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June 2, 1999

Lee Janzen


LEE PATTERSON: Just a fireside chat here.

Q. We're casual today. State of the Union, state of your game.

LEE PATTERSON: Maybe just a couple thoughts heading into the week. I know you have something coming up in a couple more weeks. So then we'll entertain questions.

LEE JANZEN: Okay, let me think of something. This is my fourth week in a row. And my whole plan in the beginning of these four weeks was to get myself ready for the U.S. Open, not that I didn't want to win any of these four tournaments or think that I couldn't, but I certainly was trying to aim my game to be at its peak by the end of this tournament on Sunday or at least close to it, so I could go home and practice on a few things and hopefully be ready for the U.S. Open in two weeks. Some of the things have gone according to plan. Had it not been rear ended in Colonial on the Monday -- but I feel like I'm totally recovered from that. I don't think that has any effect on me now.

Q. How close are you to being ready, do you think, physically and mentally?

LEE JANZEN: Well, I'm a little tired the last couple days. I don't know if that's because I'm down here three straight weeks, made three straight cuts. That might have something to do with it. I feel like I'm working on the right things. If I continue to just try and perfect my posture, set up, make sure my tempo is good, I'm hitting a lot of good shots. Occasionally I hit bad ones, but for the most part I hit good ones.

Q. How is your game right now compared to this stage last year?

LEE JANZEN: I would say it's probably slightly better than last year. I probably have more confidence in my game now than I did a year ago. It was -- this was the Kemper Open last year in the same week. I played pretty good at the Kemper Open, but I had a terrible Saturday. It was probably a lack of confidence that -- the reason why I threw away so many shots on the back 9 that last year. I wasn't patient enough to let a back hole bogey or two just slide by. I was pressing too hard.

Q. There aren't that many players that have won one U.S. Open. You've won a pair of them. Why do you think you play so well under those conditions?

LEE JANZEN: I don't know if I have the right answer. I think I like playing strategy, always playing the smart shot, and I think I control the distance of my irons very well, which I think is very crucial in the U.S. Open, the greens are very hard. I hit the ball pretty high and spin the ball a lot. I'm able to land the ball very close to where I think you need to land it on each green and make it stop. Fortunately, I putted very well both times, too. They weren't my best putting weeks I ever had, but they certainly were very good.

Q. Nick Price has said that he doesn't tend to do very well in tournaments where the scores are extremely low. Do you feel like you're better, you know, you've got a better chance of winning when the conditions are more difficult and the scores are not that low?

LEE JANZEN: Absolutely. I love playing tournaments where there are less than 10-under wins. Somewhere between 10-under and even. I'd much rather play in a tournament like that where conditions are very tough.

Q. You talked about having hit the ball in the right places on greens at the U.S. Open. Is that going to be more the case this year at No. 2? Even more so?

LEE JANZEN: They all crown; they all fall off on the sides. And some of the greens you may be just hitting it in the same spot every day no matter what the pin is. Some of the greens slope off in the back where you have some downhill putts from the middle of the green to the back of the green. And sometimes you're going to hit it past the pins in the front so you have a downhill putt rather than contend with some of the hills in the front of the greens. I think a guy really has to know how far he's hitting each club, and I think it helps to spin the ball. Guys that hit the ball high and soft will have a better chance at Pinehurst to get the ball near the hole.

Q. Is driving less important there?

LEE JANZEN: I think normally it is. But I saw the course in April and I thought the fairways were a little more narrow than I was expecting. But they're pretty flat and the rough may -- I don't know how severe the rough will be -- somebody told me they played there the other day and it was very inconsistent. They said you'll get some good lies. But we all agree if you're in the rough, hitting the green is -- even if you can get to the green, it's still going to be very tough. You have to have the perfect lie to land it short and have it land on the green and stay on the green. Even if you hit exactly the right distance, you have to have the perfect lie because the ball's going to roll off anything that's 5 or 10 yards off line. If it's dry, the ball can usually kick that far off line.

Q. Lee, in what way does the Memorial prepare you for the Open?

LEE JANZEN: In what way? Well, they narrowed up some of the fairways, which I think is helpful as far as that goes. I think it's just the -- it's an outstanding tournament with an outstanding field. I think the fact that you're playing against a very competitive field and the scoring, the scoring might be, you know, mid-teens might win it. But you're playing against a world-class field and you have to play your best to win here so I think you get an idea how well you're playing. The course might not be set up the same. We'll have four dry days which is great; you'll get used to seeing the ball bounce and run. We don't get that opportunity here enough, but I know that's the way the course was intended to play. I think everybody will enjoy that. At least I will.

Q. How big a difference is there in the course now with some of the tweaking that has been done?

LEE JANZEN: I think it's minor. I think in years to come they'll keep doing little things. They narrowed up some fairways, which I think hasn't really changed the way the hole plays. The greens used to be more severe, so I think that's why the fairways were wider. Now he softened the greens over the year as they resurfaced them, so the fairways don't need to be as wide. I think it should be more demanding. The 13th hole is probably the most significant change with the extra bunker on the left, and the tee box moved back. I think before everybody went over to the left bunker to shorten the hole, now you can't go to the left bunker at all unless you're one of the big hitters. So, once again, lengthening the hole doesn't help. It doesn't hurt the big hitters but it makes it harder for everybody else.

Q. Freddie was talking about how tough it is to get up and leave home. As your family begins to get older and older, is it hard for you to get up and go out and play?

LEE JANZEN: Oh, yeah. My son's five and a half. I've only been away from him for more than two weeks once in five and a half years. I've only been gone as many as two weeks a handful of times. Now when I'm gone for a week, I miss him; I miss my family very much. Before, my wife traveled with me nearly every week. They've been with me quite a bit this year, which has been helpful.

Q. When he begins school, will it reduce your desire to play?

LEE JANZEN: I don't think it will reduce my desire to play, it will just reduce my desire to leave. But I know that I have to play to support my family, and technology is getting pretty good so hopefully we'll have video phones soon where we can see each other at least. I can get home Sunday night and go back out Tuesday nights a lot of times. I've done it this year and last year, trying to schedule where I can see my family as much as possible and still play full schedule.

Q. What kind of history do you have at No. 2?

LEE JANZEN: I played THE TOUR Championship there and finished second.

Q. Never played there as an amateur, on vacation or anything?

LEE JANZEN: No, no. I loved the course then and have been excited ever since they said we were going to play the U.S. Open there.

Q. Patience seems to always play a role at the U.S. Open. Do you consider yourself to be a patient person?

LEE JANZEN: I've had my moments where I've been patient. Like anybody else, certainly there are times when you're not patient; you let things get to you and when you do, you don't perform as well. But I know that helps. You have to remind yourself it's an extra hard week to do it. It's going to be hot. I think any of the Majors wear your patience in the practice rounds because you're seeing the course for the first time. Even if you've seen it before, you're playing under forced conditions. You have usually 30,000 people in the practice rounds which is also unusual. Sometimes it seems like you sign every one of their tickets or hats. I can imagine Tiger and Freddie and Greg Norman, the bigger name players, what they must go through those weeks.

Q. How about next week, what are you going to do?

LEE JANZEN: I'm going to play. I'm going to go to Pinehurst one of the days next week and play, and, hopefully, play golf every day at a different course every day in Orlando, just get myself used to playing golf instead of working on my swing. I'm going to get used to playing.

Q. Just go out and not think about mechanics, just have fun?

LEE JANZEN: Right. Well, yeah, I'll be working but I want to go out and get used to it. If I can play a different course every day and get used to playing, aim, things you do in a tournament. Aim, you have a shot in your mind, aiming and swinging.

Q. Do you have any idea which courses?

LEE JANZEN: World Woods claims that they have some responsibility for the last few Majors. So I went over there and played last year the week before the U.S. Open. They told me Mark had been there the week before the Masters, even though he hadn't been there the week before the Masters; it was about three months before. (Laughter.) I think he went over there during the summer time, too. Mark did, right before the British Open.

Q. You hear guys talk about how demanding the Open is physically and emotionally. Even when you win, how much does it take out of you? Are there a couple days later when you bottom out, realize how much you've invested physically or emotionally?

LEE JANZEN: It does take quite a bit out of you. I think winning a tournament anywhere takes quite a bit out of you. You know, you don't realize what a high you're on the whole week. You just keep building and building and building, then once the tournament's over, you know you're not playing anymore, and you come down quite a ways. It's hard to get back up.

Q. After you won the Open the first time, do you remember the first time you were introduced on a tee as a U.S. Open Champion? Do you remember where it was and how it felt?

LEE JANZEN: The Western was my next tournament. I played with Freddie. I think most of the people out there were there to see him anyway. But I was thinking so much about, you know, how things were going to be different that I wasn't really thinking about how I needed to play. It was an adjustment. A big adjustment.

Q. Were you introduced as an Open Champion on the first tee?

LEE JANZEN: I'm sure I was. I really couldn't tell you for sure if I was or not. In my mind, I imagined that I was. But... (Laughter.)

LEE PATTERSON: You didn't hear.

Q. Were you ever introduced anywhere where someone said, "Open Champ," and you went wow, that sounds pretty neat?

LEE JANZEN: Over the last five years, even before the second time, I still -- it hits me and I'm amazed that it happened. So that was even before No. 2. So you can imagine how I feel now.

LEE PATTERSON: Anything else? (No response) Okay. Thank you.

LEE JANZEN: Okay. You're welcome.

End of FastScripts....

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