DAVE SENKO: We would like to welcome Patrick Rodgers and Zach Johnson. Guys, thanks for joining us. Maybe just get us started, Zach. This will be your fourth partner you've played with here at the Franklin Templeton Shootout, how this grouping came together.
ZACH JOHNSON: Well, it was a situation where I got the invite from Taylor and then obviously from Greg, and it's one of those situations for me personally where my wife and I with three kids, we like to kind of take a lot of December off and just be with the kids and Christmas magic and all that kind of thing, magic elves, the whole spiel. But I also didn't play a whole lot in the fall and I wanted to stay fresh. Going into January, which is a priority, I'm like, you know what, I should come down here. I love Greg and Taylor and everybody at certainly Franklin Templeton and what they do here at this tournament and this area.
Patrick and I were just talking at lunch, it's just a really cool chill environment but yet there's still competition. For me, it's not hard to be here. We happen to have the same manager and Brad's like, Would you like to play with Patrick? I said absolutely. So I'm assuming I may not have to hit many shots out there today. It's great, I'll just kind of relax, talk to the fans a little bit, Tweet, whatever.
DAVE SENKO: Patrick?
PATRICK RODGERS: No, obviously this is really a great experience for me. Being able to play with Zach, a guy who I've looked up to for a long time, who I've watched play golf growing up and seeing him win a lot of golf tournaments, it's really cool. And ever since I turned pro and was thinking about turning pro, he's been a great mentor for me and I'm excited to take advantage of his great putting, his great wedge play and straight shots and hopefully get him into a few spots he's never seen before on the golf course.
ZACH JOHNSON: Basically, what he's saying is I'm old.
DAVE SENKO: Before we get any questions, Zach, maybe reflect back on your year, the Presidents Cup, the win at the Open Championship.
ZACH JOHNSON: Well, if I do look back, I don't really like to but naturally that comes up, it's been great. Coincidentally, I've been with my team the last couple weeks on the phone and done some team meetings and that's really where we have reflected. We've looked at our goals, what we've established and accomplished and tried to accomplish and essentially attained most of them, but there's still some things out there.
But specifically speaking, the Presidents Cup was terrific. Anytime we can bring the cup home to the States or retain the cup, however you want to put it, that's the goal. It's so much fun. I mean, Patrick and I, we're two guys from the midwest that grew up playing team sports, and if I played a team sport all the time I would certainly relish the opportunity to play golf. But I play golf for a living and I now just thoroughly enjoy team sports. That's the beauty of this event, too. It's just a little bit different and that dynamic.
So the Presidents Cup was awesome. I was paired with Phil most of that week if not the entire week. Yeah, the entire week. What am I thinking? We're good friends so the relationship was natural. A lot of people were like, man, why are they together, but to us, we've been talking about it for years. Really just fun and highly competitive, everything we want in a tournament.
The rest of the year was terrific. I know The Open's certainly going to be the highlight. It's my highlight, I'm not going to deny that. But if there's one thing that I'm going to look back on that I'm going to try to maintain or just keep in my pocket is the consistency. I felt like I was in a position specifically on the weekend to win a lot of golf tournaments and even more so on Sunday. So the consistency there is what I'm going to try to even better, polished up more. I don't know how we're going to do that but we're going to figure it out. But '15 was good. I just hope that continues into '16.
DAVE SENKO: Patrick, how about your year? You had to be pleased with how things turned out.
PATRICK RODGERS: Yeah, it's been nice. I think I'm kind one of the few in the new wave of the new system of getting out to the PGA TOUR and having to go through it a little different way than most guys older than me have. It was a process to get out here.
Starting last June and playing on sponsor exemptions and playing in the Web.com Tour Finals and starting the year on the Web.com Tour and getting an early win was really, really nice and freed me up to take advantage of some opportunities that maybe I otherwise couldn't have on the PGA TOUR. Taking those opportunities finishing second there in Charlotte and having a couple other good finishes and earning my card on both tours is something I'm really proud of and kind of a weird situation for the Playoffs on both tours, but very excited this fall that I was a full member of the PGA TOUR and was able to play events just like everybody else. I'm really excited to continue to improve and solidify myself on that Tour.
DAVE SENKO: How about a comment from each of you on Iowa playing Stanford in the Rose Bowl?
ZACH JOHNSON: Go Hawks. I'm sure he's going to say go Cards.
PATRICK RODGERS: I brought my hat just in case anyone needs to know where I went to school. I was very happy to see that matchup, not so much because I think Stanford's going to win so much, but I think playing with Zach, it's going to be fun to go back and forth this week and for the rest of the year. I think it will actually be a really great ballgame.
Q. Do you have a wager?
ZACH JOHNSON: We don't have one yet.
PATRICK RODGERS: We'll have a really good one.
ZACH JOHNSON: I might have a hundredish with another Stanford graduate that's on Tour that hosted an event last week. Just saying.
Q. What do you like most about the format? It's three different, Thursday, Friday and Saturday you guys are doing something different. How unique and how cool is it to do something different each day, have different strategies, things like that, instead of just going out there and playing 18 holes?
ZACH JOHNSON: You're saying it right there, all the dynamics. I'm not suggesting that our job is boring because it's not, but there is a lot of monotonous golf when we play stroke play every week and it's just us. So when we get the opportunity to pair up with a buddy and compete at the same time but then also change the format obviously by the day, it's just that much more special and that much better. And they're all different. There's a different strategy involved day to day. We haven't really discussed that. I'm not so sure there needs to be a whole lot of discussion. However, there's got to be some sort of communication and strategy involved and I just think it's awesome. It's kind of like if we played links golf every day, we would love coming over to the States and vice versa. It's just different. Or stroke play, medal play, whatever it is. It's just fun having a competition that is different than our socalled mundane weeks 40 tournaments a year.
Q. Zach, how does Patrick compare to some of the other partners you've had in this event?
ZACH JOHNSON: It's funny you say that; we were just talking about that, too. I had to go back and think about all three of my guys that I played with. I played with two of my best friends in the world, Stewart Cink and Scott Verplank. Scotty V was kind of that mentoring type for me. He's that 50 year old guy, but a lot of similarities in our game. That's probably why I kind of clung to him. It's kind of like Scotty V and Jim Furyk are the two guys that I certainly look up to and admire. And then Stewey Cink's actually one of my best buddies in the world. Then I had one of the best, we both played terrible but one of the best opportunities I've had as a pro was to play with Nick Price. I mean, a guy that once again everybody should look up to both on and off the golf course. So I had three phenomenal partners. I had no idea what my best or worst finish was here but that's also the beauty of this tournament. They were three great weeks that I could hang out and learn a little bit. And at that point, I don't know when my first year was, but I probably had a little bit of International Cup team play experience, but I can tell you just having that partner beside you like this, regardless of the format, regardless of where it is, is advantageous if you really want to play in those Presidents Cups and Ryder Cups.
Q. So a little different role this time for you with somebody who's really
ZACH JOHNSON: I mean, technically I could probably be his dad, so yeah, I guess so. There's no question. But given all that, Patrick kind of alluded to it, we're good friends, nothing more than that. We're going to have fun doing it. I don't have any expectations except for I know his ball's going to go a lot further than mine. That's about the only thing I can expect and that's fine and I think we'll be a good tandem. We'll just free each other up and have fun. I mean, clearly we're the favorites. Just kidding, I'm teasing.
Q. You touched on an interesting point there because Kenny Perry, who's been very successful here, said you've got to be really good friends with the guy you're with because of the communication aspect and knowing that you can kind of rely on each other in certain spots. Is that something you found in team play that has been key?
ZACH JOHNSON: I'm not so sure you're asking the right guy. I pretty much get along with anybody, and I can. There's very few individuals that come to my mind that I wouldn't savor, relish the opportunity to play with. I've obviously got some really really close friends that I would enjoy. You can look at it both ways. If I've got one of my best friends beside me, man, I don't want to let him down so the pressure kind of adds. But then I've also got one of my great friends who gets it. I mean if I hit a bad shot, we hit a bad shot. So it depends on how you Kenny wants a good friend. I want a friend but it doesn't need to be my best buddy. I can play with anybody. The common goal is to compete and have fun and win.
Q. Zach, and you could maybe address this, too, Patrick, but you mentioned your scheduling and your desire to be at home late, late in the year. What's your schedules looking like next year? Are you going to play a lot early, Masters prep leadup important? And Patrick, is this a tricky thing for a young guy to kind of figure out and how do you go about it? That's sort of an openended question, but what's your schedule, Zach?
PATRICK RODGERS: Yeah, for me this is kind of my first goround with being able to pick my schedule. It's been a cool process. Kind of before I've been extremely fortunate but I've been kind of at the mercy of tournaments of where I get a spot and when I get a chance to play. So when I get a chance to play, I have to take it and I've got to go do my best to play well.
I know from playing amateur golf and college golf that I play my best golf when I have my sets of tournaments broken up a little better, have a lot more time off, more time to prepare. So I'm not exactly a hundred percent sure what those tournaments will be. I just know I will have a lot more breaks and I'll play a lot less, three and four and five weeks in a row, than I have been to start my career.
ZACH JOHNSON: I have not told him that, but I'll tell you what, if I were to come up to a young kid, that is exactly what I would say. If you look at a schedule, and especially I'm grasping now, I think most of my peers now that are my age, my off weeks are just as strategic if not even more strategic than my on weeks. It's really knowing how much time I need to have off to prepare and to be fresh to play at a high level. I just don't go play to play. I'm not going to be going through the motions. I'm going to enter every tournament because I feel like I can do some good work there.
Coincidentally, I had a team meeting yesterday on the phone with my guys and we kind of started to pick apart the schedule and really looked at a number of different angles as to why we play here and why we wouldn't play there.
So to answer your question specifically, I'm going to play the first two in Hawaii, those are nobrainers for me. Well, especially if I can get in the first one, that's a no brainer at the Hyundai. Then I'll play the Sony, and then after that I'm looking at a couple weeks off and I might play Phoenix. That's kind of on there. And then once the Florida swing hits, I'll get at it again pretty hardcore. But I'm not going to play more than two weeks on in the spring. I think I've got one threeweek stretch that I can think of maybe. I don't like to play more than three; ideally it's two. There's a lot of strategy. There's what courses fit you, what greens fit you. I could really get into it more than that but I would rather not because it's pretty deep stuff.
Patrick said it. He's coming on his first full year where he gets to pick his schedule. I mean, I know his team and I know they'll kind of plot it around, they'll kind of learn a little bit. But in your off weeks and knowing how important those are is just crucial.
PATRICK RODGERS: Especially to add to that, for me going through it the first time, it's hard to decide to take a tournament off because for me they all look so enticing. They're an event on the PGA TOUR, they're usually in a great destination on a phenomenal golf course. They're tournaments that I've watched on TV growing up my entire life. It's hard to make yourself take weeks off, but I think it's going to be very helpful for me especially over the course of the year.
Q. You guys talked about breaking up the monotony and doing something a little different. Obviously you guys follow football. Tim Tebow out here, Chris Berman. What was that like and did you guys get a chance to talk to either of them?
PATRICK RODGERS: I haven't got a chance to talk to either of those guys but I'm a huge football fan. I watch Chris Berman on ESPN and every football broadcast and obviously grew up watching Tim Tebow. It's pretty cool. I'm a pretty passionate football fan with the Indianapolis Colts and my Stanford Cardinals. So I see a lot of them on TV and it's pretty cool to have more than just golfers hanging around this event.
ZACH JOHNSON: It's very cool for both of them to take the time out of their schedules. I don't know at all what Tim's doing. I know he's doing some stuff with ESPN and whatnot, but Chris Berman's in the meat of his schedule right now. He seems to play in two or three, three or four proams every year with us. I've gotten to know him pretty well. I have yet to play with him but we've had many functions together and he loves the game of golf. Obviously he's done some commentating in golf, too, throughout the years. He's a professional in all senses of it, especially in the athletic world.
And Tim, he's a guy that I know he's a lot younger than me but I kind of look up to the guy. There's so many reasons to look up to him, especially off the field, if you will, and how he goes about his business. I actually had the pleasure of playing with him two or three years ago in Memphis I think it was. Everybody talks about how quality a guy he is. That's probably an understatement.
Q. He told us golf is a constant challenge, it never gets old.
ZACH JOHNSON: Yeah, he's terrible. I'm kidding. He's a football player. The football players that I know that can play this game and have that feel and kind of rhythm to it are usually like placekickers or punters. He hits it really hard but he doesn't I'm assuming he's not on the golf course many days of the year.
DAVE SENKO: Any more questions? Thanks, guys.
ZACH JOHNSON: Cheers. Go Hawks.
PATRICK RODGERS: Go Cards.