The best sound bites from Tuesday's press conferences at Bethpage: MASTERS CHAMPS TALK AUGUSTA Bubba Watson: "We got the text or the call from my manager that there was going to be two ladies, and so yeah, my wife joked she wanted to be one of those ladies, but obviously she didn't make the cut. Maybe she's the third lady."
"But no, it was good to see. It's always in their time. They want to do it the right way, they want to get the right membership in there what they're looking for, and obviously it's great. It's great for golf, it's great for the game." Zach Johnson: "In my opinion, or based on what I've read and what I've seen, the timing is right to have a couple women members so far and hats off to them. … I know this time of year is when they start inviting new members, so I know there's a longer list than just two women. … Knowing some of the members there, they're always very gracious to have new members come in, and I don't foresee that being any different. It seems like Chairman Payne is a guy — well, I think he's great. I think he certainly has always had a pretty open mind about things, and that's why you've seen some tweaks and changes at Augusta and the Masters. Yeah, I think it's fantastic." ON THE LENGTH OF BETHPAGE BLACK Bubba Watson: "We're the only sport that keeps changing our distances. LeBron James feels like he can jump over the goal but they're not raising the goal in basketball, not changing football fields with guys throwing passes farther. So it's going to get tougher as I get older, it's going to get tougher the longer the golf courses are. Some of the guys out here just don't hit it as far, so it makes it really tough. For me, I'm loving it; for them, they're probably not as happy as I am." Zach Johnson: "Everything about it is just big. It's almost like each hole is its own little — you don't see another hole, you're on that hole and that's it. There's a couple holes that are side by side, especially on the back nine. But elevated tee shots, uphill tee shots. … Granted, my memory of '09 is we had a deluge, so there was no roll. I think as of right now we're getting some roll, and we could even get more roll if the forecast stays the same."
"But I think it's great. I mean, it's right out in front of you. It's not hidden. There's certain holes you've just got to get off with a great shot, starting the tee box through the green, and that's what separates a championship course from an okay course." Dustin Johnson: "It's whoever is going to drive it the straightest and the furthest is who's going to win. The rough is very penal. But you definitely have an advantage being a longer hitter." LOOKING AHEAD TO THE RYDER CUP Bubba Watson: "This week I'm staying with a Wounded Warrior. I'm staying with another active military member, and staying with these guys in a house this week, talking to them, and seeing what they do for us, our freedoms. For me to put the red, white and blue stripes on and wear that badge proudly, it's the only time I get to be somewhat close to military. I'm not as tough as those guys, but somewhat to have a flag on, so it's just representing our country." Zach Johnson: "I've been on both sides of [the selection process]. Fortunately I'm on the secure side this year. Every year you start off, one of your goals is the Ryder Cup or the Presidents Cup, depending on the year, and I think those are outcome-oriented goals, so you have objectives you have to accomplish. Those goals are really what's more important, and I think this is one of them." Dustin Johnson: "You know, he probably already has the guys he's going to pick, I would say, and these next couple weeks probably could change his mind. But most of the guys have played well all week, and I've played pretty solid all year long, and I think I'd be a great asset to the team, and hopefully I'll get picked. " TALKING 'BOUT PLAYOFFS? Dustin Johnson: "It's hard not to get up for them. I'm always excited, especially you want to make it to the Tour Championship and obviously win the FedExCup. That's a nice check in the pocket. So that's how I get up for it.
You know, it's great, and I don't know how you couldn't when you're playing for that kind of cheese." THE TIGER FACTOR Zach Johnson: "Well, you can't deny the fact that he's taken the game to another level. I mean, guys have done that prior to him, and I think guys will probably continue to do that. I don't know that we know who those individuals are yet. But yeah, I mean, the game of golf has grown, and then when you kind of inject Tiger Woods into it, it just adds another boost to it, I guess. In the late '90s it just started to skyrocket. And fortunately we have a guy, I think, who understood that and a Tour who understood that in Tim Finchem, and we've made of best of that from a business platform, from a financial platform, and certainly it's helped me and my peers financially. I mean, you can't deny that, relative to the '80s and '90s."
"But I think we've also shown that when he had some injuries and whatnot that we can survive without him, too, and we can build and grow. So he is a huge, huge part of the PGA Tour, no one is going to deny that. But I still think that our game is in a great position, and I think that our product is in a great position with the PGA Tour. I don't think anyone or any entity is above that." JOHNSON ON PLAYING WITH TIGER AND RORY IN THE MARQUEE GROUP Zach Johnson: "Two guys that you certainly can get caught up watching just because of the shots they can hit, shots they can hit that I can't hit. I'm just hoping my boring golf kind of gets in the way, and that's really what it boils down to. I like boring golf. That's kind of what butters my bread."
"I guess if I wasn't playing with them and I was working out or in my hotel, I'd probably be watching them on TV, so now I've got a firsthand watch. I know the crowd will be pushing them quite heavily, and it'll be fun." WATSON AND THE WOUNDED WARRIORS Bubba Watson: "…Russ Holden represents a lot of different charities, but Caddie for the Cure is a big one, and Wounded Warriors, he helps with them. He contacted me and asked if I wanted to stay at the house, and I said, a free house? Yeah, I want to stay there. So he told me who was going to be there, and Teddy, my caddie, could stay there, too, so we all are staying there."
"Last night we got in. They cooked dinner, we had some steaks and we just talked and asked them about the Wounded Warrior, asked them about what happened, and he showed me a picture of the car that blew up and all the things."
"Basically I'm there just talking to them. I'm in awe of them, they're in awe of me, but I'm really just watching them and learning from them about how much they fight for our freedoms not knowing who we are, not knowing anything about us. They're out there taking bullets and dodging bullets for us to give us freedom to do what we do. It was an honor for me to stay with them and be a part of just communicating with them and talking with them and hopefully cheering them up a little bit when they get a little down." READ COMPLETE TRANSCRIPTS AT ASAPSPORTS.COM