What was tougher to get
over, the U.S. Open final
round or the bunker penalty
at the PGA Championship?
Neither. I mean, the PGA was just an unfortunate situation. But it wasn't hard to get over, because there are a lot of good things that I can take out of that week. I played really well coming down the stretch, making birdies when I needed to. So there's nothing bad that I can take from that week.
Is there now any doubt in
your mind that you're going
to win a major one day?
Yeah, I mean, if I keep playing like I'm playing, there's no doubt that I think that I'm going to be contending in a lot of majors. I think and I believe in myself that I can get it done.
Before you joined the Tour, what was
the worst thing that ever happened
to you in a golf tournament?
The worst thing that sticks out most in my mind was a South Carolina junior tournament. I think I had a two-shot lead. I was pretty young 13 or 14 and I was playing against Kevin Kisner. I was in the middle of fairway and it was a par 5, the last hole. My third shot. He had blown it right up underneath a tree and he skulled it. And there's a big mound in front. It went over the mound. You could hear it hit the flag and went in the hole. It was a crazy situation. Probably never happen again in a million years. And I hit a decent shot. I just missed it, kind of spun, went off the green and I chipped it up and missed the putt. He beat me by one.
As a 17-year-old, you were forced to buy
bullets that were used in a gang murder.
How did you get mixed up in that?
I got pulled into a bad situation. I was a young kid. I had no idea what was going on. Stuff like that happened and made me realize I've got to be real careful about the decisions I make. Like I can't just hang around with hooligans.
How close were you to going down the
I don't think I ever was. I never, ever thought I was a bad guy. I just got into a situation where I felt very intimidated, and made a couple of bad decisions. I'm a pretty smart guy. I know the difference between right and wrong. I wish it had never come to something like that, but I just got pulled in.
Did you feel your life was out
No. Never. I always knew I wanted to play golf and go to college. I try hard to be a positive role model, especially on the golf course. I try to carry myself well, and don't do anything outrageous. I try to play the game like a gentleman and give everyone respect. That's how the game should be played.
Who were your heroes?
I was a big fan of John Daly. And Freddie, Tiger and Phil. Freddie's swing is so smooth and beautiful. As a kid I remember John Daly bombing it around St. Andrews in 1995 to win the British Open, and people say we are similar in a lot of ways.
How do you get over Sunday at the
U.S. Open? [Johnson was leading the
tournament by three strokes after 54
holes and shot a final-round 82.]
I had a few drinks on the airplane that night. I was over it the next day. Then my birthday was Tuesday so we had a few pints Monday night and Tuesday night. I'm a pretty easygoing guy. I don't dwell on stuff.
You played three great rounds. What
went so wrong on Sunday?
Maybe I was a little jacked up, because everything was going maybe a couple of yards too far, so I got penned in some tough spots to make par. At Pebble Beach, even on your good shots, you've got to hit it to the correct side of the holes to save pars. And I just didn't do it. The biggest thing was I putted badly. It was just one of those days. Golf is a weird sport. Some days you got it. Some days you don't.
It's only golf. There are a lot worse things that can happen in your life.