Johnson Discusses Final Round at U.S. Open

Dustin Johnson had a three-shot lead after three rounds of the U.S. Open two weeks ago at Pebble Beach. Unfortunately, the lanky long-hitter saw that lead dissipate after only three holes on Championship Sunday in startlingly abrupt fashion. He ended up closing with an 11-over 82 and tied for eighth at 289, five shots behind winner Graeme McDowell.

But the South Carolinian says he's gotten over the disappointment of missing out on such a promising chance for his first major title. "It was gone when I left California," Johnson said of his quick recovery.

"It was a tough day, but golfers have tough days, and it's how quick you can get over them. . . . I thought I held it together pretty good. It was tough. I got off to a rough start."

Here's what else Johnson had to say Tuesday at the site of this week's tournament, the AT&T National at Aronomink Golf Club in Newtown Square, Pa.

MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Dustin Johnson to the interview room here at the AT&T National. Thanks for spending a few minutes with us. You got a chance to see the golf course. What were your impressions of it?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: The golf course is great. It's in fantastic shape. It's pretty tough. You've really got to drive it straight here. If you drive it straight, then you know you've got a lot of chances and you can get a lot of looks at birdies.

Q. Any particular holes stick out?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: I mean, they're all good. They're all a little bit different. The greens have got a lot of undulation in them so you've got to be careful where you hit the ball on the green.

Q. Just talk about last week and what you did last week and how much Sunday was on your mind. Did you get let it go pretty quick?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, last week was a good week. It was my birthday on Tuesday, had a good week, went out on the boat a lot, went to the beach a little bit. We played in the mornings a few times and then a quick nine in the afternoons. It's hot at home right now, so you don't want to be out there in the middle of the day.

Q. How long did it take you to get over Sunday at Pebble, or was it gone by the time you left the course?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, I mean, it was gone when I left California. It was a tough day, but golfers have tough days, and it's how quick you can get over them is the best part.

Q. Can you take us through the day as it progressed? What was the back like for you?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: You know, I thought I held it together pretty good. It was tough. I got off to a rough start, got a couple bad breaks early, and then turning into the back, though, I still felt like if I was 1-over going into like 9, 10, 11, I knew if I could get some good looks, maybe make a birdie on one of those holes, that I'd be right back in the golf tournament. I was talking to my caddie, and we thought even par or even 1-under would win it.

Q. Do you wish you had played last week?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: No, I mean, I set my schedule a while ago, so it was -- it was my birthday, so it was another reason why I didn't play. I wanted to celebrate that a little bit, hang out. But no, I was glad I didn't play.

Q. You of course won at Pebble twice and then you had your U.S. Open experience. After the Open experience do you feel like you like Pebble even more or less than you did before? How do you feel about Pebble as a golf course?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: I still love the golf course. Any time I can play a tournament there, I'll play it. You know, all you can do is put yourself in a situation to win a U.S. Open, and I still finished in the Top 10, so it's not like I had a terrible week or anything. I've got to take out the positives that I can from that week.

Q. If they hired you as a consultant what would you do to 14, leave it, make changes, what would you do?


Q. 14 at Pebble.

DUSTIN JOHNSON: You know, it's part of the golf course. I kind of like the hole. You know, it's a tough hole. You've just got to hit a really good golf shot there. It makes it kind of fun.

Q. As you look back on what happened early in the round, have you thought about maybe you might have done differently when you hit the left-handed shot? Would you have taken more time before the next, anything like that?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: I mean, you know, I hit a poor shot coming in there, so if anything, maybe I should have been a little more aggressive on 2, on my approach shot, and then I wouldn't have been in that situation. But you know, that's golf. The only thing I look back on is that hole, really. I think that hole kind of sets the tone for the tournament. If I hit a good shot in there and have a decent look at birdie, I think it's a totally different golf tournament.

Q. Did you learn anything from that Sunday, that if you find yourself in that position in another major soon that you would put to use?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, a lot of people that I've talked to -- I got a call from Greg Norman, I got a call from some of my friends, and all of them told me that they learned more from cases they'd lose or from times that they'd lose than they did from when they'd win. Golf is a learning process nonstop. You know, there's a lot of things I think I can take from that Sunday.

Q. You mentioned Greg Norman. How many people did contact you?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: I got a lot of phone calls from close friends and fellow golf people. You know, it was nice for them to call and give me their input and hear some of their advice.

Q. How much do you think that that day was just a bad day, and how much do you think was it's Sunday with the lead at the U.S. Open, the moment?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: I look at it as just a bad day. It was just a bad day for me.

Q. Was there any extra added pressure at all playing with Tiger, and also, can you learn from Tiger, pick up things maybe Tiger does well?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, I mean, he's the best player in the world, so any time you can play with him or like Phil -- I've played with Phil a lot. Any time you can watch them and how they kind of work a golf course or work a course around the greens, types of shots they hit, you know, that's -- you can learn a lot of stuff from them.

Q. Is there any extra pressure playing with Tiger?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: No, I mean, I like playing with Tiger or Phil or with big crowds. I think it's fun. It makes it a lot more fun.

Q. You seem like one who can put things behind him pretty quickly. Did you ever get sick of answering the phone after a couple days?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: No, I mean, most of my friends -- most of the people that called me are close friends, so they kind of know how I am. No, it didn't bother me. It was good. It was nice to hear them talking about stuff that's happened to them. It was nice.

Q. Did you have any relationship with Greg at all when he called, Norman?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: You know, I've only spent a little bit of time with him but I got to spend some time with him down at the Shark Shootout last year, and obviously he's been in my situation a few times. So it was nice just to hear -- to get a call from him.

Q. Non-Americans have been dominating like five weeks in a row. You almost broke that string, and Bubba finally did last week. Is that something you think about? Do you wonder if maybe the Americans are becoming the underdogs?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: No. I mean, I didn't even know that until you just told me. You know, there's a lot of good golfers in the world, and other people than Americans are going to win. It's kind of tough to put that -- to say that.

Q. Can you talk about how this tournament rates among other golf tournaments? Is this one of the more competitive fields this week?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, there's a good field this week. This tournament always gets a good field. It's a great golf course. It's very tough. I think it's going to play similar to a major. The rough is very high and the greens are firm and fast, so it's going to be a good test of golf this week.

Q. Sunday of the U.S. Open has always been different. Does a player feel different or did you have any different feeling at all when you started off that Sunday as opposed to the other three rounds?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: No, I felt good. I had a great warm-up on the range, and I even hit a couple good shots. On 1, I hit a really good drive on 2. I didn't feel any different. I still was very confident, and I still -- even after 2 and 3 and 4, I hit some good shots, really good shots. Even hit a good shot on 5, it just went a little far. But it was just one of those days where I was just a little bit off and it just got magnified. It's the Sunday of the U.S. Open, the golf course was firmer and faster, and it was tough.

Q. After a particularly bad hole, bouncing back, do you think that's something that might make a little while to get past?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: No, I generally recover very well. After a bad hole I come back and play the next few very well. My bounce-back is generally very good. It never really rattles me or bothers me if I have a bad hole.

The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.