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June 19, 1998

Lee Janzen


LES UNGER: 66, looks like a damn good score, why don't you tell us about it.

LEE JANZEN: It is. I really started out the day just hoping to shoot anything in the red numbers, and 3-over par yesterday I was not upset at all. I figured that no matter who wins the U.S. Open this week, someone's going to shoot 1-, 2-, 3-over par one round. So I felt pretty good about 73. I just knew that the one thing that you didn't want to do was shoot yourself out of the tournament. I felt like 73 anything under par today, I would be 1-, 2-under par, anything near even par after Saturday, I think has got a great chance to win. I am ahead of the game as far as I am concerned. I feel like tomorrow, I will go out with the same game plan. Hit the fairways; hit the greens; and try not to make any over-par scores.

LES UNGER: You mentioned just a minute ago a formula for success that you kind of laid out before the year.

LEE JANZEN: I just happen to be looking at all the stats last year during the wintertime. I didn't have anything to do one night. So I looked at the top-10, the 10th place in every single stat on the Tour, greens hit, driving distance, fairways hit, sand saves, putting -- the whole thing, and then figured out mathematically what I had to do if I played the same amount of rounds, the same amount of holes. Nobody in the top 10 for from where my stat was, I found it amazing what you have to do to move from 65th to 10th. It turns out all I had to do was hit two more greens per tournament, and I could go from 65th to 10th. If I got up-and-down one time more every round out of the bunker, I could go from 105th to the top-10 putting. If I hit two more greens per tournament at the end of the year, I could take 150 more putts and still finish second. So, it is the stats I guess. They are fun to look at, but it is -- what I found out was anybody on the top 50 in any stat is so close to being in the top 10 that it is almost too hard to decipher who is better.

LES UNGER: We will entertain questions about today.

LEE JANZEN: But I am hitting a lot more greens this year.

Q. John Daly and Tiger Woods said that the pin positions today were not very fair. What is your opinion about that?

LEE JANZEN: I come to the U.S. Open expecting nothing to be fair. I expect if you hit it in the rough you can't hit it out. Put it above the hole, you can't 2-putt. If you hit it in the bunker, you don't have a shot. If you don't hit good shots, you don't make the cut. So, it is a test of wills -- to find out who overcomes adversity the best and who has the most patience.

Q. Talk a little bit about the 17th hole where you lost three shots in two rounds.

LEE JANZEN: That is right. And I imagine that I am probably not alone in losing shots on that hole. It is a very tough hole. It is no bargain. It is a tough drive, because you know that once you hit a good drive, you have got a long shot to the green. It is a tough shot to the green. Today, I finally hit the fairway for the first time all week including the practice rounds.

Q. These last two holes here, how would you rate them in your experiences at the U.S. Opens?

LEE JANZEN: 17 might be close to the hardest hole I think I have played in a U.S. Open as far as the hole that doesn't have water on it anyway. There might be some holes that have a higher stroke average probably because of water -- maybe the 16 at Hazeltine or something -- but, that is a very long and hard hole. And in 18, I know it is not long, but it is very demanding. You know that if you hit it above the hole on that hole, you are probably going to 3-putt. So it is a 3-iron and 9-iron. I think it is a very good hole even though it is not your standard 470 with high rough and bunkers for a finishing hole for a U.S. Open, I still think it is a very good hole. No matter who has to par or birdie, that hole, they have got their work cut out if they are going to win the U.S. Open.

Q. What we saw today with a lot of the putts going up to the hole and coming back, things like that, it reminded me a lot of Augusta. Is there any comparison with that?

LEE JANZEN: I think this course is similar to Augusta in that it is on a side of a hill and the holes go back and forth along the hill. I would love to see this course mowed exactly like Augusta. I think it will be fantastic to see where the ball would roll if it was all fairway. But 18 - at Augusta is different because you can put the ball -- if you hit it over the green higher, you are in the rough and you have even less chance. So I guess the same philosophy there: Don't hit it above the hole. But the penalty, I think, is much more severe here.

Q. Run through your thought process, third shot, 17th.

LEE JANZEN: Well, I had a pretty good lie. I went up looked at the green. I knew I was hitting uphill quite a bit. I wasn't going to hit just a high lob wedge, but I saw a branch pretty high up. It wasn't right in my line, but I figured I better hit a little bit lower and I thought I hit a good shot and it looked good in the air. I just -- I think that it just proves how uphill it was because I didn't hit it nearly hard enough. It came up about 6 or 7 steps short of what I wanted to hit it. You didn't want to be in the bunker but I didn't hit a good second shot and it looked like it was probably going to end up somewhere where I could have made worse than a double-bogey, so made 6, but no big deal. I got a lot of the good breaks today made a lot of putts and played really well and 66, even with a double-bogey is pretty good at a US Open.

Q. Following up, were you trying to be too fine with the chip, in other words, being on the green obviously you rather be there than in the bunker, it is one of those situations you are kind of damned if you do and damned if you don't?

LEE JANZEN: My third shot - I really -- if I would have got up-and-down, that would have been great. That would have been almost unbelievable. But, I was really just trying to fly it two or three steps on the green; if it bounced up to the hole, that was great. Otherwise I was willing to take a bogey there. I wasn't -- you know, I needed to hit it further, but I knew if I hit it past that pin I was looking at least double.

Q. Payne said this didn't remind him at all of Baltusrol. What about you, does it remind you at all of that tournament?

LEE JANZEN: This course or the tournament?

Q. The tournament with you two guys at the top of the board.

LEE JANZEN: No, it was 105 degrees there. It was a long golf course. No, I don't see the similarity. The greens here are small, the greens there were big. It was lot different.

Q. (inaudible)

LEE JANZEN: Well, as far as head-to-head, I think I don't know where he sat after two rounds. I just know that I snuck in there Friday afternoon and I was really nervous on the back 9 Friday afternoon at Baltusrol because I had never even made the cut in U.S. Open here. I was leading the tournament. Today I felt incredibly comfortable. I wasn't worried if I hit it in the rough or I just knew to chip it out or you try and knock it on the green and just go on. It is a long tournament, 72-hole tournament. You could have your ups and downs one day, you will be over par next day, you could be under par. Just try and keep it as close to even par as you can.

Q. Phil Mickelson was talking yesterday about how he likes the difficulty of the U.S. Open, it is so tough and maybe unfair. That is how you separate -- what percentage of players would you say like it that way versus complain about it being unfair and does it have to be so unfair? I guess the other part of the question is having won it, does that make it more rewarding to you having won in conditions like that?

LEE JANZEN: When the players talk about it being unfair, I think they are just giving their opinion on what they would do if they got to set up the course. I think that you can create a hazard by mowing the grass down really low too. But, U.S. Open you don't see that very often. Sometimes we have had chipping areas over the last few years, and I think the guys just like to see some variety more than anything. But on the Tour, bunkers are manicured just right so we can get up-and-down and the greens are never too hard. Sometimes they get a little firm. But we play under the same conditions nearly every week and we get thrown into a little more added here, where if you hit it in the rough it is hard to hack it out. Virtually no chance to get up-and-down. It is definitely a lot tougher.

Q. Is that a bad thing or a good thing?

LEE JANZEN: I love it. I think it is great. We are professional golfers, we should be tested to the fullest. Birdied the first hole. Driver and 5-iron and 2-putted from the back of the green. Which was, I don't know, 30 feet. The next birdie was on No. 3, 5-iron I'd say about 3 inches to the right of the hole. Almost had an expensive bar tab there. And next birdie, let's see, 6 was a bogey. I hit good driver and 9-iron about eight feet, 3-putted. Which wasn't that great. 8, was the next birdie, hit 7-iron, below the hole about 15 feet. And then the 9th hole, hit in the right rough; hit a 7-iron landed it about 15, 20 yards short of the green. It rolled up the slope, got on the green and made about a 35-footer. So that was -- I stole at least one shot there. Then the 11th hole, in the left rough. Then I hit a 7-iron again. I had 150 yards to the front. It landed short of the green; ran all the way up to the back right pin placement. I made about an 8-footer for birdie. The next birdie was 15. 6-iron right center of the green and had a big, I'd say, about eight or nine foot breaking putt over the back mound from about 30 feet. And that one just dropped in like you are putting it from two feet; rolled right in the middle going slow. Hit it a few times in the practice round the other day so I knew I had to play a lot more break than it looked. 16, I hit driver, laid up with a 4-iron, hit a 9-iron about twelve feet left of the hole. Then 17, the double. Good drive, 200 yards to the pin, hit 3-iron to the right of the right bunker and hit a tree. I thought I was lucky to have the lie that I did. It was a good lie. Then I didn't hit it far enough; went in the bunker; left it short about ten feet; then missed the putt.

LES UNGER: Anything else?

End of FastScripts....

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