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June 21, 1998
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA
LES UNGER: First, congratulations, and second, this very important question: Does your mantle have room for a second trophy?
LEE JANZEN: My mantle has plenty of room for a second trophy. And if it doesn't, we'll make a new one. There's always room for something like this.
LES UNGER: What's your greatest emotion right now.
LEE JANZEN: My greatest emotion right now? I would say complete satisfaction that I went out and played my absolute best, and then won in the one championship I love more than any other.
LES UNGER: When you were seven shots behind early on, did you still have winning in mind?
LEE JANZEN: My -- when I bogeyed 2 and 3, my first thought was just hit good shots, and just -- if you have some good holes maybe you can get back into this thing. But I didn't count myself out, but I wasn't thinking about winning. I wasn't thinking about winning when I teed off, I figured I'd be too nervous if I thought about that. I went out and tried to play a good round of golf.
LES UNGER: Let's go through the holes.
LEE JANZEN: Second hole, 3-wood, into the short rough -- intermediate rough on the side of the fairway. I hit an 8-iron that jumped out of the grass,, and I went over the green into -- I can't remember if it was the short rough or the long rough. I think it was in the edge of the long rough. From there I chipped it short about 25 feet, 2-putted for bogey. The 3rd hole, I hit a 5-iron that landed between the two bunkers on the right, then bounced over the bunker and into a sidehill-lie with some very thick grass. From there I hacked it across the green into the short rough on the other side, and then chipped it down and made about a 3-footer for bogey. The 4th hole, I hit a 3-wood. I was in the left side of the fairway. From there I hit a smooth 5-iron. I can't recall the yardage, exactly, but I left myself about 20 feet to the right of the hole. And the putt broke about two feet to the left. The next birdie was on the 7th hole where I hit a 3-iron, and then a sand wedge to about -- about six feet and made a putt that broke about two feet. The 11th hole, I hit a driver in the fairway on the right side, right center. I then hit a 6-iron from 156 that landed on the hill left of the green, and then made an 8-footer from there for birdie. The 13th hole, I hit a 5-iron, and I think the yardage was 199, but all I had in mind was hitting it 180 yards in the air, because that green is really hard, and I knew it would rollback. If it came up short it was okay, I was just trying to give myself a chance to at least make par, but it rolled back to the hole about five feet. And then the rest were pars. No. 5, why do you want to talk about that hole. The 5th hole, I hit a 4-wood off the tee to my right. The wind was right-to-left off the hole all week. I over played it, and it hit the trees. On the way down, the marshals were looking around, not finding it. I thought maybe it stayed in the tree. Then someone yelled that it stayed in the tree, that they had it with their binoculars. I grabbed a ball from my caddy and was ready to head back to the tee immediately. I never even got to my ball. Before I could get back to the tee, the ball fell out of the tree. And it was still in the rough. It didn't kick out to the fairway. I had a tough chip to get back in the fairway. I got back in the fairway and hit a 6-iron that I was trying to land just about ten yards short, and it flew over the green. From there, I had a great lie and chipped in for par. Originally, when I started walking back to the tee thinking my ball was stuck in the tree, I thought: This just isn't right. ; my ball is stuck in the tree; I've just made birdie to turn things around. Now, I'm going to be lucky to make a double. You can imagine how much better I felt walking off that hole with a par.
Q. How long a chip did it take?
LEE JANZEN: From the time I got down near the ball, just a couple of minutes. I turned around immediately before I ever got to it. The wind picked up, and they said as the wind picked up, it fell out of the tree.
Q. Lee, did you scoreboard-watch, and if you did, when did you start noticing what Payne Stewart was doing?
LEE JANZEN: I saw he made a bogey early in the round. I looked at the scoreboard the entire week, but I just made a point to myself on the 13th hole that I would not look at the scoreboard the rest of the day. I didn't want to know how I stood. I was going to play my game the rest of the way in. I didn't want to think if I got lucky and got ahead -- I didn't want to play safe. I just wanted to continue to hit good shots. Even though I looked at it the first 60-something holes of the tournament, I didn't look at it at all the last six holes of the tournament.
Q. Lee, when the ball fell out of the tree, did you think about Baltusrol?
LEE JANZEN: Not then, but later in the round I did, when I realized that I had a chance to win. I started thinking Payne Stewart, a chip in and a ball in the tree, where have I heard this before?
Q. What hole was that in Baltusrol?
LEE JANZEN: 10.
Q. Did you happen to look up in the tree, had they cut down a limb there recently?
LEE JANZEN: I don't think so. I could not notice if the tree limb had been cut down. I never got to where the ball was. When the guy said it stayed in the tree, I turned around immediately, before I got down to the area -- I don't know how high up it was.
Q. Just a quick one, and then I follow-up. Did he ask what kind of tree?
LEE JANZEN: I thought it had to be thick, because the ball had to stay there. I don't know what kind of trees they are, but they're fantastic to look at.
Q. I don't know if you knew that Payne got victimized by a tough break. He landed right in the middle of a big, fat divot on the 12th hole and that made a bogey for him?
LEE JANZEN: I was in a divot on the second hole yesterday, of which is not the way you want to start when you're trying to catch the leader. I hit it; it kicked into the long rough; I hit a sand wedge, and I get up in the middle of the divot in the sand and, I was thinking to myself: This just can't be,. This is the worst start possible. So I took my sand wedge out. I kind of looked at it, and said: This is how hard I'm going to hit it. And I hit it about two feet from the hole and made par. It was unlucky to be in the divot, but it was a turning point right away, to be able to get out of the divot.
LEE JANZEN: I would prefer to hit out of a divot, not a sand divot. And at Winged Foot, I hit it down the middle of the fairway on the 6th hole on Saturday, and basically, did not have a shot because I was in a sand divot. And I made bogey. It was a good chance to make birdie, because it was only a hundred yards from the pin. I think that cost me a chance on contending Sunday.
Q. Lee, you're pretty soft spoken, very emotional, obviously, today. How do you get it together and get tough enough to win in a tournament like this?
LEE JANZEN: Well, playing the golf part is easy, because we've done it so many times. But keeping your emotions in check is the hard part. And after 11, I realized I had a chance to win. And I kept thinking about, this is the U.S. Open. I have a chance to win,. I had to keep reminding myself that it only takes one shot. When I lose focus, that I could ruin any chance of winning. That's really what kept me going. I just said when this thing is over, you can relax and think about all the great things. But every shot -- if you don't give your full attention, you're not going to win this thing.
Q. It's Father's Day and your son is there, how old is he and what's his name?
LEE JANZEN: He's almost five, and his name is Connor. He tries to climb trees; he tries to climb everything.
Q. Would you please tell us about your thoughts on the second shot on 17?
LEE JANZEN: Yesterday, I had 205 to the hole and just smoked a 3-iron that went over the green. Today, I had about 200 yards to the front of the green, and I figured the wind was more into us today, so I thought it was a perfect club to came for the front of the green. I knew I hit a good shot yesterday. I knew I made double; it wasn't because I didn't hit a good shot. I hit a 3-iron to the green again,; I hit another good shot. The ball could have -- it landed just at the front edge of the green, just about two yards right of the gap going up the green, but it was a well-struck shot. If it hadn't been as well struck, it wouldn't have carried as far.
Q. Lee, I apologize, I was at Baltusrol, but I've forgotten the ball-in-the-tree incident there, could you recap it?
LEE JANZEN: I love doing that. I led the tournament for almost four days, and everyone remembers this shot. On the 10th hole, I drove to the right, and I was in some out-of-bound rough. And then I decided I'd hit a 5-iron and go over the tree out of the green. Well, I didn't catch the ball quite solidly enough and hit it a little low, and it went right between a couple of big branches and landed on the front of the green, and I 2-putted for par.
Q. Lee, what were your thoughts on The Olympic Club, coming in here, and your thoughts on the course?
LEE JANZEN: I think it's a great golf course. I really enjoy playing THE TOUR Championship here. Everybody asked me what my favorite course is, but it's hard to pick one, so I tell them five, and The Olympic Club is always in my top five.
Q. What were you thinking watching Payne's putt on 18?
LEE JANZEN: I could hardly stand to watch. As a player, that's it right there, if he makes it, we're playing off. If he misses it, I've won the tournament. And I'm watching it roll down there. It looked really good. I thought -- three or four feet from the hole, I thought it was still going into the hole, and it broke off the last bit. That's a very tough green to putt. I guess it really didn't dawn on me that I could actually win the tournament today until that moment. I really thought the best I was going to do was a playoff.
Q. Lee, you were very emotional after that putt didn't go in. Could you share with us what you were feeling at that moment, and in the moments after that?
LEE JANZEN: I think I said it before, that to play as good as I played this week, and win the trophy that I wanted to win more than any other trophy, for the second time, was just -- it's too much. I really feel extremely lucky to even have the opportunity to play golf for a living, and to win the U.S. Open twice, you can't do anything better than that, as far as I'm concerned, for me. There are plenty of golfers who are better than me, but that's the best I can do.
Q. You were asked about your second shot on 17, but what about going to that tee knowing you double-bogeyed it two days in a row, and trying to keep a positive thought. What was going through your mind?
LEE JANZEN: The first time I hit a good drive and then a bad shot. Yesterday, I hit a good drive and good shot. I knew today, my strategy would be slightly different in that I would try to land the ball short of the green, if I had to, not go over. I knew short was better than big. I learned that yesterday. But I felt comfortable that I could hit good shots. I also thought that I -- I played it today under even tougher conditions.
Q. What was your initial reaction when you hit your approach on 11, and how surprised were you it kicked out of the rough?
LEE JANZEN: The wind was left-to-right, and I was waiting for the ball to curve to the right any minute and come down right around where the fringe was. But then it didn't. So I was prepared to hit the ball out of the rough, and while it's in the air, I'm seeing where it's coming down. I thought I had my work cut out for me, and then it kicked out.
Q. Lee, congratulations. All week long you've had a very positive attitude, where others have sort of griped here and there about the difficult conditions. Why do you think difficult conditions suit you so well? What appeals to you so much about a very difficult grind?
LEE JANZEN: I just think it was because I was fortunate enough to win the U.S. Open on a very difficult course, you just get in your mind that you can play difficult courses. After that, I felt more comfortable on hard courses. THE PLAYERS Championship is incredibly hard conditions. Winged Foot last year was very tough, and I had a good tournament. It just only gets better as time goes by. The confidence will be there always that I can play tough courses well.
Q. Someone informed Payne earlier that you stand between him and three U.S. Open championships. He said he guesses he brings out the best in you. Does he or the Open bring out the best in you?
LEE JANZEN: I think it's just pure coincidence that Payne Stewart was runner-up both times. I certainly wasn't thinking on Thursday night when he was thinking: Okay, I've got to step up my game, because if I can't step up my game, I don't know what I'm doing out here. There was no guarantee that he would be in the hunt Sunday. Our games are similar enough that our games do well on certain courses. I seem to think that sometimes I bring out the best in him, too. I've noticed at the PLAYERS Championship, I was leading the last round. He shot 65 the last day and went by me. I've also noticed other times when he shoots low scores, where my name is on the leaderboard. It might not be true at all, but I know it's a friendly competition, and Rocco Mediate -- I know he and I would admit, when we see each others names on the leaderboard it spurs us onto play better.
Q. How frustrating have the playoffs been in other years, especially where you had a chance to put one away, and some disastrous things happened to you?
LEE JANZEN: That was a great opportunity to put one away. I felt like I blew one at Vancouver, the first year they had the tournament there. And there's been some other tournaments I put myself in the hunt. Tucson twice, I birdied the last hole. I was frustrated. I didn't do better in the end, it doesn't mean you're going to win, but as long as you do your best, that's all you can ask for yourself. I played some poor golf in a situation that I always thought I'd do very well in. It was frustrating. I kept wondering, am I going to win again? I went four years in a row winning tournaments. And I think you have to take the attitude, I don't care how long it takes to win, I just know I'm going to win again, and I'll just work hard and get my game as good as I can. When the opportunity arises, I can take advantage of it.
Q. Lee, after your Open win in 1993, what expectations did you place on your future, and how might that be different the second time around?
LEE JANZEN: I think I was relatively inexperienced. Even winning the U.S. Open, I didn't know what to expect of myself, the demands and everything. Suddenly I become noticed. And my game fell off, maybe because I rose to a level I'd never been at, and it was hard to maintain that level. I feel like this year, I'm hitting the ball so much better than I ever have, I've always been a good putter, I put the two together this week, and if my game falls off, I think it will only be for a short time. Winning the U.S. Open, that's the pinnacle for me. It's easy to have a let down. I don't think my game is going to go in the tank. I think it's only going to give me confidence, and I look forward to seeing how I do. I look at it as a challenge to see if I can play this well again soon.
Q. Lee, not to get overly sentimental, but it is Father's Day, your dad is here, your son is here. As a father and a son, what's the most gratifying aspect of being a father, and also a son?
LEE JANZEN: I can say that every day I think I'm the luckiest father alive, to have a son like him. And when I think that about him, I think every father must feel that way about their son. And there's nothing better than being loved.
LES UNGER: Who gets the check?
LEE JANZEN: Uncle Sam.
Q. You said The Olympic Club is one of your top five, could you give us the other four?
LEE JANZEN: You notice I didn't give those four before. Pinehurst No. 2, next year; Pebble Beach, Augusta National and Shinnecock. Amazingly, you would think Baltusrol should be in the top five. It doesn't have to be your favorite to play well, it's a tie for 6th.
Q. Could you put into words why the U.S. Open is your favorite as opposed to The Masters or one of the other majors?
LEE JANZEN: It says United States Open on it. And being an American born golfer, I just know that it has more special meaning than any other majors. I remember watching it as a kid, and The Masters hasn't been around as long. This is our national championship. I think that The Masters is a shorter field, they don't let all the good players in. I'm not putting down how well you have to play to win The Masters, I just think this is the best to win.
Q. Could I ask you about your relationship with your caddy, David Musgrove, how it started?
LEE JANZEN: We don't like each other at all. Dave and I, he caddied for me the first time I played in the British Open. He also caddied for me in the Scottish Open. He's got a pretty thick accent. We went two weeks and I didn't understand the a word he said. But I thought he was the greatest caddy. At the end of '93 I felt the best thing I could do was hire David Musgrove, because of the experience he had, winning majors with Seve Ballesteros and Sandy Lyle, he could do nothing but help me. I've had a great time with David. A lot of people think he's serious, I joke more with anybody else that I've ever joked with on the golf course. He was big today. He was there ready to tell me to forget about 2 and 3, and just concentrate on good shots, and concentrate on the swing. This time it was perfect. He's right. And I knew it. He's got good advice at the right time. We like to argue once in a while, but we joke about it. I can't say enough about Dave. I hope he's having a great time, I don't know where he is.
Q. Lee, given when this victory took place and what's happened the last few years, is this Open championship more important than the first one for your career?
LEE JANZEN: I think so. I think it elevates what I've done to a whole new level. If I would have won just a regular Tour event for my 8th win, I don't know if it would have anywhere near the significance. I think it would this completely erases any bad tournaments or not winning for three years. I think that just negates it all. I now have eight wins, and just under nine years on Tour. I can't be too upset about not winning for three years.
Q. What was your thought process on No. 17? You just took the lead for the first time in the tournament coming off previous rounds of double bogeys, second and third round, did that cross your mind at all that maybe you were a little snake bit on that hole? And you just took the lead, did that cross your mind?
LEE JANZEN: I wasn't sure if I was leading or not, because I wasn't looking at the scoreboards. I felt like I was in pretty good shape, at least tied, just judging by the roars of the crowds. I hit a great drive there the last few days, and made double bogeys. I felt comfortable off the tee, but I was determined I was going to par that hole today. When I saw the ball kick left a little bit, landing short my second shot, I thought the ball was in front of the green, I thought I might have a reasonable birdie chance. But as it was I had a tough 2-putt, and I was happy to get done in two.
Q. I was wondering if you knew exactly where you were on the 18th green, where everything stood with all the buzz around there. And you would strike me as a guy who would study the boards out there, was this something new?
LEE JANZEN: Well, I usually do, but I know that sometimes like in this instance, with a chance to win it might affect me. And I believe I was tied playing the last hole when I was putting, I'm not sure. But I thought if I could make that putt I'd win that tournament there. And it wasn't a putt I charged, but I was trying to hit a good line with great speed. After I putted out, the short putt, I thought this could be it, this could be the putt that would win the U.S. Open. That's the last thing you want to say to yourself. But I made it, and right after I walked off the green, there was a big roar, and they put a plus one up for Payne, I think it was at the same time. Maybe on TV you probably knew that beforehand, but as far as watching the leaderboard that's the first I knew he had gone 1-over.
Q. Do you start thinking about being a great player now, is that something you guard against or is that something you let yourself think about?
LEE JANZEN: I guess it's all in your interpretation of what it takes to be a great player. I think anybody who has won a U.S. Open, won a major, and I don't think -- I look at the other players and think how great that is to do that. I still don't put myself in the same categories as other guys. But I marvel at how well the guys play, week in and week out, some performances that are put on out here. Most weeks we probably go to the locker room on Sunday thinking if I had done this or that I could have won. And then there's just some guys that play unbelievably well. I think Davis, at the PGA, he shot 11 under. And that's just truly a great performance. When a guy puts that up, you don't have much of a chance. Fortunately for me, I haven't run up against that on my best weeks.
LES UNGER: Lee, thank you and congratulations and good luck.
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