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July 9, 2009

Lee Janzen


DOUG MILNE: Lee Janzen, thanks for joining us for a few minutes after round 1 of the John Deere Classic. Very positive round it was, 7-under 64. You talked out there about an added confidence as one of the primary keys to playing better. Can you just comment on that a little further?
LEE JANZEN: Well, my game was definitely not very good for a while, so I would say that I had about as little bit of confidence as you could have and still play. I worked very hard for three years on my swing, re-doing everything basically with Mike Bender, and I knew I was making progress, I knew I was doing better on the range and practice rounds, but still, the confidence wasn't there. I had to see results in a tournament. You can't get the results until you have confidence, but I was waiting on the results.
But eventually I knew a decent round would come here and there. So it's been growing and growing and growing, and Hilton Head I think was a huge factor. Even though I had a chance to finish 2nd by myself and finished tied for 4th, I was not dejected at all because I knew there was going to be skill a lot more good rounds to come and good tournaments. So I felt like that tournament is probably -- I can look back at that someday and say that was the turning point; finally I got over whatever hurdle I need to get past.

Q. Does the confidence you talked about allow you to think less between shots? Has it freed you to flow better?
LEE JANZEN: Well, you've always thinking of something. Confidence just allows you to think about the right stuff. Whatever you focus on is what's going to happen, so if you're looking at where you're not going to hit it because you don't really know which way it's going, left or right. The only focus when you're hitting it good and you're confident is which side of the fairway am I going to hit it in.
That's the whole thing with golfers. You never think about where you don't want to go, you always just think about where you want to go. So your expectation level that you're going to hit it where you think you're going to hit it is pretty high.

Q. What would it mean to pull this one out?
LEE JANZEN: It would be exciting, but you know -- I would love to win. If it doesn't happen this week, I still think that I'm capable of winning, and it won't stop me from continuing to work on my game to get better and put myself in position.
The better I get at every aspect of the game, the better my chances are that when I get in the hunt again that I'll perform properly.

Q. What's it like playing as a non-exempt player, and how do you feel being able to kind of sneak in, in a manner of speaking, to be first alternate?
LEE JANZEN: I got in the field by five, by the way. Five people got in behind me.
Playing out of past champion category, you look every year how many people get into certain tournaments, so I felt very confident I was going to get in this tournament. There are certain tournaments, though, you're going to be borderline, but I planned on playing here. We can look at the commitment sheet two, three weeks out and get a pretty good idea of how it's going to be.

Q. Does it affect your approach knowing you don't have a guaranteed spot in everything?
LEE JANZEN: Yeah, it's difficult to make your schedule. You know, you've got to be -- if I was four or five spots back in the past champion category, it's even harder. Fortunately I'm the first one in line right now. I played well at Hilton Head, and that has a lot to do with it because I'm ahead of all the other guys in that category.
We get reshuffled at every major and we have another one coming up, so another good tournament is going to keep me in this spot. Say two guys passed me, then that would be two more people ahead of me.
Right now I'm just trying to have a good tournament. Whatever tournament I'm playing in, do as well as I can because the FedExCup is coming up, those playoffs. It doesn't matter what your status is for that, all that matters is where you are on the list. Right now I'm in the first one and the second one if I stay right where I am. The better I do now, the better chance I have of getting all the way through to the final one, and that's really the goal, to be in the Top 30.

Q. When is the last time you found yourself in this position, leading a tournament?
LEE JANZEN: Hilton Head, I guess. It's only Thursday. It's not really...

Q. Talk about the gratification you're getting out of playing so well now. Does it mean more to you to get back to this level with your game in which you're confident than it did to get there the first time?
LEE JANZEN: I go back to expectations. I just expected to do what I did before. I never had a struggle or a challenge like I've gone through the last few years before then. So you know, garbage in, garbage out. So I didn't really have to sift through -- I've got to undo a lot of bad stuff over the last few years on top of rebuilding my swing. It's not just focusing on the right stuff, I've got to get rid of all the other stuff, too, that I never had to worry about before.
My swing wasn't perfect before, but whatever flaws I had, at least it repeated and I knew which way the ball was going every time. And the course is -- losing my swing and then rebuilding, it was a struggle not knowing which way it was going.

Q. How did you find Mike Bender?
LEE JANZEN: He worked with Zach Johnson. I played some practice rounds with Zach, and I just asked him a couple questions and I liked his answers. At the time I was working with Butch Harmon who's in Las Vegas, and it's very difficult to get a lot of time with him when he's Las Vegas and I live in Orlando, plus he's got a lot of players. He tells you right up front, too, that there is a pecking order with him. He's going to work with Adam Scott before he works with me.
So I went to see Mike Bender in hopes that I liked what we were going to work on. Being in the same town, I could go see him whenever I was home as much as I wanted. When I went and saw him, I loved what he said. I knew it was going to be a difficult challenge to do what he was telling me, but it made sense what he told me. So I went for it.

Q. How long ago was that, that you made that transition to Mike?
LEE JANZEN: I guess it was about three and a half years now.

Q. Is it a totally rebuilt swing for you?
LEE JANZEN: I'm still hitting right-handed. Other than that, I think everything is different (laughter). I don't know how different it looks to the eye. But I've got it on my phone, the first day I was there what my swing looked like and what it looks like now, and there's a huge difference. But we're splitting hairs, too; we're talking about the shaft angle being at 45 degrees at three quarters of the way on the downswing instead of 47 degrees or whatever.

Q. Is it a return of the swing that helps you earn confidence?
LEE JANZEN: It's better. I think confidence is your most valuable club in your bag. I think that's obvious with Tiger Woods. You watch him; that's his lethal weapon. It doesn't matter where he hits it, he still thinks the next shot he's going to pull it off.
When you're hitting -- when you're not hitting any fairways, it's hard to have confidence. I always marvel at some of the places he wins tournaments from. And when he's hitting a lot of fairways and greens, we all know pretty much it's going to be a difficult task to beat him.

Q. What do you have to do to be all the way back? Do you have to win again on TOUR? Do you have to be a big-time money winner again?
LEE JANZEN: Yeah, there's some -- it's like starting over in some ways. Just the first thing is when I get out there and I have a good round like this going and I get near the lead, it's just to treat it like it's Tuesday, which I did pretty good today. Execution is really all I'm looking for. It doesn't matter whether I look up and all of a sudden I see I'm leading the tournament or I'm even par. I still want to hit the right shot and execute. That's all I can do.

Q. You do that and you're happy?
LEE JANZEN: Yeah, the more I do that, the better I'll play. The better I play, the less I'll worry about my golf game.
I don't know if there will be a time when I say I'm back or whatever. If I win ten in a row, I'll say I'm back.

Q. How do you find this course?
LEE JANZEN: I think it's really good. I played it before we even played a tournament here in a one-day outing, and I enjoyed it. I thought it was really good.

Q. It's really evolved since then, hasn't it?
LEE JANZEN: Yeah, I personally like playing fast, hard courses so I thought the way it was playing Tuesday was great. But this time of year you're going to get some change in weather and a little bit of rain that softens the course up. But it's the same for everybody, so you just have to deal with it.

Q. You told me a couple years ago, I asked you about being a two-time U.S. Open champion. Is that an open door for you that wouldn't be able to other players, or can it be a monkey on your back of expectations of those around you? How does that work, being a multiple major winner?
LEE JANZEN: I don't think about it maybe as much as maybe somebody else does. If I look back, I'm proud that I did that. I think it's a heck of an accomplishment. Some of the golf I've played over the last couple years, I wonder how the heck I did it.
But I also -- I'm just looking forward basically to playing better, and I want to be in next year's U.S. Open and hopefully have a chance to win. I guess having two of them would mean if I did get close next year that I would feel like I had a pretty good chance of winning because I had already won it twice as opposed to somebody who had not won it.
But as far as opening doors, I don't know. I don't think I've ever gotten any free hot dogs or gotten into a restaurant that was full.

Q. After rounds like this, do you allow yourself to look ahead at all and think about carrying this on to a victory and what that would mean, or do you think of this as Thursday, good round?
LEE JANZEN: Right. I think about what I did right today and why I did it right, and then that's what I want to do tomorrow.

Q. Is it easier now to carry that over into the next round?
LEE JANZEN: I'll have to tell you tomorrow. We'll have to see how it goes. Some days I come out to the course just convinced I'm going to shoot a good score and I don't, and other days nothing feels right and I shoot a good score. That's just the way it goes.

Q. What do you think went most right today?
LEE JANZEN: Well, I showed up expecting to hit it good, and then my warmup session was really good, so I still felt that way. I hit a good drive off the 1st tee. Sometimes it's just your first shot of the day, your rhythm or whatever. And I hit every fairway today, so every time I hit a fairway it was just that much more confidence that I was going to hit it in the next fairway and so on.

Q. Did that change at all with your second shot ending up in a bunker and then thinking --
LEE JANZEN: My iron game has been the best part of my game over the last 20 years, so that's usually not the part I worry about. And my short game has been -- has always helped me, my chipping and bunker play. I chipped in twice today, but if I'm hitting a lot of greens and chip in a couple times when I miss it, that's a great combo.

Q. You mentioned you keep a picture of your old swing on your cell phone. Is that a reminder of what not to do or a motivational thing?
LEE JANZEN: Just the last time I was with Mike in Orlando, he was showing me how far I've come, and I just thought, I'll take a picture of that so I can have it on my phone. More so just to show other guys that are working on their swing, that work with Mike, just to see what they thought. I wasn't thinking to take a picture so I could look at it. But when I do, it's a reminder.
Actually I was getting away from what I saw in that picture in Hartford. I played very well the first day there. I could have shot four or five shots lower easily, and I shot 66. I kind of lost my swing over the next few days and I figured it back out last week, and it's gained momentum since then. But that picture helps, looking at it. I said, okay, I see what I was doing.

End of FastScripts

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