PGA TOUR MEDIA CONFERENCE
August 16, 2012Eastern Indiana Sports
CHRIS REIMER: We welcome six?time PGA TOUR winner and The Barclays defending champion, Dustin Johnson. Dustin has six wins, the most by any player currently in his 20s, one victory in each of the last five seasons on TOUR with the last one coming at this year's FedEx St. Jude Classic after sitting out nearly three months with an injury.
Dustin, thanks for joining us.
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Thanks for having me.
CHRIS REIMER: Would you like to start with some opening comments about defending your title next week at The Barclays?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Well, you know, I'm always happy to defend any title. Barclays is a little bit different just because it's at a different venue. We are not playing the same course, but it's still The Barclays tournament and it's a Playoff event. So I'm always excited to defend any title.
CHRIS REIMER: You've had a good amount of success in the Playoffs with the format, and with the win at The Barclays obviously and the year before that the win at the BMW. Do you enjoy this stretch of golf? I know it's a lot of golf in a short amount of time, and you take the Bridgestone Invitational, and then the PGA Championship and then four Playoff events, but do you enjoy the challenge of being at the top of your game at a stretch like this in this part of the season?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, it is a long stretch from the British Open. I don't even?? like usually I would have a week off after the British, but I had to do something with my sponsors; so I stayed over there and went straight to the Bridgestone, PGA. Got a week off here which I usually take. I just went over to the Bahamas on the boat and went spearfishing and did a little regular fishing but mostly free diving. Had a lot of fun and relaxed and that was really nice. Got back last night.
Then, you know, today, time to get back to work.
CHRIS REIMER: I didn't get the invitation to go to the Bahamas with you, kind of hurts.
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Sorry about that. (Laughing).
Q. If I can get you to look ahead just a couple of weeks, wonder if you've heard much about Crooked Stick and how curious you might be; what do you think about coming to another good course there?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I don't mind playing new courses. Last year, the course was in Plainfield, New Jersey, that was the first time playing there. So I don't mind playing new courses. Especially obviously some of the guys have probably played Crooked Stick, but not very many have. So we are all playing a new course.
But I've heard a lot of good things about Crooked Stick so I'm kind of excited to play it. John Daly won the PGA there.
Q. It's going to play 7,550 and going to have generous fairways; I think you'll find it to your liking.
DUSTIN JOHNSON: That sounds good to me.
Q. You mentioned, we talked about the grind of playing all these weeks with just a couple of weeks off. The long break you had with your back injury, are you fresher mentally? Are your legs better? Are you hungrier than ever because of that?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I mean, yeah, but you know, I still?? I kind of get a little rhythm playing the same tournaments. You kind of get your own schedule going a little bit. You might go to a different tournament here or there, but not being able to play for a while kind of throws you off a little bit. But I'm definitely fresh and definitely ready to play.
It doesn't matter, though, if you go like the last stretch we've had. Doesn't matter if you haven't played at all or if you have played; if you've got four, five, six, weeks in a row, it's tough. Doesn't matter if you haven't played at all.
Q. Some of the players were not too excited about the FedExCup and it seems that tide has kind of turned. I just wonder your attitude about it, how do you like the Playoffs and where on your season list of priorities is the FedExCup?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: To me, I really?? I mean, I like the Playoffs. It's time of year where you've got to play good. You've got to play good. So I kind of like that. It's like all the other sports; you've got to play well if you want to keep moving up to get to the championship.
Q. Is winning the FedExCup a priority, a season goal for you?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, I always want to win the FedExCup. For one, it's a nice purse. You know, I don't know anyone that could argue that they couldn't use that money.
So, you know that's one thing that's really cool about it, and being the FedExCup Champion, that's something that only very few people have. And, you know, I'd like to be one.
CHRIS REIMER: It was a strange event last year with it being the hurricane and the event being shortened, but I still imagine that you took some great pride in hoisting the trophy; and it's not that much different than hoisting any of your other five trophies. Talk about your memories of last year and what you look back on that victory.
DUSTIN JOHNSON: We knew it was going to be a three?day event. Everybody knew before we teed off; we knew on Friday that it was going to be shortened. What it was like?? the first time I won a three?day event was Pebble, and you know, last day got completely cancelled. We didn't know, so that was a little different.
This one, halfway, I think when I made the turn, I think sometime on the back nine, I found out that it was going to be shortened to a 54?hole event. So it wasn't?? in that sense it was a little different because everyone knew what to do about it and everyone could kind of plan. You could plan for it. So we knew on Saturday that that was the last day.
Q. What specifically do you remember about the Black Course from the 2009 U.S. Open?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I remember it was wet (chuckling). I remember that. It was wet. It was long. And you know, the rough was pretty healthy. That's what I remember.
The course was really good, though, and I enjoyed playing the course. For some reason, the finish, I think 15, 16, 17, 18, I remember those holes were good holes, tough holes.
Q. What was it like, you've experienced Pebble, playing a course as a Major Championship course and as a regular TOUR event; does it feel different when you do that, or what makes a course primed to be host for both of those events?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: It's a great golf course. So Pebble is a great golf course, which I really enjoy playing Pebble.
You know, Bethpage, I like Bethpage, other than we just had terrible weather when we had the U.S. Open there. But, also, it's the same, we had pretty bad weather when we played there, too.
I like the golf course, so the fairways, you know, they are not too narrow, they are plenty wide enough. It's the kind of course that I enjoy playing.
Q. What are your thoughts about having seen what Rory did the last day at the PGA Championship, and what do you think of his progress and what that means for your business, for your industry?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I mean, I think it's great. I would like to see especially young guys playing well, winning majors. We need that. This year?? this year, we did pretty well. Webb won the U.S. Open; Bubba won the Masters. It was pretty cool. And then Rory winning the PGA.
I think it was a good year for the young guys so far, we still have a lot of events left, and I would like to see some of the young guys stepping up.
You know, I think?? you know, Rory is a good player. I played with him the first two days; also played with him the first two days at the U.S. Open he won last year, too.
CHRIS REIMER: You're his good luck charm.
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I know. I guess. I know.
CHRIS REIMER: I don't think you're going to be partnered with him at The Barclays. You've got at a chance.
DUSTIN JOHNSON: All right. Perfect. I won't be; they pair by FedEx (points).
CHRIS REIMER: That's right.
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Perfect. We're going to have to fix this streak we've got going here.
Q. This Pete Dye course, really his first championship course, any thoughts on playing Pete Dye courses; do you like them?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I do. I like them. I don't have any complaints.
Q. Anything in particular you like about them, or do they just suit you?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Usually I like to?? you know, most of the courses I've played designed by him, the hole shape, actually, so you have got good eye?? you know, the tee shots, they set up good to my eyes a lot of times.
You know, around the greens, it's tough which I don't mind. If you miss a green, you're going to have a tough up?and?down. But usually if you miss it in the right spot, you can get it up?and?down. You know, you're not?? if you short?side yourself, you're going to have a tough one. But you've got a chance. Most of the time, it might be a very hard shot, but I think he's pretty fair about giving you chances.
CHRIS REIMER: Dustin, we look forward to next week and watching you throughout the Playoffs. I know you've made it to THE TOUR Championship a few times in that coveted Top?5 and hopefully this year you can cash in and be that next FedExCup champion.
Thanks for joining us and we'll see everybody at Bethpage