“I think being a past champion helps because I know that I have had success here and am capable of playing well and winning.”
(Editor’s note: This recent interview with Zach Johnson was provided courtesy of RSM McGladrey. Special thanks to Jake Rosen at Sports Media Challenge for sharing it with ARMCHAIR GOLF.)
1. With The Masters approaching, how is your preparation for a major different than a weekly tour stop?
ZACH JOHNSON: Playing in majors takes a lot more out of you. There is the added pressure and hype, and overall the week can be a grind. I try to make sure that I don’t overdo it the week of the tournament so that I am fresh come Thursday when the tournament begins. Because of this, I have found that it is best if I take off the preceding week and focus on practicing and getting some hard work done. With the Masters, this week I am home at Sea Island really concentrating on my wedges and putting which both need to be sharp to play well at Augusta National.
2. Many people would consider Amen Corner one of the most, if not the most difficult, three holes of Augusta National. Would you agree with that, or is there another part of the course you feel is most difficult?
ZACH JOHNSON: Well, over the years with the changes to the golf course, I consider the entire 18 holes to be pretty tough. No doubt, Amen Corner is a hard stretch of holes, with 11 in particular being extremely difficult. Number four from the back tees is quite challenging as well.
3. As a past champion of The Masters, does that put more pressure on you, or being that it is a major makes it pressure-packed regardless?
ZACH JOHNSON: No, I don’t think so. If anything, I think being a past champion helps because I know that I have had success here and am capable of playing well and winning. Having those great experiences to fall back on helps with my mental preparation. To me pressure is a privilege, and typically if you are feeling pressure you are doing good things and in the hunt.
4. Outside of winning The Masters, do you have another favorite Masters moment?
ZACH JOHNSON: I’ve have had so many great Masters’ moments in my short career that I feel truly blessed. If I had to pick one, I guess it would be the first year I had my Dad caddie for me in the Par Three Tournament. That was a lot of fun and really special.
5. How do you think Augusta National sets up for your game?
ZACH JOHNSON: I think Augusta National sets up well for my game, especially if it is playing firm and fast. If I drive it well and am sharp with my wedges and putting, I feel like I have a good chance to compete and do well. I love the golf course and really enjoy the challenge it brings.
−The Armchair Golfer
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