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March 11, 2005

Lee Janzen


JOHN BUSH: Lee, thanks for coming by, 8-under par, 64, nice playing today.

LEE JANZEN: Thank you.

JOHN BUSH: Just get some comments on your round if we can.

LEE JANZEN: Pretty much all happened there between 2 and 8. After I made the turn, I felt good about coming down -- I had the last two weeks on. I came down here thinking I had the chance to play well. I played well here last year. Yesterday I played thinking that I was going to shoot a good score, a little bit more challenging yesterday, and 69, birdied the last three holes, that was a good way to end and carried momentum into today. I didn't seem to really be doing anything until I made the turn. You know, once a couple of putts went in, they just started all going in.

JOHN BUSH: Have you had a streak like that recently that you can remember?

LEE JANZEN: Not recently, no, not that I can remember. It's nice to have two par 5s in a row that are reachable, I made an eagle on one of them and had birdies, also, to go there with them. After I teed off 9, I looked at my card and figured I had to be close to shooting 29, so just added up to see what I needed to make. I was kind of surprised that I was 7-under for the nine holes and didn't really even realize it. I guess if you're going to ask a sports psychologist, they would love to hear that I was not keeping track of my score and just trying to hit my shots.

JOHN BUSH: Let's go through your card starting with the birdie on No. 11.

LEE JANZEN: I hit two good shots on 10 and had about an 8-footer and missed it. So my thought on 11 was to make sure that I hit a good shot off the tee there, not to let that worry me. So anyways, I hit a good 3-iron and had about 18 feet and made a birdie there.

13, I drove it in the fairway bunker, hit it short of the green, I did not have a very hard chip shot, but I chipped it past the hole about 12 feet and missed it coming back.

17, I hit a driver and my utility club pin-high right of the green and chipped it five felt past the hole and made that.

2, I hit driver and a 9-iron, made a 15-footer or so.

4, driver, sand wedge and eight feet.

5, driver, 4-iron, 20 feet.

6, driver, utility club and I 2-putted from 35 feet. Second putt was about five feet and I hit it by the hole. I was trying to make two eagles in a row. A little aggressive.

7, driver, pitching wedge, four feet.

8, 5-iron and then made a 25-footer.

Q. On 1 and 3, did you have birdie putts on those holes?

LEE JANZEN: Yes. 1, I had a 20-footer that I actually hit it really good. Hit it on the right line, but just hit it too hard and rolled through the break, three feet past the hole. If it was the right speed, it would have gone in.

3, hit it past the pin left, almost made it, but it was a very fast putt from the back left of the green and one that you would just be happy to 2-putt, but I just putted it down there a couple of inches from the hole.

Q. How far was the first putt?

LEE JANZEN: 35 feet.

Q. Your history is that you play well on courses where par is a good score. Have you at any time been prone to streaks like this or has it been mostly, like I said, playing the tough courses well?

LEE JANZEN: I've had some low scores at some courses over the years. It's been a while, though. I think I had a 64 at Heron Bay and that was a course record at one time. Usually you don't spread them out that often. When you shoot 64, there's probably a stretch of holes where you make four or five birdies in a role row or five birdies in seven holes or something. 7-under in seven holes is that what that is?

JOHN BUSH: 7-under in six holes.

LEE JANZEN: I don't think I've ever done anything better than that. Not even just goofing off. 7-under for six holes, I know one time my home course when I was in college, Disney one year I think I remember birdieing, 6-under for six holes starting out the tournament. Disney, you're used to seeing somebody do that there.

Q. You had a Top-10 here last year, is there something about this course that suits you or that you feel comfortable with?

LEE JANZEN: I didn't play very well the first day last year. I'm not exactly sure what I shot. I don't know if anybody's got that score. Had I shot under par the first day last year, I think I would have won the tournament. But I enjoy the challenge of the course. It's a second-shot course, totally, that you've really got to think your way around the course. The greens are soft right now in comparison, but I'm sure they are going to dry out from all the rain we had Wednesday. I'm sure it's going to be more challenging this weekend.

I just like the challenge of having to think your way around the golf course where you always have to guard against missing in the wrong spot and always trying to play to the proper spot. You know, sometimes that's short of the hole and sometimes that's right of the hole or wherever; you just have to play the proper shot all the time instead of just firing at the pin.

Q. If your score was to hold and you remained the leader, when is the last time you've been a leader after the second round?

LEE JANZEN: I don't know.

Q. You talk about you like to think your way around, has the change in the nature of the game with technology and so many bombers out here, has that hurt you in that shot-making isn't as rewarded as it used to be?

LEE JANZEN: It's certainly a big discussion quite often. Does it seem like shot-making is as much of a requirement? It doesn't seem like it is. Certainly hitting fairways doesn't seem to be much of a requirement anymore. It just amazes me, seeing the stats of the top 5 guys in the world that they don't hit half the fairways and they dominate. And they play at a great level, there's no doubt, they shoot great scores on hard courses. To say that they are not shot-makers is kind of crazy because they are obviously doing something right. Because even if they drive it in the rough, they still have to hit a good shot to get it near the hole.

To bring back more shots, shot-making, if that's what we want to call it, I think the ground needs to be a lot firmer and the greens need to be a lot harder. Not necessarily do we need a lot of rough, and I certainly don't think we need to lengthen the courses to 7,500 yards. I just think that firm ground with hazards off the fairways and around the greens, it equalizes everything.

Q. This course, if it had not rained, could play really firm; would you have liked it firmer?

LEE JANZEN: Oh, yeah. I remember last year's Pro-Am, the course was nearly impossible. I think they watered the course during the evenings just to get it to where it was for the tournament. Last year I don't remember being able to fly it back to the hole and spin it at all. You're just trying to get it near the hole just to give yourself a 2-putt.

Q. So you would like it to dry out for the weekend then?

LEE JANZEN: If it does, that's fine. If it doesn't, that's fine. Still the same game plan: Try to hit it in the fairway and hit as good of a shot into the green and make the putt. That's what everybody else is going to be trying to do, so that's all I can do.

Q. In the past few years have you had any sense of impatience or frustration with not having won lately?

LEE JANZEN: You know, I think even after I won, the next week, I think I finished third, I was impatient that I didn't win the next week. So it doesn't last long after you win a tournament, you become impatient wanting to win again.

It's been very frustrating. I've given myself some opportunities, but not enough, but I think that I haven't given up hope.

Q. Is there something more or less in common with why you haven't won?

LEE JANZEN: Putting. Putting was really -- it got to the point where it ruined the rest of my game. I'd get myself in contention and realize that I have to play it perfect from tee-to-green to have a chance. And then when I wouldn't, and then, you know, with the putting, I had no confidence in my putting. It would just -- there was a lot of bad rounds on Saturdays and Sundays when I was in contention.

You know, nobody's perfect. It can happen to anybody. But I've worked very hard on my putting for the last ten months or so, and I feel really good about my putting and think that I'm putting about as well as I've ever putted in my career.

Q. What putter are you using right now, and did you change putters frequently and did you ever tinker with the Claw or anything like that?

LEE JANZEN: No. I tried -- I changed grips, left-hand low for a while, went back and forth. I guess the biggest change, I'm using an Odyssey White Hot #5 with a steel insert right now, center-shafted. The biggest change is I lengthened my putter about four and a half inches and stood up more to allow my forearms to rotate more, because I was so bent over, my shoulders were tilting the wrong way.

Q. Is it a 35 or 36?

LEE JANZEN: 36 and a half. I had to change my entire style because it I was so bent over. I stood up, and that took a couple of months just to get used standing the way I was standing and the whole concept of using my shoulders more instead of my hands. But I've gotten used to it and I'm putting much better and it's showed. I feel like I've putted well all year.

Q. When did you switch to the longer putter?

LEE JANZEN: Last May. Wachovia was my first tournament using the longer putter.

Q. Did you work with anybody on your putting?

LEE JANZEN: Pat O'Brien has helped me quite a bit. Mike Hicks, my caddie was helpful. Stan Utley, I worked with him, too. He's a great instructor of putting.

Q. A lot of players kind of take this week as one to take off for the tournaments that follow. It seemed like you pointed toward it; you took a couple of weeks off and played well last year. Is this one that you circle on the calendar?

LEE JANZEN: I'm definitely going to play Bay Hill, a home tournament; PLAYERS Championship; and Atlanta is another tournament I've played well in the last few years. After playing well -- I really had not decided whether I was going to skip Atlanta or Doral, because I knew I was going to play here. And I played better in Atlanta, so I decided to skip Doral instead. Four in a row is about as much as I can handle.

Q. You said it's important it get the ball in the right spot here. Can you give an example where the green looks inviting from the fairway, but if you put it in the wrong spot, you're really going to pay for it?

LEE JANZEN: You can do that on just about any hole out here.

Q. Because of the collection areas?

LEE JANZEN: Right. It's not impossible to get it in some of the spots; it's just more difficult. With the greens being softer, it definitely has made it less penalizing to miss in the wrong spot.

15, the par 3, you know, it's a very narrow, long green. If you miss to the right, it's a very difficult chip shot to any of the pins. It's not any easier missing left of the green. It's just one you want to hit on the green. So you're more concerned about hitting straight than you are hitting it exactly the right distance.

Q. Nobody wins two U.S. Opens and a PLAYERS under the conditions that you won that year without making some putts. You knew you had won three world-class tournaments where you had to make some putts that week, so had you already proven that you could do it under most conditions?

LEE JANZEN: I would say that my overall game at the first U.S. Open was steady. I did everything well. I drove it well and put the irons in the right spot, chipped great and holed a reasonable amount of putts.

TPC, same thing. That was probably the best I played four continuous days.

And Olympic, really, was my ball-striking more than anything. I had two days I putted well there but two days I putted poorly. But I guess I putted well enough; I shouldn't say that I putted that bad. But that's about the time my putting, I guess the struggles started creeping in. '98, THE PLAYERS Championship, I was leading on last day. Houston, I had a lead on the last day, and then the U.S. Open, I played well. .

Q. Was there a distance or a type of putt that was giving you the most trouble?

LEE JANZEN: The short ones are the ones that kill you. You start missing short ones, and then you start trying to not even make the longer ones because you don't want to leave yourself a short one. That's a huge change, starting last year, once I started feeling better about my putting, I started trying to make 25-footers again and didn't care if I ran them three feet by, just felt like I'd make them coming back. I still occasionally missed one here or there, but it didn't shake my confidence trying to keep making the other ones. Whereas before I would not even try to make a putt unless I was close. Only way I would make a birdie is if I hit it two feet from the hole. It's pretty hard to win a tournament when you've got to hit it inside two feet 27 times, I guess, to win a tournament when you're putting like that.

Q. Had you always been more of a hunched-over putter earlier in your career and this standing up straight is something new or?

LEE JANZEN: I don't think I've stood up this tall. I don't know if just through time I started hunching over more and more and more, but I had I had a shorter putter because I wanted my arms to hang. But I guess I got hunched over so far that it just defeated the purpose.

Q. Last year's Honda, were you kicking yourself on the weekend for not being in contention for having that slow start?

LEE JANZEN: Well, it didn't even look like I was going to make the cut after the first day, and Friday I had a great day. I birdied the first three holes, I remember that, and that immediately put me back on the cut line, and then I kept making birdies. I don't even remember what I shot on Friday last year. Does anybody know? You guys don't do any homework? (Laughter.)

It was a -- I think I had like 76-65 or something like that last year to start off. Might not even be close, maybe it was 66. I know that I was 9-under with three holes to play on Sunday and 10-under was leading at the time. So I know I came from a long way away.

Q. Are you still working with Rick Smith?

LEE JANZEN: Yeah, I haven't seen him in a while, though.

Q. What happened the first day last year?

LEE JANZEN: Last year, I just played poorly. Didn't putt very well. It's hard to putt good and shoot 4-over though. Although it does happen once in awhile.

JOHN BUSH: Thanks for coming by.

End of FastScripts.

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