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August 8, 2005

Lee Janzen


JULIUS MASON: Lee Janzen, ladies and gentlemen, joining us at the 87th PGA Championship. He's a little familiar with this property, being the 1993 U.S. Open Champion. He is playing in his 13th PGA Championship.

Lee, welcome back to Baltusrol. Was there a tear in your eye when you came back on the property?

LEE JANZEN: No. But I would say it has been it's different and definitely enjoyable to be able to come back here knowing that I have won a tournament on this course. I guess thinking about that today, and Masters winners, they go back and relive it at the same place every year, and the other courses, obviously U.S. Open takes long breaks in between, the British Open breaks are shorter. But to be able to come back to a place where I've won a big tournament on is special.

JULIUS MASON: When did you get to town?

LEE JANZEN: I got here yesterday.

JULIUS MASON: Have you played the golf course yet?

LEE JANZEN: I played this morning.



JULIUS MASON: Memories, look the same?

LEE JANZEN: Little things here and there were different, but I think there's a few more bunkers than I remember. And the course is very long. They've added yardage just on nearly every hole since we were here 12 years ago. Some holes maybe five yards, but every hole has been lengthened at least a couple yards.

Q. Lee, could you specifically talk about the lengthening of the 17th hole and how that will play this week? I'm sure that's a popular topic now that it's 650 yards, and do you think anyone will be able to reach that in two?

LEE JANZEN: I think somebody could. We'd have to have dry conditions the rest of the week and a favorable wind, but I don't expect anybody that hits it in my range to reach it. It would have to be one of the longer guys.

Still, you have to be able to hit it 360 yards off the tee to have 270 to the front. So, you know, that's a long way. We can hit it 360 yards when the fairways is really fast and the wind is behind you. That would take a lot right now. The fairways are very lush, very soft, and the balls are not rolling. A lot would have to change.

Q. Has the technology since '93, whatever changes they made to the course in terms of length, is that not enough to combat the changes in technology since then?

LEE JANZEN: Well, in '93 it was very hot. I believe we were in the 100 degree temperature up until Saturday anyway, and it was very dry and fast. So the course played pretty short for its yardage then, and now they've lengthened it and it's very soft. So even though technology has advanced how far we hit the ball considerably, I think it's playing longer now on top of that.

I hit a lot longer clubs to all the greens today than I remember.

Q. I'll throw two at you. First of all, could you just talk about the excitement that there might be down the stretch with the two par 5 holes and what that might mean for somebody that was two or three down with a couple holes to play? And secondly, what is it about this course with the scoring records at the Open over the years; Nicklaus did it twice and then you tied him. Are the greens flatter or less shape to them?

LEE JANZEN: Well, I don't know what the conditions were in '67 or '80, but I know in '93, being hot, it really zapped the rough. Normally the rough is very thick during a U.S. Open, but the heat really thinned it out and we were able to play the ball out of the rough and get it on the greens a lot of times, and the greens are flat, considering it's a major championship site.

But they're very big, and they can still be tricky. There's enough break in them, little knobs here and there. I really don't know why it worked out that way for the scoring record.

Since then, Tiger had a chance to break it at Pebble Beach, and then Jim Furyk also at Olympia Fields. If I was going to predict a score this week, I would think single digits would be a great score, anything under par. Even though it's playing long, because it's soft, the greens are soft and they're in great shape, so there will still be some birdies made, some putts made.

And as far as par 5s go, there's four of them on the front nine (laughter). But 18 is really your best legitimate chance at a birdie because you can knock it on in two. There aren't any 3 wood wedge holes out there. Not for me anyway.

Q. How has your life changed since you won a major here, and how do you think the game of golf has changed over the years?

LEE JANZEN: It certainly has changed the game of golf. We played balata balls back then. Now we play solid, multi construction, double cover solid balls that go forever. My driver head would be the size of today's 3 wood 12 years ago. You know, the fairways are a lot narrower, and it's probably because of the advances in equipment. We hit the ball further and straighter, so we seem to be playing courses that are a lot tighter.

Obviously Tiger Woods starting to play professional golf has changed the perception of golf. It seems to be a lot more hip to play golf now than it was 12 years ago, certainly a lot more attention at every tournament that he plays in. We sell out every week he plays.

If you've been out on the course yet, the walk from the 16th hole to 18, the massive tents out there and all the corporate areas, it's great to see that people want to be here this week.

Q. How has your life changed?

LEE JANZEN: Well, I don't know what my life would be like had I not won, but I know that after winning the U.S. Open, I went from not being recognized to being recognized off the golf course, which was a big adjustment. I guess that would be the best way to put it.

I'm a fairly shy guy. Shy people usually don't pick a sport like this where you're playing in front of people, but it just turned out that I love golf and played well enough to get on the Tour.

Q. Despite the length, does 17 almost become an equal challenge for long hitters and short hitters because almost everyone has to play in three shots?

LEE JANZEN: The 17th hole? It's all going to be on the drive. Because of the cross bunkers, if you don't drive the ball in the fairway, getting over the cross bunkers is going to be a real challenge. I don't know how long a shot it is from short of the bunkers. I think it's a pretty long shot. I would think that it's going to be a wood and maybe a long iron from there. The big hitters have the advantage there. If they miss the fairway, they can probably get over the cross bunkers, and the short hitters, they usually hit it straight anyway. It's the medium hitters that have to drive it straight on that hole.

I usually hit driver and 4 wood and a wedge, and today I hit a driver and a 2 iron and a 9 iron. So it turns out the length is playing pretty similar to what it was in '93 for me. I'm not going to reach it anyway, and I'm going to lay it up to probably the same spot.

Q. We were talking to Darren earlier about him missing the U.S. Open because of his wife's illness. Is there any situation involving difficulties at home, such as an illness that present certain problems to golfers that maybe athletes in team sports don't have? If you don't have any home games or a home stay pretty much, and if you take the time off, it's costing you and what you'd have to do; there's no such thing as paid time off. Do golfers have a little bit different situation to deal with when that type of thing comes up within a family?

LEE JANZEN: You see from time to time in team sports where a player will leave the team for a few days because of a funeral or something, birth of a child. With golf we get to make our own schedules so we're usually pretty flexible.

But as far as a major championship, usually you do see guys withdraw from time to time. I know Nick Price takes time to be with his family at the end of the summer and it's very important to him to be with his family. Knowing that he's won this championship twice, it's probably got to be a tough decision, but it probably took some courage to do it the first time, but he probably feels good about it.

As far as the concentration level if something is going on at home, a family illness or other problems, I think it affects players differently. Sometimes that's just what you need to be able to concentrate better on the course because you kind of get away from your problems, to get inside the ropes and concentrate on golf, and then other times it's virtually impossible to concentrate. It just affects guys differently.

Q. After you beat Payne Stewart here, how did your friendship evolve over the years, and is that relationship something that's going to be on your mind this week?

LEE JANZEN: I did think about him a little bit today because I played with him in the last round in '93.

I was just getting to know him in 1993 when we played together. Then the rest of that year we spent time playing practice rounds, played in the Ryder Cup together, so that's a good week to get to know your fellow players because we generally don't hang out that closely together until we play the Ryder Cup. We're staying in the same hallway, hanging out in the same room, eating dinner, practice rounds, whatever; so that's a good week to get to know your fellow players.

Playing the course today, I'm telling my caddie, who didn't caddie for me then, shots that he hit, shots that I hit and how the last round was going. And certainly I probably will have some thoughts about him and his family. But that's not unusual. That happens a lot. I see his son and his wife quite often when I'm home.

Q. You talked earlier about Tiger's impact since you won here in 1993. Can you speak to what it's like, the dynamic when he's playing this summer for the rest of the field, especially in majors which he clearly targets so quickly?

LEE JANZEN: I couldn't understand.

Q. When Tiger is playing can you speak to the dynamic of the rest of the people in the field, what happens to them when they see him playing so well, especially when he gears his game toward the majors, what that's like for the rest of the field, any added thing you go through to prepare for a tournament like this?

LEE JANZEN: Well, I think we'd all agree that his best stretch of golf up until now was '99 and 2000 when he won six in a row and seemed to just lap the field. There definitely was a perception if he was in the field he was going to win, at that time.

I think the perception now is that he is still the guy to beat, but it's not that I don't think guys think it's a given that he is going to win, but he is definitely the player to beat.

You know, when he would throw up a low score the first day at, say, the U.S. Open in 2000, I think most guys in the field thought it was over even before they teed off.

You know, he just thinks differently than the rest of us do. I mean, you could see that when he first started playing, and I think everybody just kind of said, well, we never saw that one coming, (laughing), and we've been playing catch up ever since.

Q. Lee, I think you may have alluded to it earlier, but because of the lengthening of the course and then the conditions now as compared to '93, do you throw out the yardage book or is it fairly similar?

LEE JANZEN: Did I throw out I'm sorry?

Q. The yardage book.

LEE JANZEN: My old one?

Q. Yeah.

LEE JANZEN: I just transferred every pertinent piece of information that I had in my old book into my new one. There's also a number of new bunkers on the golf course, right on 8, right on 18. Anywhere else? I'm sure there's another bunker somewhere out there.

Q. What's the one shot you executed successfully under pressure in '93 that you would most like to duplicate this week if you're in the hunt?

LEE JANZEN: Wow, there's a lot of them. I mean, to win a major championship you've got to hit a lot of good ones.

I would think it would be hard to pick one out. I guess the last shot I hit. I hit a 4 iron on the green for my third shot. I hope I don't have to chip out and hit a 4 iron to the last green, but it would be a great feeling to be in the fairway on the last hole and knock it on the green and give myself a chance to make a putt to win the tournament.

JULIUS MASON: Thanks for coming down, Lee.

LEE JANZEN: Thank you.

End of FastScripts.

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