and as long as I keep doing what I'm doing, playing, know that I got a good game plan for this golf course and I really feel good out there.

BETH MURRISON: Quickly go through the birdies and bogeys object on your card for everyone.

DUSTIN JOHNSON: On 4, the first ‑‑ eagled 4 today. Hit a really good 3‑iron, I thought I hit it a little too far right, but it got a good bounce and rolled up there about 10 feet, and I made a 10‑footer for eagle on 4.

Then on 6 I hit it just over the green and chipped it up and made a birdie there.

Then 7 I hit a lob wedge to about six inches. So I tapped in for birdie there.

Then I bogeyed 9. Which I hit two good, two pretty good shots there, I thought. Just made a, missed a short putt. Which you're going to miss out here.

Then I birdied 11. I hit driver up the left side of the fairway and hit it to about 10 feet and made a good putt there.

Then I think I bogeyed 13 maybe. Yeah, I bogeyed 13. Hit a driveway left. Which is the first drive, the worst drive I've hit this week, probably. And it ended up all right. Hit it just in front of the green and just didn't get up‑and‑down. Hit a decent chip. Just hit it a little hard.

But then I birdied 17 and 18. Hit a really good shot on 17 to about 15 feet right of the hole and made a great putt. Broke about five or six feet, I think, from about 15 feet.

So and then hit two really good shots on 18. Hit a good tee ball, just got through the fairway in the right rough and hit a great shot from there to the left side of the green.

Q. What club on 17?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: I hit 7‑iron on 17.

Q. Graeme just said you get to go home and sleep on a three‑shot lead, and we'll see how you feel tomorrow. How do you think you'll feel tomorrow?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: I think I'm going to feel good.

(Laughter.)

I put myself in a great position for tomorrow. It's going to be very hard out there. And I got, I am going to have to stay patient and keep playing like I'm playing, and I'm going to be tough to beat. I got ‑‑ I'm really hitting ball well right now.

Q. Can you be as aggressive as you were today holding the lead in the final round?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: I have no reason to change my game plan. It's worked so far. I'm not going to change it now. So I'm going to stay aggressive and take what the golf course gives me.

Q. Everybody knew that you had won the last two Tour events here, but going into this tournament a lot of people said this course is going to play so differently that maybe we shouldn't put too much stock in that. How much are you taking from the two February wins here this week, and is the fact that the course is playing differently making any difference?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: It's not even close to the same golf course as it is in February. It's firm and fast and it's really playing difficult. You can't ‑‑ you really got to pick your spots where you're trying to land the balls and I'm doing that very well. I'm really controlling my distance well, and I'm hitting really quality shots.

Q. What does it take to close out a golf tournament?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: Tomorrow there's a lot of guys pretty close. I'm going to have to play very well. I'm going to have to putt it good, I'm going to have to hit it good. You can't fake it around this golf course. You just can't do it. You got to drive it straight. You've got to hit good shots into the greens and you got to leave yourself uphill putts.

Q. As a quick follow‑up, fewer than 50 percent of 54 holders win on a PGA TOUR event, going back to about 1975. Why do you think that is?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: I've got no idea.

(Laughter.)

Q. Talking about one person who is in the hunt, Tiger is five back. We always focus on him. He's the world's No. 1 golfer. What's it like to have him, not hovering over you, but not far behind?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: He's the best player in the world, so it's not a shock to see that he's right there and played really good today. I can't worry about Tiger tomorrow. All can I do is worry about myself. I can't control what he does. All I can do is I can control what I do.

Q. We have always heard about the golfers who play just behind him, they know what he's doing, can that be, and I know you don't want it to be, but is it possible that these things can be intimidating if he has a good round, does it affect golfers? You're human, only, I mean ‑‑

DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, we're all human, he's human too, so I mean ‑‑ I don't know, I haven't been in this situation, so I don't know. But I'm going to try my best not to let it affect me.

Q. How crucial are those last two birdies, obviously you don't make those and you're only one up on Graeme and three on Tiger. It's pretty different; and also a second part to the question, I'm curious how conscious you were of what Tiger was doing, what he birdied 16, 17, 1, the roars were pretty large?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: Oh, I mean I didn't know, I didn't know what he did. I knew, I saw ‑‑ I did see on one of the leaderboards where he shot 5‑under and at the finish. That's all I saw.

But I knew someone was going to go out there and play good today and get right back in the hunt. But I played very well today and I got a three shot lead going into tomorrow.

Q. What about the last two holes?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, any time you can birdie 17 and 18, that's just huge. I hit really good golf shots on 17 and 18, and I still got 18 more holes to play, hopefully I make 18 birdies, but I don't think it's going to be possible.

Q. You look pretty relaxed out there today, how did your nerves level compare to a regular PGA TOUR event and just playing a casual round with friends, which is what you look like?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: On the first tee today I was really nervous. But any time I step up on the first tee of a golf tournament, I mean doesn't matter if it's a Major a Regular Tour event, I get nervous.

But it's a good nervous. It's not bad. I think I handled myself very well today. Tried to stay very calm and very patient and just make sure I go through a good routine on every shot.

Q. This is the third time I think in the last 17 months that you've left here on a Saturday night with at least a share of the lead. Do you remember what you did those last two Saturday nights, and will you keep that same routine tonight? Obviously you didn't have to play one of those final rounds.

DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, I'm going to do the same thing I always do when I get done playing, I'm going to go eat and then I'm probably going to go watch some TV in my room.

Q. You talked about your game plan, you're going to remain aggressive tomorrow. Is there some point when you are ahead and you have to be more conservative out here?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: Not that I can think of. I've got a good game plan for this golf course. I'm going to stick to it, and I don't think I'm going to change it no matter what.

Q. If I can give you a hypothetical last year, Lucas Glover on the final hole had the lead, hit iron off the tee and wound up winning, is that something that you would consider?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: If I had a big lead, I would definitely consider it. But, I mean if it's coming down to the last hole, I'm not going to change anything I'm hitting driver on 18.

But if I have got a ‑‑ if I have a ‑‑ hypothetically, if I've got a five‑shot lead or something, I might hit an iron off the tee in the fairway and go from there.

Q. We have heard a million ways how this course is different now than it was earlier in the year and how it usually is. Why are you so special out here? What is it about this place that you own it?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: I don't know. Ever since the first time I came here I've really enjoyed playing this golf course. I have a lot of fun playing this golf course. I think that's what, why I like it so much. Any time can you have fun playing a place and you seem to play a lot better.

Q. So it's like a postcard to you, just to enjoy the round because everybody else would love to play here too?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, I mean it's kind of like that.

Q. Watching you play this week the question almost is, why haven't you won more often when your game goes off the rails, where does it look ugly or how does it, how does it look; and the second part is, when you warm‑up, how much of that is an indicator of how well you will play?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: I started the last, I don't know, the last two years I've been playing okay. But every now and again I'll play really bad. And so that's why I started working with Butch Harmon and to see if I could get that a lot more consistent. And it's in the last two months I've really, my game's gotten progressively better every week.

Hopefully I'm not going to go back to any of the bad things that I used to do, but when I do play bad, I usually drive it pretty poorly.

Q. What about the warm‑up?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: A warm‑up, it will tell you a lot, usually. But I don't put too much emphasis on my warm‑ups. I do now more than I used to, I think, because now I seem to be hitting the shots in my warm‑up that I'm hitting on the course. When maybe before I really didn't pay attention to my warm‑up even if I hit it terrible, I really didn't care. But now I'm starting to hit and see the shots that I'm wanting to hit.

Q. Two parts here, when you saw the tee up at 4, did you start drooling and did you, would you have been disappointed if you had only gotten a birdie there; and secondly, what does make ‑‑ when do you get flappable, because two years ago you won here with trees falling down and stuff and you just don't seem to be affected by any of this stuff.

DUSTIN JOHNSON: I just try to stay within myself. I can control what I do. I can't control what the weather does, I can't control what anybody else does. So as long as I stay focused and worry about what I'm doing and not what anyone else is doing, then I seem to do pretty well.

Q. What about number 4?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: 4, you know, I mean today it's downwind and it was only 288 front, so we were ‑‑ I was talking to my caddie, and we knew if I hit a really good 3‑iron that I could get there. No problem. And I hit it good. I pushed it just a little bit, but it got a good bounce and rolled a little left and rolled up there perfect.

Q. Were you freezing out there? You were the only guy not wearing a sweater or sweatshirt until the last hole?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: I wasn't cold until I got ‑‑ it got cold a little bit on the ocean holes, when you're down by the water it gets a little chilly. And then when the sun goes behind the clouds, but as long as the sun was out I was fine.

Q. The 12th hole you took a mighty flop shot. It looked like, to us, it lacked like a dangerous shot. To you was it just a piece of cake, no brainer that the little chip on 12 there?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: I really didn't have another option. I had a big hump right in front of me, so I hit about as close as I could hit it, I think, to the hole and I landed it perfect. But there was really no other way to hit that shot, I didn't think.

Q. What were the first things that Butch said to you when you first started working with him? I know that he's more famous for not really tinkering a lot with swing mechanics unless he really has to. So do you remember what those first conversations were?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, the first thing he said to me was I'm not going to change your position at the two. I'll get the club face closed at the top, but that's how I play golf and he said he's not going to change that.

Q. Seems pretty clear in recent years at Pebble Beach that length isn't a prerequisite to win out here. But obviously length is a big advantage for you. Can you give any examples where it's a huge asset? Seems like on 18 maybe hitting it over the agree trees are, there any other holes where you think your length off the tee gives you a big advantage over the field?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: Starting on the front 2. I hit sand wedge into 2 today. So especially when I'm driving it straight. I hit sand wedge into 2.

3, I got it down there pretty close to the green.

Can't really do much on ‑‑ I couldn't hit driver on 6, but I don't. Like today I hit 3‑iron, 3‑iron, over the green, so...

9 I've been hitting 3‑wood off the tee on 9. Just because driver, I feel like if I hit a really good 1 down the right side, it might go down through the fairway and in the water.

But like 10's a big advantage. Today I hit driver and I hit sand wedge in. And I can ‑‑ you know a lot of guys I see if you're hitting a 7‑ or 8‑iron, even if I'm hitting 7‑ or 8‑iron, you can't stop it. It's downwind and the green's firm. So I was able to be more aggressive there on 10 with a sand wedge.

Q. What did you hit on 18 after driver and ‑‑

DUSTIN JOHNSON: 6‑iron.

Q. How many drivers did you hit today?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: Driver on ‑‑ I hit driver on 18, 14, 13, 11, 10, I hit probably like six, maybe. Maybe not even that many. Five or six.

Q. Tiger talked a little bit about your practice round that he had you with you on Monday, and he called it stupid long. And what was your exchange like out on the fairways with him and did he give you a hard time about hitting the ball so far?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: No. It was good. We had a good time. We played Monday morning, and it was a great round. Any time you can play with Tiger it's good. And to learn some things from him to, watch him play, you know, it's pretty good.

Tiger, he says I'm long, but he's not too much behind me, so he always talks that he doesn't hit it very far, but I played with him a couple times and he can move it.

Q. Is Pebble Beach your favorite golf course, and if not, would it elevate to that status you can close the deal tomorrow?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: Pebble Beach is definitely we'll talk more tomorrow. But, yeah, it is my favorite. It is my favorite golf course.

Q. Is there anybody out there longer than you, and do you notice and kind of have maybe friendly rivalries with guys about distance?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: No, I want to hit it in the fairway, so I'm not ‑‑ yeah, I hit it far, but I hit it far sometimes, not all the time. And I like the ball in the fairway though. I don't care how far it goes. But Quiros would be probably one of the only guy that is hits it by me.

Q. Just following up on that, one of your signature shots of the day was the 99 yard tee shot on 7 which had nothing to do with distance, so do you think maybe we give short shift to your soft touch and tell us about that shot.

DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, I mean, a lot of times people talk about how far I hit it, but I think I got a great short game, and I putt it very well too.

So it might get overlooked a little bit, but that's okay with me.

Q. You mentioned playing with Tiger Woods earlier this week in a practice round. I know you played the next day with Phil. How did that come about? Were you trying to glean information about playing in a U.S. Open from those guys?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: Not really. Me and Tiger we have talked a lot and we always we have tried to schedule a few practice rounds just some things just didn't work out. So we played at Saturday at Memorial and he was like, you know, he just asked me if I wanted to play Monday morning.

And so that's how that came about. And then me and Phil play a lot on Tuesday, so we try to get a little match every Tuesday that he's playing and I'm playing.

Q. Did you learn anything about playing a U.S. Open from those guys this week?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, any time you can watch them play, especially round the greens like where they're trying to miss it, if they do miss it or what chip shots and what putts they're hitting to the flags and where they think the flag locations are going to be.

BETH MURRISON: Dustin, thanks very much for visiting us today. Congratulations on today, and we look forward to tomorrow.

DUSTIN JOHNSON: All right. Thank you.

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