Following his win in the championship match at the WGC-Dell Technolgies, Dustin Johnson sat down for the obligatory/mandatory press conference with the golf and sports media.
Dustin Johnson comments following his victory at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. https://t.co/yRwCvzUvMH
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 26, 2017
Candace Reinheimer of the PGA Tour moderated the (approximately) 20 minute presser.
Here’s the full transcript via ASAP Sports – along with photos from Getty Images.
REINHEIMER (MODERATOR): We have the 2017 World Golf Championships Dell Technologies Match Play champion in the room, Dustin Johnson. You’ve now completed the Grand Slam of World Golf Championships, a feat that no one has accomplished before. Congratulations. Your thoughts on that.
JOHNSON: Pretty good (laughter).
I think obviously there’s a lot of great players and I’m the first one to do it. I feel like there will be some more to do it. But I’m very, very pleased with it. I’m very pleased with my play this week. And it was a long week.
A lot longer match this afternoon than I would have liked it to have been. But Jon was a great competitor and it was a great match.
On His Nerves
QUESTION: How was your pulse today?
JOHNSON: It was pretty good. It got a little faster than I would have liked starting on about 16, but I was able to hang in there.
On His Win Streak
QUESTION: Obviously you’re on a bit of a tear, 6 in 16 I think it is now. Are you comfortable that you can keep this roll going? I know it’s very difficult to do that. You’ve obviously got some big events coming up. How will you keep that going in the direction you want it to?
JOHNSON: Well, it’s impossible to win every week. I know that. Obviously I’ve won my last three. But I’m just going to have to keep working hard. Keep working on the things that I’m working on right now. And just keep trying to get better.
Like I was saying before, being No. 1, it kind of drives me to work harder and to get better. There’s still a lot of room for improvement in my game. So I’m just going to keep working on it.
On His Game
QUESTION: What do you need to work on specifically?
JOHNSON: Everything. I think I can get better with all aspects of the game. Wedges can definitely get better. Definitely the mid-irons. My wedges are good, I’ve got a lot of confidence in them, but I think I definitely could be more spot on with them. And then the mid-irons, for sure. But everything else — I feel like I’m driving it really well right now, so I need to keep doing that. I think that’s a big part of my game. If I hit the driver well then I usually am going to play pretty good.
On The First 8 Holes
QUESTION: Take us through those first eight holes. Obviously Jon made some mistakes that really helped you there, right?
JOHNSON: Yeah, I thought it was pretty difficult. The wind picked up this afternoon. It was really blowing. It wasn’t playing as easy as it has been.
He hit not really any bad shots, just got a — he made a bogey on — I don’t know, I think he bogeyed — he missed a couple of putts. And then I made some birdies. And so, yeah, got up pretty quick early. But I kind of gave him a couple on 9 and 10. But this golf course I felt like I was playing tough.
And he made some birdies on the back nine where he got back into it. I hit some good shots, good putts, just wasn’t going into the hole.
On His Sunday Putting
QUESTION: Along the same lines, in the five days it seemed like your putting was better the first four, and maybe you struggled a little bit today, if that’s fair to say. Do you take a little bit out of the fact that you’ve still got the victories despite having all aspects of your game like you probably had the first four days?
JOHNSON: Yeah, I definitely didn’t play my best today in the first match or the second. So to win both those matches not having my best stuff is definitely a positive. And I’m definitely proud of the way I hung in there and played tough and just tried to never give away holes, which I felt like I did a pretty good job of that.
On Making It Look Easy
QUESTION: Maybe not today, based on what you just said there, but one of the comments about your game is you often make it look easy. Does golf ever feel easy to you?
JOHNSON: I mean, some days it does. But about 95 percent of the days it does not. But some days, yeah, it’s easier. I feel like when you’re rolling in putts, that’s when the game gets pretty easy.
On His Confidence
QUESTION: A lot of guys are looking at Augusta, just trying to play well and pick up a victory. You’ve won three in a row and firmly entrenched as the game’s No. 1 player.
JOHNSON: I’ve got a lot of confidence now. Confidence in my game and confidence in myself. And I just need to keep working on it, keep trying to get better and keep working hard.
QUESTION: Any thoughts of you not playing Houston?
JOHNSON: I don’t know. Ask me that in the morning when I wake up. But as of right now I’m playing and I’m planning on going there. But I’ll probably — I’ll get there Tuesday night, I would imagine, if I’m going to go. But, yeah, as of right now I’m planning on being there.
On His 3 Wins
QUESTION: You had the back-to-back-to-back, is there one of the victories that makes you the proudest?
JOHNSON: They’re all three really good ones. LA I had never won. I felt like I played really well there. Same with Mexico, that was the first time going there. And then obviously this is my first time winning the match play. I’m pretty proud of all of them. I wouldn’t want to give any of them back. And I couldn’t say I’m more proud of one than the other.
On This Tournament
QUESTION: How do you feel about this tournament on the schedule, possible seven rounds, only match play tournament? How do you view it now?
JOHNSON: I love it. I enjoyed it. Especially when you win it’s a lot nicer.
On In-Game Strategy
QUESTION: Couple of things, you keep talking about not giving holes away. I’m curious at any point in some of the leads you had, you go from trying to win holes to not giving them away? Because in the morning did you ever find yourself just playing not to lose?
JOHNSON: No, I felt like I was still attacking the golf course. You’ve got to make putts. And I felt like, especially this afternoon it was really difficult, the wind was blowing, the greens got fast. So it was really tough to make the putts.
On the back nine there — well, I three-putted 10. That was just bad. I don’t know what happened there. After that I birdied 12 to go back to, I think, 4-up. He had a great drive on 13. I mean, to keep it on the green there with the driver, that’s pretty sporty. So can’t really get mad at that. I thought I hit a better shot than I did into that hole. I hit a good putt there and just barely missed on the left edge. So that was — I lose there.
And then he birdied again on 15. And another one, I had an eight-footer for birdie. I hit a good putt, the wind grabbed it right at the end and missed just on the left side of the hole.
So I don’t feel like I played any — I never was playing to not lose. I was trying to win every hole out there. But saying not giving any holes away, like 10, I gave the hole away. I three-putted from 20 feet, and that’s giving it away. Where if you hit a shot in the water, or something, where you just give it away. I just felt like I didn’t do any of that this week.
On Elevating Game
QUESTION: And secondly, when you kind of really devoted yourself to this and especially wedges and some of the working out and wanted to get to this level, to win six times since last June, did you think this kind of results were possible or is this what you were thinking of when you were trying to channel yourself in that direction?
JOHNSON: Yeah, I mean, I believe in my ability. And I know what it takes to win out here. I definitely have what it takes to win out here. I still feel like I’m not playing my best golf. But I’m playing really well, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t feel like I’m playing my best. But I’m not surprised with the number of wins I’ve had in the last, whatever, ten months or however long it’s been.
On Best Tournament
QUESTION: What’s the best tournament you’ve (no microphone)?
JOHNSON: For 63 holes in LA, it was pretty good.
On Austin Country Club
QUESTION: After two years here, what are your thoughts on Austin Country Club and is this a course suited for match play in your mind as opposed to stroke play?
JOHNSON: I think it’s a great — I think it’s a great match play course. It’s a lot of fun. You make a lot of birdies. I like the golf course a lot. I feel like it sets up well for me. And it sets up well for match play. It’s a fun golf course to play.
On Being a Tough Out
QUESTION: You said that you can obviously play better and you’re doing this with not playing your best. I’m curious, if you are playing your best, are you unbeatable, like Tanihara suggested yesterday? Do you feel you’re unbeatable when you’re at your best?
JOHNSON: If I’m playing my best, yeah, I’ll play against anybody anytime.
On Jon Rahm
QUESTION: The young guy went five down and he kept fighting. What impresses you about Jon Rahm?
JOHNSON: I knew even being 5-up, that’s why I never let up. He’s a great player. He makes a lot of birdies. He’s played very well this year. So I knew it was going to be a tough match.
He showed it there on the back nine. He made a lot of birdies there, birdieing 13, 15, 16. But he’s a great player. He’s going to be a good player for a long time.
On His Stamina
QUESTION: How big of a grind is this tournament, seven rounds in five days, and especially when you have to end your last round, it goes the full length of 18? How exhausted does something like this make you?
JOHNSON: I’m pretty tired, but I tell you, I would have been a lot more tired if I had lost this afternoon (laughter).
But both my matches today went to 18, so it’s been a long day. But that’s match play. You just never know. But, yeah, it’s definitely a grind this week. It’s a long week. But it’s a lot of fun.
On Being ‘Away’ After a 423-Yard Poke
QUESTION: On 11, have you ever hit a tee shot 423 yards and been second to hit — or 12, I’m sorry, or did you catch it off the heel?
JOHNSON: It was a little spiny. It was fine. It was in the fairway, that was all I cared about.
On Stroke vs Match Play
QUESTION: Going off the question earlier, of the three wins that you’ve had, has there been one that’s been more difficult than the others? For instance, a stroke play win more difficult than match play or vice versa?
JOHNSON: It doesn’t matter, they’re all difficult. It’s very hard to win out here. Every win is difficult. Obviously, I think LA I had such a big lead it was probably the easiest one. But Mexico was very tough, coming down the stretch there, I had to hit a great shot on 18. Made a good 4 to win by one.
And this week is very hard to win. It’s a lot of golf playing against a lot of great players. And you’ve got to beat them all. And it was definitely a very tough week.
On His News Boots
QUESTION: I wonder if you’ll wear those boots anywhere?
JOHNSON: I’ve got boots. I probably won’t ever wear these, not that they’re not nice, but they’ll probably just sit in the office or something.
On Going Into Major as Top Dog
QUESTION: Since winning The Open, have you ever gone into a major like you will this one being such a target? How does that feel?
JOHNSON: No, I don’t think I’ve ever gone into a major being ranked No. 1. Actually, I know I haven’t (laughter).
It’s not going to be any different for me. I’m still going to prepare like I always do and go out and try to play the best I can.
On Dealing With Expectations As No 1
QUESTION: You’ve had a month of dealing with being No. 1. Does it feel any different?
JOHNSON: No. I mean, it’s still just a ranking. I don’t feel any different. I still go in every week preparing the same that I always have.
On Being Favorite at Augusta
QUESTION: How do you like going into Augusta as the favorite?
JOHNSON: How do I like it? I don’t care.
On Being Excited About Augusta
QUESTION: Can you just talk about how excited you are for the Masters given what’s transpired the last few months?
JOHNSON: Yeah, I mean, Masters is always a tournament that I look forward to every year. I really like that golf course. I really like going to Augusta. It’s one of my favorite tournaments to play every year. I’ve actually played good there the last two years. I’m excited to go back when the game is in good form. I feel like everything is working pretty well.
On Best Bounce of the Week
QUESTION: Everyone always says you need to get one good break. Over the course of five rounds this week, did you get one break that kind of stands out in your mind, a good bounce, maybe?
JOHNSON: Yeah, I hit the TV truck today on No. 6. It was in the left side of the fairway. That was a great parking job. One-hopped into it, stopped my ball from going about another 40 yards. That was a good bounce.
I can’t remember, not this week any real good bounces or good break that I got. I really never hit it in trouble. I think I hit it left on 2 once and left on 3 once. But other than that, I kept it pretty much in the fairway all week. 11, that was just bad shots. You can’t get a good break there when it lands in the water.
Sources/Credits: PGA Tour, ASAP Sports, Getty Images