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May 19, 2007

Lee Janzen


JOE CHEMYCZ: We welcome Lee Janzen in with a 5-under par 67 today. Lee, I see here 15 of 18 greens. Obviously hitting the ball pretty solidly. Maybe just talk a little bit about your day.
LEE JANZEN: Well, I thought it was important to start well, you know, just even the opening tee shot. So I was happy to hit a good tee shot, and I just really wanted to make sure I was concentrating on every shot today, just give myself the best chances to hit a good shot all day long. I didn't hit every shot exactly the way I wanted to, but I at least made the effort to. I think it was very helpful to get off to a good start. It's not the end of the world if you don't, but start out just trying to hit good shots.
JOE CHEMYCZ: Three birdies in four holes got you started.
LEE JANZEN: Yeah, three of the first four. All three days I've given myself plenty of opportunities to shoot good scores. It's easy to get frustrated when putts aren't going in or you're not shooting as low as you can. I don't want that to affect my score, so I still feel pretty good about the way that I played.

Q. I talked to Stewart last week and he said he was encouraging people to play here. He said he really encouraged you to come and take an exemption and play. Is that kind of the way it was?
LEE JANZEN: No, no, I wanted to play all along. We were trying to get Dave to give me an exemption quicker, and as it turned out, I got in on my own. But as of last week, I wasn't in the field yet. But I had made reservations at a hotel and planned on coming all along. I've played in this tournament every year since we moved to the new course, and I enjoy the course a lot, especially in May when it's dry and fast.

Q. A lot of people have said this is like a U.S. Open-style speed of greens.
LEE JANZEN: Oh, yeah, they're very firm. They're turning colors out there. There's a good chance that Oakmont's greens won't be as firm as these are right now.

Q. What does it mean to play like you are this week just kind of given the big picture situation with the exemption you used last year, money exemption? What's it been like for you week to week?
LEE JANZEN: Well, it's been a struggle to shoot good scores for a long time. It certainly hasn't been from a lack of effort or desire. You know, bad habits or whatever, attitude needed to change a little bit, whatever I needed to do, I've been working on to try to get better. I felt like good scores were just around the corner and kept telling people that. So it's finally nice to shoot them.

Q. You've been doing this longer than Kuchar, but he talked about the mentality of playing the game. I asked him specifically, because he talked about his attitude, if it was a big picture thing, sometimes he lost sight of the fact that he was getting paid to play golf for a living. He said not really much as much as it was just staying positive on the course because the game can beat you up. Does that make sense? Do you kind of feel that way?
LEE JANZEN: I think that you beat yourself up more than the game beats you up when things don't go well. It's a fine line between the top of the TOUR and the bottom of the TOUR out here. It's really, talent-wise, not a huge difference. It's really more of a mental game. The guys that are struggling to get ahead to the upper half of the TOUR usually beat themselves up probably mentally and they just don't have the same attitude as the guys on top.
The guys on top, they expect to play well every week. That's where you've got to get to. You've got to expect it out of yourself. If you're hitting it sideways, you can't just show up and say I'm going to win this week. Obviously there has to be some sort of skill level to go along with that.

Q. Is it hard to build momentum when you're playing infrequently? You haven't played in a month.
LEE JANZEN: Yeah, three times in ten weeks. Yeah, that's not -- certainly I've never played that sort of schedule in 18 years, or the 17 years before this. I'd prefer to have played more leading into this, but it also has given me time to keep practicing, keep practicing, and my mindset is I've got to take advantage of every tournament I get in. I've got to do my best that week when I'm exempt.
Some weeks you go out, you're not worried about if you miss the cut or where you finish because you know you've got more weeks to play and maybe you're getting your game to peak at the U.S. Open. I know I've got to play well this week.

Q. How well do you know some of these kids on the board?
LEE JANZEN: I haven't even looked at the board much.

Q. Ryuji Imada and Troy Matteson?
LEE JANZEN: Right, I played with Troy a couple times last year before he won. He's in the winners' category now, so he plays with winners. And Ryuji, we run into each other in the locker room - his last name starts with "I" and that's close to "J" - and the fitness trailer from time to time.
I know those guys. I have not played with Ryuji, but they're good guys and I like them. I know Matt; I played with him here when he was in college, I think it was '98. The second year we played the tournament here he played as an amateur and we played together.

Q. How do you find this course in terms of its challenge in May compared to that early April, late March date? How do you like it and what kind of challenges does it present?
LEE JANZEN: Well, it's warmer now so the ball definitely goes further, which means you can take it over some bunkers in some areas and reach par 5s easier. It makes the course play a lot shorter.
But the greens, they're very hard and fast, and I think that it's just -- I think this is the way Greg Norman intended it to play when he designed it, as a hard, fast layout. In March if it rained, it usually rained pretty hard and the course would be pretty soft, and I just didn't think it played the way it was intended to play. It's the same for everybody, it doesn't really matter. I enjoy it when it's hot and dry and fast.

Q. The other factor that changed is the field. The field strength is different. It's no longer a warm-up for The Masters, you don't have the Europeans coming over.

Q. How long do you think it will be, if at all, that the word of this event in May will percolate out to the rest of the TOUR?
LEE JANZEN: I think if it plays like this, a number of the better players that aren't here, the ones that are higher ranked, will come. I think that the field is just going to get better over the years. I think guys like a challenge, they want to see it play tough.
JOE CHEMYCZ: Take us through your birdies starting at No. 1.
LEE JANZEN: No. 1, driver and a pitching wedge, 15 feet. We can't lie about the distance on our putts anymore with this ShotLink stuff. Of course they're not always right, either (laughter).
No. 3, I hit a hybrid off the tee and a sand wedge I'm going to say 12 feet behind the hole, one-putted the green. Obviously that's a birdie.
No. 4, driver in the fairway, 4-iron from the fairway, 18 feet from the hole, two-putted for birdie.
No. 10, driver, I had to lay up out of the rough with an 8-iron and then hit lob wedge from about 70 yards, 15 feet past the hole, for a one-putt birdie.
Bogeyed 12, hooked my 3-wood off the tee into the hazard. It was playable, under some sticks, and I tried to get it back to the fairway. I got it up into the rough, which gave me at least a shot at the green. I hit that on the green about 25, 30 feet past the hole and two-putted for bogey. You know, if I would have took a drop from the hazard I would have had to chip out on the next shot, so that's why I tried to hit it out of the sticks anyway, because I wasn't losing anything.
Then 13, hit driver, four feet from the green on the right side, not quite pin high, and then used my putter probably 30 feet, two-putted, rolled it down just a couple inches away.
And then 16, I hit an 8-iron probably about eight to ten feet from the hole and made that for birdie.
JOE CHEMYCZ: Lee, thank you.

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