June 3, 1999
LEE PATTERSON: Very impressive start. Just a couple comments about today, then we'll open it up for questions.
LEE JANZEN: It's an excellent start. I'm a little upset with myself on 18 for making a bogey. I played the whole day so well and hit so many good shots. Any time you're leading after the first round it has to be a good day. I'm only a fourth of the way through and I think it's just a good start. I don't think it's too much to get excited about yet.
LEE PATTERSON: Any questions?
Q. What happened on 18? Take us through it.
LEE JANZEN: I thought I had enough club and I thought I hit my shot far enough to get it on the green past the pin. But my whole idea was to try to land the ball between the bunker and the pin. There's only about five steps there. That was probably my mistake right there. I didn't give myself any room for error. I hit fairly solid, just about three yards too far short. I should have been thinking to land it to the pin, let it go past the pin, take my chances on a longer downhill putt. I was trying to hit a perfect shot and make another birdie. I cost myself a shot by doing that.
Q. What did you hit and how far were you when you hit it?
LEE JANZEN: I had 158 yards, 7-iron. It was in between clubs. Maybe just a hair too far for me to hit 8-iron, I tried to hit an easy 7-iron. That might be why it seemed like the wind pushed down instead of riding and carrying. A lot of times when you're hitting with the wind behind you you have to hit a full shot to make the ball stay in the air.
Q. You said last week that you were near being back to your U.S. Open form. Does this indicate that you have reached that form?
LEE JANZEN: No. But close. I want to be this far away when I get on the tee two weeks from now, on Thursday, at Pinehurst. I want to be one inch away. I don't want to be there before then. I want to wait until then. So no matter how I play this week, I'm still going to tell myself I have at least an inch more to improve.
Q. Is it easy to fall into that trap where you're playing so well all day, you make so many birdies, you get to 18 and you say, oh, I can make one more?
LEE JANZEN: It does happen. I mean the game is very mental out there, the things you think about before you hit. And I know better. But that doesn't mean -- even the greatest players in the world make those mistakes. Jack Nicklaus will admit he's probably made mistakes on the course before and he's probably the greatest player of all time.
Q. Lee, Justin Leonard said he didn't view this as a tune-up or warm up for the Open in any way. What's your take on this tournament? Are you thinking about the Open at all during this week?
LEE JANZEN: Yeah, I am a little bit. I think it's a great tournament in itself. I don't think it's really a -- I don't think it should be viewed as a warmup. You could almost call it a mini major. I think it's a great field. I think everybody here would love to win this tournament and love to have it on their list. Whether it's two weeks before the U.S. Open, a month before or at the end of the year, I think guys would play here no matter what and be very excited about playing here. I think it's an outstanding field. If you were to win here, I think you could give yourself some sort of gauge that you got to be one of the guys to look at going to the U.S. Open anyway.
Q. You talked yesterday about when you were asked about the changes in the course this year and there's names on the leaderboard today, got straight hitters that usually aren't on the leaderboard. I wondered if you thought coming in here this year that you might have a better chance to finish better than you normally do because of the changes they've made?
LEE JANZEN: I like the wide fairways when we played here before. But when it's soft, it doesn't do any good. The fairways were wider because it's supposed to play really fast. So, yes, I was excited when they were narrowing some of the fairways. I also like to see it play really fast. I like conditions when they're hard and fast.
Q. You like to forecast then also, right?
LEE JANZEN: Yeah. I liked what we played at at the Colonial and Byron Nelson and last week, the Kemper by Sunday.
Q. With all the birdies today, does this reflect a new Lee Janzen? Is this something you've worked on? Is it something we can look forward to now or are you still going to make par a good score?
LEE JANZEN: I just got the ball close to the hole enough time and capitalized every time. I don't think it's an indication of how the course will play by Sunday. I don't think you'll see shooting 5 to 8-under every day to win the tournament. I think the scores will come back a little bit. It's just a good start and gives me an opportunity to shoot where I don't have to shoot one of these rounds to catch up tomorrow.
Q. You miss three fairways and two greens today?
LEE JANZEN: I missed three fairways, probably more greens than that. I missed 18, 17 and 16, so three. Probably from the fringe a couple times. I probably missed six greens even though I only chipped four times.
Q. I know that your real coachable. I wonder how recently you've seen Rick Smith and what kind of work you're doing with him right now.
LEE JANZEN: I saw him yesterday on the range for a couple hours -- maybe not that long, maybe about an hour. He just had a short time, he came down. The owner of his golf course at Tree Tops died earlier this week. They had a memorial service Tuesday, and then they had a funeral today. So he was not able to be here as much as he wanted to be. He always likes being here at this tournament.
Q. And your coachability, how does he handle you? Like now and then within two weeks of the Open?
LEE JANZEN: I try and play far enough in advance. We saw each other before I went to the Byron Nelson. He came down and we worked for a couple days then. And that was, you know, if there was anything major to be done, that's when we did it. Hopefully these four weeks I can work it into my game before we got to the U.S. Open.
Q. How are you doing with whatever you've been working on?
LEE JANZEN: We're working on my posture, setup. If I can just perfect that, every time I step up to the ball, it makes my backswing easier. I go through the same faults all the time. My backswing gets outside a little bit, the club comes around, in the way, and I don't clear good enough. When I do that, I miss the shots. When I don't do those things, I hit the ball well.
Q. I wondered if you could just introduce your helper up here.
LEE JANZEN: My helper here, this is Connor. Can you wave, Connor?
LEE PATTERSON: Let's go through your birdies for us.
LEE JANZEN: Driver and 6-iron on 2 to 8 feet. 3, rescue club off the tee and then a pitching wedge to about 6 feet.
LEE PATTERSON: Five?
LEE JANZEN: 5, I hit a driver in -- laid up with a 5-iron and then hit a sand wedge 3 feet.
LEE PATTERSON: 7?
LEE JANZEN: 7, driver, 3-wood on the back edge of the green, 2 putts from about 40 feet.
LEE PATTERSON: 9?
LEE JANZEN: 9, 3-wood and a 9-iron to about 8 feet. 10, I hit a driver and a 4-iron to about 12 feet.
LEE PATTERSON: 11?
LEE JANZEN: 11, I hit a 3-wood off the tee, laid up with a 4-iron and hit a pitching wedge that I think lipped out because it was about this far away, to the left of the hole. So it was just a matter of inches away. 15, I hit a driver and a 3-wood. Just short of the green, right about at the front edge in the rough and then chipped it to about 6 feet and hit it.
Q. Lee, how long was the second putt at 7, 2-putt birdie?
LEE JANZEN: 2-and-a-half, 3 feet.
Q. Lee, when you go over this round and you hit shots like you hit them so close, is it understandable you would do what you did at the 18th hole, take that kind of chance. You said you only had 5 paces, right?
LEE JANZEN: I'm assuming to hit the ball the exact yardage I expected to. Just the same, there was a back stop behind the hole. I could have flown it to the hole a couple yards past.
Q. You got 8 birdie putts inside 10 feet according to what you said. Did you miss any?
LEE JANZEN: No. The one putt I made on 10 was about 12 feet. So every putt I had inside of 10 feet today I made. And the bogey I made on 18 was about a 15-footer. It was a pretty tough putt though, downhill. I had some 15, 20-footers that I hit good putts on. I didn't make them.
Q. You didn't have any saves? Or did you?
LEE JANZEN: Let's see... Oh, yeah. I missed the 4th green, short and left of the bunker. High rough, I hit it about a foot from the hole and then got up-and-down on the bunker. On 17, hit about 2-and-a-half feet there.
Q. That rescue, what club does that replace?
LEE JANZEN: My 2-iron. It's Taylor Made, has a 15 degree, 18 degree and 21 degree, I think they might even have a 24 degree. It's like a 1, 2, 3, 4-iron you can replace. It goes better than my 2-iron if I hit both of them perfect. It goes higher. I can fade it, draw it, hit it out of the rough, use it off the tee. It's a great club.
LEE PATTERSON: Anything else?
Q. 26 putts is not bad, is it? About average?
LEE JANZEN: That's pretty good. I'd take that every round.
Q. I might have missed this yesterday, I know you're going to play a lot of golf next week. Are you thinking of going to Pinehurst?
LEE JANZEN: I am going to go to Pinehurst.
Q. For a day or two?
LEE JANZEN: Yeah, for a day. I haven't decided what I'm going to do, if I'm going to go home and come up or go there on the way home. But I'm definitely going to go one day.
Q. What do you need to gain most from that trip?
LEE JANZEN: Get the course in my mind, then when I'm practicing at home, I can hit some shots that I think I need. Visualize them on the range. I read a long time ago Tom Watson used to also play the holes on the range in his mind. And it's helpful.
Q. Lee, when do you start focusing on the Open? We always talk about the Doral being the build up to Augusta. When does it officially begin for you?
LEE JANZEN: I guess I would seriously start preparing for it -- this year I would say when I got home from Italy, which would have been the same week as the Houston Open this year.
Q. What do you start doing? Is it mental? Shots you work on?
LEE JANZEN: This year I just tried to make sure I did my fundamentals, I did my grip, setup, posture, stance. I just want to make sure I'm doing those things well. That way -- I don't want to get to the week of the U.S. Open and have to do something that I feel is major in my swing. And waste a lot of energy working on my swing instead of just playing the golf course and getting, you know, playing rhythm, where I'm just playing golf.
Q. What exactly happened when you were in that accident at the Colonial?
LEE JANZEN: I was just sitting at a light, Monday afternoon. I was going to go find a place to get a hair cut. I was sitting in the middle lane, there was three cars on both sides of me, nobody behind me. It was just like a perfect bowling alley form. But it was raining quite hard and he said his brakes were hit well in advance, nothing happened. It sounds like his brakes got wet. I didn't hear anything. I didn't look in the rearview mirror to see if he was going to hit me either. If I did, I might have gone forward to avoid it.
Q. How fast was he going?
LEE JANZEN: There were no skid marks. I don't know if we could actually tell. Maybe there's some way -- how much the trunk was dented. I think 25, 30 miles an hour.
Q. Did you go to a hospital? How bad were you hurt?
LEE JANZEN: I felt some numbness in my back, my neck. I felt okay, like I could swing a club right there and play right then. I knew that two days from then I couldn't move. So the tournament organizers took me to the hospital and whisked me right through. We did X-rays and found no damage at all to anything that they could tell by X-rays. And the doctor had me do some bending, there wasn't anything -- I didn't need to do an MRI. I was going to wait and see how stiff I was. Tuesday, I could swing about 70 percent, and Wednesday I got better. And I figured since I got better on Wednesday that I was going to improve again on Thursday and I'd be okay.
Q. Has it affected your preparation at all? For Pinehurst?
LEE JANZEN: Maybe slightly. I came off Byron Nelson playing well. I probably would have just practiced pretty good on Tuesday, hitting a lot of wedge shots and working on my tempo and my setup again. But instead, I didn't do anything for three days. I feel like maybe I went backwards a tiny bit. But, you know, after shooting a round today, I can erase that and feel pretty good about what's going on.
LEE PATTERSON: Thank you. We appreciate your time.
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