Zach Johnson and Jason Dufner started slow, going 2 down through 7 to Richard Sterne and Marc Leishman in Saturday’s foursomes (fourth round). However, the momentum shifted when Dufner, aka Duff Daddy the ballstriking savant, knocked it to two feet on the par-3 8th, giving Zach just a kick-in two-footer for birdie. From there, the Americans were six-under in the next seven holes, making them pretty much invincible.
To top it off, Johnson hit a 117-yard shot and jarred it for an eagle on the par-5 no. 15. Sterne threw up a hail mary from the greenside bunker to try and match Zach’s eagle and, but to no avail.
Here’s Zach and Duff Daddy’s post-match NBC interview transcript, which is entertaining, so I figured it was worth posting. Plus, their match probably helped turn around some of the other matches. As you may recall, the scoreboard was all-blue at one point and it looked like the Internationals were giving a strong run at making it a ball game again.
Q. You were 2down at one point, what turned it around for you guys?
ZACH JOHNSON: What turned it around is what we witnessed many times with the Duf Daddy’s iron play. He got the radar locked on about three or four shots and started to capitalize. We didn’t play bad early on. We just didn’t score.
Q. The Duf Daddy would be this man, Jason Dufner. What did you see from the fairway when you hit that shot right there?
JASON DUFNER: You know, I think he hit a pretty good number and the ball was covering the flag the whole way. Looked like it was going to be close, a little bit of luck that it goes easy, and that’s my favorite walk up to the green.
Q. Did you guys feel like there was momentum, or is this not the type of sport where there actually is momentum?
JASON DUFNER: On the second hole, Marc hit a great shot up on that green in two and we were wedging back there and Zach hit a pretty good shot in there about 15 feet and they ended up 3putting, and we halved that hole. That was kind of a momentum shift and then we had a little opportunity there on 8 and I hit a really nice shot.
Q. Was it more important to win the match or not come back tomorrow morning?
ZACH JOHNSON: Yes. Obviously you want to win the match. We were 3up, occurred to me we had four to play, so I knew if we got one in close on this hole, you never know what happens. We could maybe be out here early. But a little bit of luck and hit some good wedges and finally went in.
Q. A waiting day for you guys; how much were you itch to go get back out here and exact some demons from this morning?
JASON DUFNER: We pushed our morning match a little bit to 17 and then we had a long wait, I think both Zach and I, competitors. Not everybody could play this morning in the fourball, so that’s tough on us. We’re watching guys playing and we’re wanting to be out there, so I was excited to get out there and start playing this afternoon.
Q. What does this do for team momentum? Everybody is going to be stuck on the golf course and coming back but they will get word of this win for you out early?
ZACH JOHNSON: I hope so. They don’t need to leaderboard watch much but you like to see red up there and maybe that will give them a little more confidence and pep, and you know, hopefully we can go back there and watch a few holes before the night is out. But needless to say, the scoreboards are up and we saw a lot of blue up early and fortunately made some birdies the back nine.
Q. What do you think was the key?
JASON DUFNER: I think it turned around on 7. They had hit the green in two. We were a wedge in, we didn’t have a great birdie chance from is a feet and they end up 3putting and we end up getting a halve on that hole and then we had a bit of an open door on eight and I hit a great shot and made birdie. That really got us going. I missed a very makeable putt on 10 that would have been even better to finish the round.
Q. Take us through the shot.
ZACH JOHNSON: Perfect lay up number. I hit a pretty poor tee shot, left rough, and Duf hit a great I just told him, because he’s in the rough. I said, it doesn’t matter, just get me in the fairway. I felt good with my wedges over the last few holes, and I had 115 hole, playing about 117 and maybe 117 playing 119, I can’t remember. One of those shots where 54 might get there but it’s going to spin and I just chipped a wedge and I figured, I’ve got to get right at it. They are in the bunker and a lot of green to work with, you never know what can happen there.
Definitely luck. You make a shot from that distance, it’s luck, but you know, we were teasing the hole a few times, so one fell in.
Then, Zach and Duf were two of the three American players who showed up to the end-of-the-day presser, where Zach was asked again about the hole-out and this amusing exchange occurred:
ZACH JOHNSON: Well, yeah, I mean, you’re just trying to hit a quality shot. And it seemed like Duf was going to hole out three times. He had, in about a three or fourhole stretch, his ballmarks were in a threefoot circle next to the hole. I guess if you just keep knocking on that door, maybe one is going to fall. There is a lot of luck involved. You can’t deny that.
But I had a good number. I mean, he laid up
JASON DUFNER: Perfect.
ZACH JOHNSON: I put the ball in the rough off the tee.
JASON DUFNER: Perfect number. Clearly. Perfect lay up number. Clearly. Clearly. From the rough, I’ll add.
ZACH JOHNSON: From the rough, thanks.
JASON DUFNER: Do you know how hard it is to control the ball out of the rough out here?
ZACH JOHNSON: I’m talking.
Of course, Duff Daddy was using his dry, witty, deadpan tone and it was pretty funny — just thought I’d include it so you guys could get a sense of his humor, especially if you don’t understand his quirky character.