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August 13, 2006

Tom Lehman


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Tom Lehman, we appreciate you coming in, great week for you, Dean Wilson, first victory for him. Maybe just talk about your day and the playoff today and we'll go right into questions.

TOM LEHMAN: You know, I played well today. I hit the ball extremely well once again, a little bit shaky with the putter not really shaky I should say, but I didn't make as many as I would like to have. I misjudged the speed the big putt today for me was the 17th hole. I had a 15 footer for eagle, and it looked so fast and it was so shiny going down the hill, and I hit a beautiful putt right on line and it came up about four inches short. I was quite shocked that I could leave that putt short. I didn't think there was any way I could leave it short. I talked to Corey Pavin afterwards and he told me he did the exact same thing, so it must not have been as fast as it looked like, but that was a key miss.

In the playoff Dean played very well. I was up first and I hit good shots, put it in the fairway, and he followed suit, put it in the fairway, knocked it on, made a birdie. Outstanding player, and I congratulate him.

Q. Somebody, I think it was one of the TV guys, said you were maybe in between clubs there on 18 in the playoff. If you could say what you hit in there and what you saw in the putt from the fringe there.

TOM LEHMAN: The first playoff hole?

Q. I'm sorry, 9.

TOM LEHMAN: 9 was a huge 8 iron for me. I mean, I had 178 to carry the bunker or something like that. 7 iron was definitely too much, and 8 iron it was a nuke 8. I hit it fairly well, didn't catch it perfectly flush.

At the first playoff hole, again, a nice little controlled 8 iron that wasn't locking at all, either, and snuck down the hill. But sometimes you get in those perfect zones where you have the perfect club and sometimes you get in the zones where you've got to get it all in order to get it there. I was disappointed to have a 30 footer instead of a 15 footer or less on the second hole.

Q. When you're in a tournament do you make a conscious decision to separate Ryder Cup thoughts from your own playing thoughts?

TOM LEHMAN: I try to. As you know, if you're on the golf course thinking about the what ifs, what happens if I play well, what happens if I play poorly, what happens if I win, all those kinds of things are so destructive towards your game. Fortunately when I'm on the golf course I can push it all out of my mind.

Q. In terms of your individual game, what were the emotions being in the thick of it in a playoff with a chance to win again?

TOM LEHMAN: You know, I felt fairly calm. I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little bit nervous, but I've always said there's a positive nervous and there's a negative nervous, and it was a very positive excitement today.

I think I felt like the rhythm of my swing was good all day, I hit a lot of really good shots, hit some good putts where I had to. Overall I felt like I performed quite well, just not quite well enough.

Q. Did you get any time to evaluate and scout Ryder Cup candidates?

TOM LEHMAN: No, not yet. I know Zach had a rough start. I was disappointed for him that he started off so poorly and struggled the rest of the day as a result. I know what he's feeling right now, and I feel badly for him. Same with Tom Pernice. Stewart Cink played well. Golf is a cruel sport sometimes. The harder you try, the worse you can really play.

Q. I don't know how Medinah shapes up for your game, but do you feel you have some momentum going into the PGA?

TOM LEHMAN: I feel like I have momentum, but I'm the captain of the Ryder Cup team; I decided a while back that unless there was some crazy, unforeseen circumstance I would not play. As I said yesterday, my putting is just a little bit too erratic. I don't putt poorly usually, I don't three putt a lot, I just don't make enough putts, and in the Ryder Cup it's all about the short game, it's all about putting and chipping is what it comes down to, guys that can knock the ball in the hole.

In terms of the PGA, I'm playing very well, driving it very well. I certainly feel like I have as good a chance as anybody to have a good week.

Q. When you were walking off the 18th after the round, you kind of tipped your hat over your head. Were you thinking about that putt on 17 or the one on 18?

TOM LEHMAN: Just kind of unwinding, just kind of you get a lot of emotions when you walk off the green like that. Part of it is you're happy, part of it is you're frustrated, part of it is you're excited. It's kind of all those. I just kind of wanted to gather my thoughts a little bit.

Q. You talk about being happy and frustrated and having the competitive juices flowing and all that. Is it any different in your 40s as opposed to your 30s or 20s?

TOM LEHMAN: No, it's no fun finishing 2nd.

Q. No more philosophical now

TOM LEHMAN: No, it's just no fun finishing 2nd. You play to win. I feel like I did it, so in some way I'm proud of myself. I played to win. I didn't back off, I didn't get come if I out there. I tried on every shot and I was committed on every shot and I played to win, I just didn't win.

Q. Is it hard, given that you haven't won in six years and opportunities don't come along very often, is it hard to swallow or do you look at it as a positive?

TOM LEHMAN: You know, sometimes guys just play better. I usually can handle a second place if I don't beat myself. If somebody else beats me then you've got to kind of tip your hat. That's kind of what happened today; Dean won the golf tournament.

Q. Can you talk about I believe it was 15 maybe where the tee shot hit the looked like it hit a cameraman, what happened there?

TOM LEHMAN: I hit a 3 wood and it was right on the borderline where if it just carried a little bit, it would have been way down there for just a little flip, or it could have been in the rough. But it hit the tripod, I think, and bounced way backwards. Instead of hitting a 3 wood and an 80 yard lob wedge, I had 170 something to the pin. I'm not sure if it was a good break, a bad break or what because the tee shot had the chance to be pretty good. Of course it had a chance to be pretty bad, too. But I kind of feel like hitting 3 wood off that tee would get me past all those big trees where I could still make a par.

Q. Little consolation, but if it was a stroke play tournament you would have won by a shot.

TOM LEHMAN: Is that right? What did I shoot?

Q. 275.

TOM LEHMAN: Yeah, I played pretty well. I didn't make a lot of bogeys. I made a lot of birdies. From start to finish it was pretty solid.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Tom, thank you very much.

End of FastScripts.

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