home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


August 12, 2006

Tom Lehman


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Tom Lehman, thanks for joining us. You put together three good rounds, 24 points and in contention. A lot can happen on Sunday, but you have to be happy with the way you played today and the last couple days.

TOM LEHMAN: Well, tee to green I'm very pleased. I've done a lot of things really well from the tee box to the green.

On the green has been a little bit frustrating because I haven't really made a whole lot of putts and given myself a whole lot of chances. But still, all in all, 24 points is in good position. It just takes one day on the greens to really knock one out here, and it would be nice to have a really great putting round tomorrow.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Pretty much every player that we've talked to in the interview room this week has felt like they left some putts out there, left some shots out there. Is that the nature of the format where you're pretty aggressive?

TOM LEHMAN: It does give you a more aggressive nature. The penalty for making a bogey isn't quite as dramatic. You can make up for it with making a lot of birdies. If you can make five or six birdies a day and match it with bogeys, you're still scoring six or seven points or five points or whatever it might be. It's the kind of thing where it pays to make birdies, so you may make a few mistakes, but the greens are hard to read. That's what I've found here in the mountains, the greens are hard to read.

Q. Were you watching the leaderboard today and did you see what was going up and down and all around today?

TOM LEHMAN: Well, it seemed to me that on the front nine nothing was happening. I looked at the leaderboard on the 9th hole and it was like everybody had stood still with the exception of Zach had made an eagle and a few birdies. But guys played well. 27 points, what Zach has, is exceptional. Stewart Cink with 25 is very good, but it's still wide open. Three points is just really nothing in this kind of scoring system. Anybody who has 18 points and above still has a chance to win.

Q. Can you talk about Zach Johnson? You said that you've been following him this year, and his round today and how that might affect things?

TOM LEHMAN: Well, I've been following nearly everybody all year long, just kind of tracking their progress. Zach has played very well all year. He's been very steady, had some good tournaments. The thing I like is that his bad tournaments have not been too bad. He plays poorly and finishes 30th or 25th. That's a very comfortable thought when you're going into an international competition, assuming he makes the team, when you know that your player's good golf and bad golf is still pretty good.

Q. You also had the opportunity at Accenture Match Play to play Zach?

TOM LEHMAN: We played there in the consolation match. He's a very solid player. He really doesn't have any weaknesses. He's the kind of guy that can play in any format and be successful. You want to have players like Zach Johnson who you know you can pair them in alternate shot, you can pair them in best ball and they'll fit.

Of course I was paying attention. He's in ninth place on the list and he knows that he needs a big week. I'm very impressed that he's pulling it out this week.

Q. Is it something that's important with your two picks to have players who don't blow hot and cold, even if they don't always shoot lights out?

TOM LEHMAN: Oh, yeah, absolutely. You want to know what you're getting. You want to know what the quantity is that you're taking with you into competition. Quite honestly almost all the guys who are in contention for picks are that way. Almost all of them are rock solid players. They may have missed a few cuts here and there, but it's a very competitive Tour over here. It's not like you're not going to miss a few cuts.

At the end of the day, when I see guys get in a situation like this where they know they have to give a good performance and they do, there's a lot of pressure on them and they come through. Vaughn Taylor did last week, and that's very impressive to me. I like to see that.

Q. Can I just clarify? If you make the team on points, did you say you will play or you will consider it?

TOM LEHMAN: I'm not sure what I said. What have I said about that (laughing)?

Q. What's the deal? Will you play?

TOM LEHMAN: I'm not even going to talk about that until that actually might happen. If I win tomorrow, then you can ask. Is that fair? Well, that's the way it's going to be. If I win tomorrow, we'll talk about it then.

Q. Can you describe your feeling and emotions the first time you made the Ryder Cup?

TOM LEHMAN: Well, it was a big goal of mine. The achieving of a high standard you set for yourself, it was very fulfilling. To me it made me very proud that I was part of an elite group. You go anywhere in the U.S. or Europe and you say he's a Ryder Cup player and it carries a lot of weight. I was very, very proud.

I'll get back to your question. If I were to win tomorrow and make the team, I don't know what I'd do, okay? Is that fair? Because that's the truth.

Q. Do you anticipate having a sleepless night a week from tomorrow, having to decide with all these players that you're talking about who are all there, your last picks?

TOM LEHMAN: A sleepless night?

Q. A difficult night?

TOM LEHMAN: Well, I've already got the night planned. It's going to be my wife and I and Corey and his wife and Loren and his wife and a bottle of nice wine and a steak and a long, long conversation. That's a difficult, difficult thing. Captains have always told me that the toughest part is making these two picks. They're really right. There's so many players who have poured their heart and soul and who are trying so hard to make the team, and every one of them who is in the running really there could be a good reason for picking them.

But at the end of the day, you only get to pick two. All the what ifs, what if Davis finishes 14th or 15th or Freddie finishes well, such great players for a long time, how do you leave them off the team? But then what about some of the other players who have been playing really well? It gets very confusing to me.

I think at the end of the day when you really sit down and look and say what exactly does our team need, our team has some needs. I'm not a really statistic guy, but I do pay attention to the way guys play and strengths and weaknesses, and there's some real strengths and some real weaknesses of the players on our team. You've got to look and see who might be able to fill in some of those gaps and who might pair best with some of the guys on the team right now and form the best team.

Sometimes you get into a situation where there's a guy on the team you just don't know what to do with him, and you think, who can I pair with that guy? I'm not saying it is that way, but you find a partner somewhere down the list, whoever it might be, and say this is like the perfect partner for him, and they could play both alternate shot and best ball together. There's so many things to think about.

At the end of the day, the Ryder Cup is always about putting and chipping, the guys who make the putts and the guys who chip. One thing will be for certain: The guys that I pick will have good short games.

Q. To talk about you being close, do you miss as a captain not playing? I guess would there probably never be a situation where you'd choose yourself as a captain's pick, but do you miss playing in the event a lot?

TOM LEHMAN: Well, definitely. The only thing that I know for certain is that my strengths are helpful, but like I just mentioned, the real strength of guys who make a difference in the Ryder Cup are guys who can really putt and chip, and that's been a weakness of my game for several, several years now. So when you say would I play, probably not really because I'm not putting well. I feel like I'd be letting the team down with the putter. I wouldn't want to deal with that. I would feel really good about making the team, but if I don't play, I get to pick No. 11. It is what it is.

Q. Are you going to try to based on your experience the last time, not hearing from the captain or whatever, are you going to try to pick the people who you think had a shot for this team, try and get in touch with them and let them know why?

TOM LEHMAN: I will. I'll talk to all the guys who have a chance. They know who they are, and I'll talk to every one of them and the reason why I picked them and the reason why I didn't. I think that's the only way to deal with it is just to be straight up and honest and up front. It may be simply something you know, the point is I think it's important to be honest and let them know why.

Q. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the team thus far?

TOM LEHMAN: If every hole were a par 5 we'd be unbeatable. That's the strength of our team. As a group we just abuse the par 5s. We're long and for the most part very good iron players. Inside of five feet, the short putts, is excellent. The lag putting is good, a little weak in the 15 to 20 foot range maybe. But we're very, very crooked as a group at the moment, too. Somebody who can put it in the fairway, I'm kind of looking for somebody like that, who can put it in the fairway and putt and chip like crazy.

Q. Can guys try too hard to make this team?

TOM LEHMAN: Yes, absolutely. I've never been there. I remember back in about 1993, the first time I had a chance to make the team I was close and I was there and just trying so hard and playing so awful, so I know exactly what it's like when you want so badly to make it and you try too hard and you don't allow yourself to play. You consciously can't try when you're playing golf, you just do it, you just play. When you're trying so hard, you're getting out of your natural way of doing things, and it's very tough.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Tom Lehman, thank you.

End of FastScripts.

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297