European Tour Ladies European Tour PGA Tour PGA Tour Champions

Weekly Previews: Scouting the Scandinavian Stars

PGA TOUR: The CJ Cup at Summit

The top 60 available players from the 2019-20 final FedExCup Points list will be playing this week on the tour. The Scandinavian players to play at the PGA Tour event include, Alex Noren (Sweden) teeing off at 16:32(CET), Viktor Hovland (Norway) teeing off at 21:06(CET), and Rasmus Hojgaard (Danemark) teeing off at 21:18(CET).

PGA Tour CJ Cup at Summit
Course The Summit Club, Las Vegas, Nevada (USA)
Prize Money 9.8 Mio US-Dollar (8.4 Mio EUR)
Defending Champion Jason Kokrak (USA)
Scandinvian  players Viktor Hovland, Alex Noren, Rasmus Hojgaard
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – OCTOBER 12: A scenic view of the 1st hole during a practice round prior to THE CJ CUP @ SUMMIT at The Summit Club on October 12, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images for CJ Cup @ Summit)

European Tour: Andalucía Masters

The Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters is being played in Sotogrande, Spain at the Real Club Valderrama. The tournament starts on Thursday, October 14th and ends on Sunday, October 17th 2021. The Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucía Masters is part of the European Tour season 2021. In 2021 all players competing for a total prize money of 3 Mio. EUR. The course for the tournament at Real Club Valderrama plays at Par 71. Scandinavian highlights are Jeff Winther (Danemark) who will start the day off at 8:40am. Next up to tee off in the morning is Alexander Björk from Sweden. He currently only holds one European tour win so maybe he can score another at this tournament.

PGA Tour Andalucía Masters
Course Real Club Valderrama (Spain)
Prize Money 3 Million EUR
Defending Champion John Catlin
Scandinvian  players Jeff Winther, Alexander Björk, Nicolai Hojgaard
CADIZ, SPAIN – OCTOBER 13: Nicolai Hojgaard of Denmark plays in the pro am ahead of The Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucia Masters at Real Club Valderrama on October 13, 2021 in Cadiz, Spain. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Ladies European Tour: Aramco Team Series

Across the Atlantic the Ladies European Tour is competing in New York after a week off from playing. Glen Oaks Club plays host to the event and with a stellar field assembled. Marianne Skarpnord from Norway, who secured her fifth LET win at Centurion Club is ready to proudly represent the ladies Scandinavian golf skills. Sollheim Cup star Anna Nordqvist (Sweden) will also be playing this week.

EU Ladies Tour Aramco Team Series
Course The Glen Oaks Club, New York (USA)
Prize Money 800,000 USD (692,076 EUR)
Defending Champion /
Scandinvian  players Krista Bakker, Nicole Broch Estrup, Anna Nordqvist, Lina Boqvist, Maja Stark,Emily Kristine Pedersen
View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Anna Nordqvist (@a_nordqvist)

Champions Tour: SAS Championship 2021

The SAS Championship is being played in Cary, North Carolina at the Prestonwood CC. The tournament starts on Friday, the 15th of October and ends on Sunday, the 17th of October 2021. The SAS Championship is part of the Champions Tour in the season 2021. In 2021 all players competing for a total prize money of 2,1 Mio. US-Dollar. The course for the tournament at Prestonwood CC plays at Par 72. Robert Karlsson will be the only Scandinavian player representing Sweden on the course. He and Henrik Stenson hold the record for most European Tour wins by a player from Sweden, with 11. Last week he landed T31 at the Constellation FURYK & FRIENDS event with 3 under par.

PGA Tour CJ Cup at Summit
Course Prestonwood Country Club Cary, North Carolina (USA)
Prize Money 2.1 Mio US-Dollar (1.8 Mio EUR)
Defending Champion Ernie Els (South Africa)
Scandinvian  players Robert Karlsson
PGA Tour

Rory Mcllory: “Winning is different in golf..”

Q. How would you summarize your season?

RORY McILROY: Some good. Some bad. It started — it started okay. Well, actually, didn’t. I got some decent results at the start of the year but it never felt really comfortable. And then there was that transition period when I started working on some new stuff. Struggled a bit in the springtime, sort of PLAYERS, Match Play, Masters, but after that it got pretty good. The win in Charlotte was nice.

Yeah, I guess I didn’t feel like my game was consistent at the start of the year, in the middle of the year, it’s certainly more consistent than it has, been which is good. Still feel like I have a few things to work on. Overall I feel like it’s been a work-in-progress from April onwards, but I think it’s been going in the right direction.

Q. You’re one of the few guys who has won majors, PLAYERS, WGCs and FedExCups. Where above do you think the FedExCup ranks?

RORY McILROY: I think it’s a big deal. You could come in here 100th in the FedExCup in the first Playoff event and have the best three weeks of your life and end up winning the FedExCup. So I get that it mightn’t be — it mightn’t be like the benchmark of consistency that it used to be.

But saying that, I think if you put yourself in position in the FedExCup enough times, like sooner or later you’re going to get over the line and get it done. And that’s what I’ve been most proud of is the, whatever, 12 years that I’ve been on TOUR, I’ve put myself in position enough times to win it that I’ve gotten the job done a couple of times.

One FedExCup is great, and you know, a lot of guys have done that, but putting yourself in position year after year to try to win it like DJ has and got his eventually last year, that’s the benchmark and that’s what we’re all trying to do.

On the Georgia Bulldogs..

Q. Harris said you were either going to love or hate the Georgia Bulldogs. What are your thoughts?

RORY McILROY: I know their slogan or motto at this point. It’s better. I played with J.T. here last year and all I heard was “Roll Tide.” I feel like Georgians don’t have quite the accent that the people from Alabama do. “Go Dawgs” is a little easier on the ears.

Q. How do you handle the barking?

RORY McILROY: It’s okay. Obviously Georgia had a good win last night, so everybody is amped up and excited for the season.

Q. You’ve heard worse at The Ryder Cup?


Q. Does this prepare you for The Ryder Cup in any way?

RORY McILROY: Yeah, it’s not as if you’ve got anyone else to focus on, and especially when you’re playing with them right there, and it’s been that way for the last three days basically.

I think Jon’s playing next week in Napa, so I was going to say, last competitive start before The Ryder Cup, so at least they are getting used to the way it’s going to be. But yeah, it’s compelling viewing. It’s going to be really interesting these last few holes.

Q. When is the first time you saw Jon —

RORY McILROY: I didn’t play with him until Irish Open 2017, first two days at Portstewart I think was the first time I played with him and I didn’t really know much about him until when he won Torrey Pines, held that putt on the last green. I don’t think I had heard of him before that. I thought, oh, this guy seems pretty good. He’ll be a good Ryder Cup player in the future. That was the first time.

What’s it been, four years since then? He’s just went up the levels.

Q. Can you see it as a player in someone else —

RORY McILROY: No, first time I played with Jordan Spieth was the first two days at Valero San Antonio in 2013 and he didn’t play well and he missed the cut. I said to whoever it was, I said, I don’t know what the big deal is about this guy (laughter) and Jordan ends up going and nearly winning every major in 2015.

So it’s hard to know — Phil obviously played enough golf with him over the course of his time at Arizona State that he was like, no, this guy is going to be really good. I just had two rounds of not so stellar play by Jordan to go off and I made a pretty bad assumption.

Will Rory get a chance to rest before the Ryder Cup?

Q. What’s your schedule like between now and The Ryder Cup?

RORY McILROY: Two weeks at home. First week I’ll relax. It’s been — this is like eight out of ten weeks and it’s been Europe, Japan, back here, a lot of travel, a lot of time without the family.

So I’ll go home and be a husband and a dad for a week, and then I’ll start to ramp it back up and get prepared for going up to Wisconsin.

Q. I was going to ask the ramping up. Do you feel like you have a good sense of the rhythms to make sure you’re peaking for The Ryder Cup?

RORY McILROY: Yeah, and it’s even — we all get in Monday, and even from Monday to Friday morning, it’s a long time. I tell the rookies not to do much in the start of the week because that’s driving range itself, the practice rounds, the press conferences, the Opening Ceremony and everything else that goes along with it. Try to conserve as much energy as possible.

Q. On paper, the Americans look to be the favorite, but as one of the leaders in the European Team what do you feel like the attitude or feeling should be toward the Americans?

RORY McILROY: I think all you need to do is look at the Solheim Cup this week to look at the favorite on paper versus — I don’t know how this afternoon went, but Europe got off to a pretty good start. And I don’t even know, do they have one in the Top-20 in the world? Look, on paper is just that. It’s on paper. We’ve been underdogs in these things enough the last few years to know that doesn’t really matter. Especially match play over 18 holes, anything can happen.

But over the course of the three days, I think the better team is always the one that comes out on top, and I guess we just have to look at our track record over the last ten Ryder Cups that have been played. We’ve won eight of them, and that’s a pretty good record.

Q. Should people be looking at history?

RORY McILROY: It could play a part, I guess but in golf you have to go off form, and form would say that the Americans are playing very, very well at the minute. But it’s a collective effort.

Again, we see it all the time in the Match Play, even in Austin, it’s a top five player in the world will go out against somebody ranked 60 and they will lose.

It’s not, to make the analogy of tennis and the US Open, yes, there’s a couple upsets yesterday, but more often than not, the top seed always wins. In golf, it doesn’t quite work that way for whatever reason. The Top-50 in the world are so tightly bunched, you line up the Top-50 players in the world on that range and you wouldn’t be able to tell who is 1, would is 27, who is whatever. The margins are so fine in this game.

Q. Naomi was talking about — inaudible — have you ever been there?

RORY McILROY: No, because winning — it’s different in golf, right. Yeah, look, there’s certainly been times when I haven’t enjoyed the game as much as I would want to. But I think that’s still — I’ve tried really hard and I spoke about this quite a lot in 2019 about separating who I am as a golfer and who I am as a person and trying to not let that define me, and it seems what Naomi is going through at the minute is that same thing. How can I play tennis and enjoy it and not let the results define who I am.

I think that’s her — I think that’s what she’s going through right now and I think everyone just needs to let her have time to figure that out. And she seems like a really smart girl, and hopefully she’ll be able to do it and come back and start enjoying the game just like when she picked the racquet up when she was a little girl, because that’s — doing it as a job or for a living, and that’s when the joy goes out of it and that’s when you lose your innocence and that’s when you lose — there’s a part of that that goes the further along you get in this professional career, and the more you can hold onto that joy and innocence of remembering what it was, the reason why you picked up a golf club and why you picked up a tennis racquet, that’s the important thing.

Interview by Asap Sports

PGA Tour Top Tours

VIKTOR HOVLAND: “I had a good year last year, but I’ve had an even better one this year.”

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

East Lake Golf Club
Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: This is Viktor’s second appearance back-to-back making it to East Lake, finishing 20th last year in the final FedExCup standings. I think just starting off it’s obviously a big deal to get back here two years in a row. I guess how would you kind of grade your season overall and explain what it means to be back at East Lake.

VIKTOR HOVLAND: Yeah, it means that you’ve played pretty consistently throughout the year and it’s a cool achievement to be able to be back here. And I had a good year last year, but I’ve had an even better one this year, so it’s nice to see that the, things are going the right way and we’re only starting seven shots behind and not 10, so that’s a good start. Hopefully we can do a little bit better than finishing 20th this year.

THE MODERATOR: Starting seven back, having played this golf course last year, what do you think is a key to being able to go low around here.

VIKTOR HOVLAND: You got to really put the ball in the fairway here. The fairways are pretty narrow and the rough is pretty thick because the ball just sits down in the, all the way down, and you can’t really attack the pins. It’s all about trying to make pars from the rough and when you hit the fairways you can really be aggressive. The greens are really pure. They’re firm and fast, so you’re really going to have to hit the ball well to get close. But once you’re on the green you can really make some putts if your speed’s right and you can read the greens well because they’re perfect.

Interview Transcript by ASAP Sports

PGA Tour Team Ireland Top Tours

Rory McIlroy: “There’s no room in golf for people to abuse someone on the golf course when all they’re trying to do is follow their dreams.”

Atlanta, Georgia, USA

East Lake Golf Club
Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: This is your 8th start here. You’re a two-time champion. Just what are you looking forward to about coming back here for the ninth time or the eighth time.

RORY MCILROY: I mean, I’m just happy to be here, to be honest. I was 28th going into the week last week at Caves Valley. I knew I needed at least a decent week to make it here and it turned out to be a bit better than that. I played, probably played some of the best golf I’ve played all year, not good enough to keep up with Patrick and Bryson, but certainly good enough to move up a few spots and get here this week.

So, yeah, happy to be here. It’s, I think it’s always a feather in your cap to make the TOUR Championship even though someone in my position is expected to and I obviously expect myself to as well. You look around this week and there’s only 30 players here and you can single out every single player that’s done something really well this year. So to be included in that group is nice and at least I have a chance.

I, it was funny, I saw Sungjae this morning at breakfast, and when I finished on Sunday, it looked like I was projected to start the tournament this week at 4-under and then Sungjae birdied 17, and then I was projected to start the week at 3-under, and then he birdied the last, and then I went down to 2-under. So even before the week started he cost me two shots.

But, no, it’s — and it’s sort of, I think that’s the fun thing about this format. You’re always sort of looking at what the other guys are doing and seeing where you’re going to start. But, yeah, just happy to be here and glad to have a chance.


Q. You touched on it there. How do you approach starting the week eight behind? Do you just think, that’s just two shots a day, or do you just try and put it out of your mind until you get down to the business end of it?

RORY MCILROY: Not really. I mean, I think East Lake isn’t the easiest golf course in the world and it’s certainly a, it seems to be a course that separates the field somewhat. So the way I look at it, if I go out tomorrow and shoot 6-under, for example, which is the score I shot last year in the first round, get to 8-under par, and some of those top guys shoot even par or even 1- or 2-over, all of a sudden you’re right in it.

So it’s a golf course that you can, I feel like you can make up a lot of ground quickly. You can also lose a lot of ground quickly as well, depending on how it goes. But I certainly don’t feel like I’m out of it. I don’t feel like I’m too far behind. Eight shots around this golf course doesn’t seem like that much, so still pretty optimistic.

But, I mean, I think it just puts the impetus, especially for people that are in my position, the bottom half of the field, you just have to get off to a fast start.

Q. Jon has been kind of outspoken about the format for this week. He points out the fact that you come in having won, four, five times and a major and end up finishing 30th on the points list. And I know you’ve addressed this before, but there is a clarity for the fans, but that’s offset by Jon’s point, which I think a lot of people agree with. Do you have a thought on that one way or the other?

RORY MCILROY: Yeah, I mean I, look, the first year that it was played in this format I started five back, and I ended up winning the tournament by three. So, like, everyone gets here. The people that have played well have an advantage. It’s not an insurmountable advantage like it has been in previous years where guys have turned up to the TOUR Championship not having to do anything to win the FedExCup and that’s certainly, you don’t want that to happen either.

So I mean, there’s been a few iterations of it and I think this is definitely the best format so far. There’s clarity for the players. There’s clarity for the fans. It’s, again, it’s the playoffs, and I think everyone that’s in the top-30 deserves to be here and then because of that everyone in the top-30 deserves to feel like they have a chance to win it all.

So I can certainly see where Jon is coming from, especially with the year that he’s had. But, look, I’ve went into two, I went into two playoff runs being No. 1 in 2012 and 2014 and didn’t win either of them. So I’ve been on both sides of the coin here.

Look, it is what it is. I mean, the PGA TOUR wanted to create this playoffs format and by nature it is going to be volatile at the end of the year and I think most players have accepted that.

Q. I know you were hitting fades and hitting draws and trying to figure out which one made more sense. Where have you settled on that and why?

RORY MCILROY: I think it’s shot- and hole-dependent. I’m going to try to hit a fade on holes that dictate that that’s the way you should play the hole and I’m going to try to hit a draw on holes or hole locations where it dictates that you should hit a draw. I think I’m, most players in this field and most players on TOUR should be good enough to be able to work the ball both ways.

Certainly there is advantages of just having one shot shape. It takes the options or the choices out of your head somewhat and it simplifies the game, but I think I should be able to swing the club well enough and know what I’m doing that I’m able to hit both shots. I mean, I think for my swing pattern and when it gets off, I think the feeling of a fade is always a good one because it gets the club out more in front of me on the way down. So that’s always going to be a sort of thought or a drill of mine is, like, just keep trying to get the club out in front of me and rotate and hitting those fades because I know if I can hit the fade pretty consistently, then I know I’m swinging well and the club’s not getting stuck behind me, and I know how to hit a draw. I mean, I’ve done that my whole life.

So it’s just a matter of managing your patterns somewhat and basically just hitting the shot that’s required on the hole or, yeah.

Q. With two European Tour counting events remaining for the Ryder Cup, how do you see the Ryder Cup, European Ryder Cup team shaping up? Pads has got a pretty tough task in terms of phone calls before he makes the announcement of the wild cards at Wentworth on that Sunday night.

RORY MCILROY: It depends how Italy and Wentworth go, I guess, the next couple of weeks. Obviously, Bernd Wiesberger had a great chance to play himself into the team in Switzerland and didn’t quite get it done but certainly has a couple more opportunities coming up in Italy and Wentworth to get over the line.

And then I think if that were to happen, if say someone like a Bernd or a Victor Perez or one of those guys gets, plays their way into the team, then I think it makes it a little more difficult for Padraig because then say, for example, if Shane doesn’t get on automatically, then you’re looking at him for a pick or whoever else.

It’s sort of, it’s still all a bit up in the air. But I think at this moment in time, if the qualifications stopped, I think it’s a pretty simple, I think it’s a pretty simple scenario, but a lot can change over the next couple of weeks.

Q. Are we going to see you at Wentworth or not?


Q. Do you feel that fan behavior has become less respectful and if so what do you attribute it to?

RORY MCILROY: Yeah, I do, a little bit. I think I sort of know what you’re getting at on the back of last week and some things that were said over the past few weeks, I guess. Yeah, a little bit. I think it’s different. As golfers, there’s a very thin rope that separates us from the fans, and then you hit a shot off line, and you have to go into the fans to hit it. So we get a little closer to them than some other sports.

Yeah, I think some of it crosses the line. I think there’s a certain, I think certain other sports culture has fed into our game and fed into the fan base that’s definitely affected it, and people will make the argument that, well, it happens in every other sport. But I would say that we’re not any other sport and I think golf should hold itself to a higher standard. I mean, the players are certainly held to a higher standard than other sports, so why wouldn’t our fan base be.

Q. Do you feel like you have to develop a thicker skin for the Ryder Cup?

RORY MCILROY: Yeah, certainly, especially the ones that are played in the United States. But I think the best thing is to just not — someone once told me awhile back, if you don’t take anything personally, you’ll live a very happy life, and I think I try to do that all the time. You just try to let it slide off, not take things personally and if you can do that and if you can train yourself to think that way, it certainly makes it easier.

Q. Everybody seems to be on Bryson’s case at the moment. Do you feel any sympathy for him or do you think he brought it on himself?

RORY MCILROY: I certainly feel some sympathy for him because I certainly, I don’t think that you should be ostracized or criticized for being different, and I think we have all known from the start that Bryson is different and he is not going to conform to the way people want him to be. He is his own person. He thinks his own thoughts and everyone has a right to do that.

There are certainly things that he has done in the past that have brought some of this stuff on himself. I’m not saying that he’s completely blameless in this. But at the same time, I think he has been getting a pretty rough go of it of late and it’s actually pretty sad to see because he, deep down, I think, is a nice person and all he wants to do is try to be the best golfer he can be. And it just seems like every week something else happens and I would say it’s pretty tough to be Bryson DeChambeau right now.

And I don’t know if anyone else on TOUR has spoken up for him, but I definitely, I definitely he feel for him a little bit. And I agree, I don’t think he’s completely blameless in all this, but at the same time, I think he’s trying to become better and he’s trying to learn from his mistakes and I think everyone should give him a chance to try to do that.

Q. Outside observers can’t help but note Patrick Cantlay’s very calm demeanor on the golf course regardless of what the circumstances are. Is that something that the players take note of as well? And what other parts of his game might you point to to, that’s going to make him tough to catch this week?

RORY MCILROY: I mean, if he putts the way he putted last week for the rest of his career we have no chance. (Laughing).

Yeah, Patrick is, he’s a very, what you see on TV is what you get in person. I mean, he’s a pretty, he’s a very smart guy as well. I think that’s the thing. He’s very, he doesn’t say a whole lot, but you can tell that there’s a lot going on in his head and he’s an educated guy. And, yeah, I mean, the performance that he put in last week, I think everyone that, when he hit that shot into the water on 17 in regulation, we all thought, Well, this is Bryson’s to win. But the resolve that he showed to get up-and-down to make bogey there, to birdie the last to force a playoff, and then everything that happened in the playoff, it was really impressive to see.

I think that was a, he’s won some tournaments before and he’s played well, but I think that was, I don’t know if anyone’s ever seen that side of Patrick Cantlay to that extent like we did last week and it was very impressive.

Q. You alluded to the Hazeltine Ryder Cup a little bit earlier and my read on that week was that you expended a ton of energy winning matches early in the week and kind of carrying your team. Obviously, you had that huge energy explosion on the 8th hole against Patrick on Sunday, and then I thought maybe you kind of lost, like you had reached a breaking point almost at that point. I wanted to ask you if that was true, first of all, and then playing off of that, what would you tell, let’s say like a Ryder Cup rookie or how would you advise them about the specific challenges of playing a Ryder Cup in the U.S. in this modern era where fans can be jerks and it’s just like a crazy amount of energy that it takes from you?

RORY MCILROY: Yeah, so you’re completely right. That observation is, you hit the nail on the head. I expended so much energy during that week, not just competing on the golf course, but also just everything else that was going on that, everything sort of reached a crescendo on that 8th green on Sunday, and I think both of us, I think both Patrick and I, we certainly didn’t keep that level of play up for the entire match, and I think we both sort of came down a little bit from that, but he was just able to — he made birdie at the last and ended up winning 1-up.

And but, yeah, it was certainly, I took a lot from that. I learned a lot from that and I hopefully won’t make the same mistake again this year because you can only, you only have so much energy, and you can only use it for an amount of time. And I think what I would tell a rookie going into a Ryder Cup, especially on the road, is, yeah, conserve your energy. You don’t, like we’re there from the Monday, the matches don’t start until the Friday, I mean, I would Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday do just enough to feel like you’re prepared, but don’t do too much. Don’t play 18-hole practice rounds every day. Don’t kill yourself in the gym. Don’t like, I mean, do what you need to do to get yourself in the right frame of mind and the right space physically to go out there and play.

And the thing, as well, is if you’re called upon to play all five sessions, that’s a long week. It’s tough and it’s physically draining, but also mentally as well, trying to focus on the job at hand and not get distracted by the crowd or anything else.

So it’s a pretty tough task, I think, for a rookie coming into that environment that’s going to be the toughest week of their golfing life and they have to be prepared for that and all I would say is conserve your energy and put it into the three days.

Q. You said if you don’t think anything personal, you’ll never be upset. How do you put that into practice when you’re in the thick of it and the things people are saying to you are intensely personal?

RORY MCILROY: I think you just have to, you have to think about, Okay, if I were to sit down and have a beer with this person, would they think the same thing, would they say the same thing? And of course they wouldn’t. You go, if someone says something to you and you go up and you confront them about it, they’re not going to say the same thing as either, right? It’s a — it’s just a weird dynamic between fan and competitor and they’re doing it to try to help their own team. They’re doing it because they’re from the United States and they’re trying to — and I think if you — I think I’ve tried to train myself to think about it and think on purpose rather than react, and I think the more you react to it, the more it gets at you, but the more you actually think about it and break it down and it just, it becomes less meaningful and you can just sort of let it roll off.

And I’ve tried to do a really good job of that over the last few years of not react and just try to think about it a little bit more and try to just try to put it in a better perspective, I guess.

Q. It sounds as if you’re on board with what Jay told us yesterday about the fan behavior stuff. But just curious your thoughts on just enforcing that, the difficulty of actually calling people out and maybe asking, booting them or ejecting them in such a situation. Is that realistic?

RORY MCILROY: I think as I said at the start, as golfers I feel like we’re held to a higher standard than other sports and other athletes and I think because of that the people that come to watch us play should be held to a higher standard as well. And enforcing that, I think it should be — there’s no room in golf for people to abuse someone on the golf course when all they’re trying to do is do their best and win a golf tournament and follow their dreams. So there’s no place for that in our game and that might sound a little stiff or snobby or whatever, but that’s golf and we have traditions and we have — you look at like a First Tee Program, for example, what are they taught through golf? They’re taught respect, sportsmanship, etiquette, how to treat others the right way, and that’s everything that we try to do through golf. They are the values of our game and that’s, people need to understand that and they need to try to adopt those same etiquettes and those same beliefs and values when they show up at our tournaments.

Interview Transcript by ASAP Sports

PGA Tour

“DJs” winning interview after his FedExCup victory

MICHAEL BALIKER: Dustin, this was your 11th trip to East Lake this week. You’ve been chasing this trophy for a long time. How satisfying is it to finally get it done?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, it’s definitely very satisfying to be the FedExCup champion. Obviously coming in here I was in first with a two-shot lead, and I needed all those strokes that I could get. It’s a tough golf course, but I feel like I played pretty solid all week.

Obviously yesterday was a great round, and then obviously today was — I played — got off to a great start and I played really well coming down the stretch.

Yeah, it was a tough day, tough golf course, and I’m definitely excited it’s over and that I can celebrate a little bit now instead of — it was a grind out there. But I’m very proud to be the FedExCup champion.

Q.  What was the level of concern with your game leaving here last year and how does it feel to go from finishing last here last year to now winning this year?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: I don’t even remember what happened last year. That was a long time ago. I was playing a little better coming in this season.

“Being a FedExCup champion is something that I really wanted to do”

Q.  Were you nervous today?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: I was nervous. I always get nervous because it means something. Yeah, I mean, I get nervous on the first hole, kind of settled down a little bit, and then obviously the back nine definitely could feel it, just because there were a lot of really good players around me and they were playing well.

So I knew I was going to have to shoot a good score on the back nine if I wanted to win.

Q.  Paul Azinger said a long time ago that only two things would really rattle a player, playing for cash or playing for prestige. Which one meant more to you today?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: Probably the prestige for sure just because being a FedExCup champion is something that I really wanted to do. I wanted to hold that trophy at the end of the day. It was something that I wanted to accomplish during my career, and obviously I got one of them. Now I’m going to try to get me another.

Q.  There’s a lot of big names on the trophy. Were you kind of annoyed that yours wasn’t on it?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: A little bit, but like I said yesterday, I think a couple times there I didn’t really have control of what was going on just because of my play, but obviously today I was in control of winning the trophy or not.

If I played well, I was going to win; if I didn’t, I wasn’t going to. I like that situation a lot better.

Q.  Can you talk about how important that putt was on 13 and your emotions when you banged it off the back of the cup?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, I mean, obviously I hit my — obviously the drive went just in the left rough there and I hit a good shot right where I wanted to, just short right of the green.

But it was just one of those — my ball was sitting in the first cut. I thought I was going to catch it clean and didn’t and it came up short. Yeah, that putt was definitely kind of the turning point for me there on the back nine. You know, obviously it gave me the confidence and kind of kept the round going in the right direction.

Stepped up, hit a really nice drive on 14; hit some really quality shots really the rest of the way in. That was a big putt.

Q.  When you look at what you’ve done this post season, you’re exactly one shot away from being absolutely perfect, obviously, in the playoff which you didn’t really have much control over in that situation. Can you characterize this run compared to some of the other runs you’ve had in your career these last few weeks?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, feel like the game is in really good form, playing some solid golf, and obviously contending every week. I’m playing probably some of the best golf I’ve ever played.

Like I said, there’s plenty of room for improvement.

“It’s more about the trophy”

Q.  Obviously it’s a big amount of money and I’m sure it means a lot to you, but I’m just curious if you can think back to a time in your career when there was an amount of money that might have been a lot less that really changed your life, that really might’ve mattered in terms of whether it was your career or just whatever, paying back sponsors or anything that you might have — where that money would have really had a huge impact on you even if it might have been a lot less.

DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, absolutely. When I went through all three stages of Q-school and got my TOUR card I think they gave me like a $25,000 check. Yeah, I thought I was rich because I didn’t have but a couple hundred bucks in my bank account probably.

Then I went to the first tournament in Hawai’i, I think I finished 10th, and I don’t know, it was a hundred grand or something.

So yeah, that was big, and obviously that was a lot of money to me.

Now obviously I’m very thankful for FedEx and the amount of money they donate for us to be whoever is the FedExCup champion, but it’s not about the money for me. It’s more about the trophy.

Q.  Was there a time back say 10, 12 years ago where you had to get over the idea of thinking how much money a missed putt would cost? Is that an important part to being successful, to not think about the money even though it’s a lot?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: Well, at this stage of my career I’m fortunate enough where I don’t need to think about that. It’s more — it’s all about winning and the trophies. The money is not — I don’t really care about that. I want to win tournaments, and I want to win trophies.

Q.  Sounds like you talked to Wayne over the weekend; can you maybe share the insights of that conversation that you guys had?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: He was playing golf and I asked him how he was playing. He said he was hitting it pretty good but Janet was yelling at him because he wasn’t playing good enough that was about the extent of the conversation.

Q.  You addressed this a little bit, but was this maybe more important in some ways to you given the five strokes — obviously wanting to win the FedExCup and so forth, did it take on any greater significance in that regard to you?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: I didn’t really understand. Sorry.

Q.  Did you need this win in your eyes?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: Well, yeah, I needed the win. Last week I had the lead going into the final round. Played a really good solid round, made a great putt to get into a playoff, but ended up losing in the playoff.

Having a five-shot lead today, it’s something, yeah, I needed to finish it off, especially give myself a lot of confidence going into the U.S. Open here in — what, it starts in 10 days or something, or less.

Obviously got a couple days to celebrate with Paulina and the kids, and then got to get back to grinding again.

Q.  These last four weeks you and A.J. seem to have been especially dialed in in your routine on the greens, and I think there might have been a couple adjustments made in how you guys are going about things. I wonder if you could kind of explain that and just what role he really played in this run that you’ve been on here recently.

DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, A.J. is a big part of the game. Obviously he’s my brother. We’re a good team. He reads the greens well, and a lot of times, too, I know we’re doing well when — you know, because I started using the line at the PGA on the putter when I was putting, and so he’s been doing the AimPoint for a while.

So I know when I line it up and we’ve got it in the same vicinity that we’re doing a good job. He’s done a great job over the last four weeks, four tournaments, and I’m glad to have my brother on the bag with me.

“He’s going to be on my bag for a long time”

Q.  You talked about needing this win and things like that, but from him being an unproven guy out here who had never caddied on the TOUR until now, how much do you think he’s kind of validated himself as being worthy of being out here and being one of the top caddies in the game?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: I think from the first time he came out he was — he played golf growing up. He played basketball through high school and college, but he was always a decent player.

Yeah, I mean, it didn’t take him long to catch on. He’s a very good caddie and he would do well for anybody, but he’s going to be on my bag for a long time.

Q.  Have you played Winged Foot?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: I have not played it.

Q.  What have you heard about it if you have heard about it, if you’ve asked questions about it?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: That it’s a very good golf course, difficult but fair.

Q.  How would you compare the way you’re playing now with the spring of ’17 when you were blowing through Riv and Match Play and Mexico and things like that?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: It’s similar. It’s getting there. I think I was playing really good then. Obviously I’m playing very well now. Like I said, I feel like I can play better, though.

You know, at times I’m firing on all cylinders, but there’s times where I’m not. I’m playing good enough, though, to where I can keep it where I still can give myself a chance to win.

Compared to spring of ’17, almost there.

Q.  Kind of along those lines, it’s kind of exhausting to get through this stretch and have to do all these virtual interviews and stuff like that —

DUSTIN JOHNSON: But thanks for all your questions. (Laughter.)

Q.  But the fact that the U.S. Open is coming up, the fact that we still have the Masters, are you kind of excited now the way that fits into this weird season?

DUSTIN JOHNSON: I am. I am excited. Obviously I’m playing well. I’ve got a lot of confidence in the game, so I’m really looking forward to the next obviously couple months.

But then I’m also — after that I’m looking forward to some time off. It’s been a long stretch, but it’s made it a lot easier playing well, that’s for sure.

MICHAEL BALIKER: Thanks, Dustin. Congratulations.

(FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports)