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July 15, 2011

Tom Lehman


Q. Did that feel good?
TOM LEHMAN: It did feel good, yeah. I got off to a nice start, made a nice birdie on 2, and then made a birdie on 7 and then gave one back but made a couple more, so the round just kind of flowed, had a nice flow to it. I hit it solidly, made a few nice putts, drove the ball extremely well, so I feel like I wasn't really too pressured all day long. It was a good day.

Q. Talk about the conditions out there a little bit. We came out this morning, not a lot of wind, sunny, beautiful day, but the course is getting a little firmer and faster?
TOM LEHMAN: Yeah, I was watching earlier and they were talking about going to be some really low scores and guys are going to shoot the grass off the course, and as they were warming up on the practice tee the wind started to below, and it steadily picked up. It's not super duper strong but it's strong enough to be a factor. It's probably a two-club wind at times.
The course is very bouncy, too, it's just totally, completely dried out. Whatever little moisture was on the course from yesterday is long gone, and the course is like a brick.

Q. (Inaudible.)
TOM LEHMAN: Well, there's a lot of really good players from the United States. There's great players everywhere. I think the guys who come here to play really enjoy playing here, and they love this style of golf. You know, Americans have historically done very well in this championship, so I'm not surprised.

Q. (Inaudible.)
TOM LEHMAN: I don't know, you look at the record book and the number of Americans who played and who won, so I'm not surprised. I don't think it's easy to put Americans in a box and say they can only play one certain kind of golf, and I don't think that's true. This actually brings out a bit of the creativity that a lot of the guys have but they're not forced to use it. That's maybe one thing I would say, the game in the United States, the courses we play don't force the guys to bring out the creative side, the shot-making side, but a lot of guys have that.
So it's a great style of golfing, and I'm not surprised that the guys who play well here play well here.

Q. There are a lot of ages on the leaderboard, but there seems to be more older, experienced players doing really well. Can you talk about that.
TOM LEHMAN: I think a couple things, and I'll be honest, I think the -- not being able to carry the ball as far actually benefits you in some ways on a lot of these tee shots. The balls that travel so much further in the air tend to land in spots which are a lot more bouncy, a lot more humps and bumps, and balls that fly shorter, like mine, tend to land on more the flat spots. That's one thing I noticed a long time ago playing here is there's areas shorter that are flatter and you get nice, straight bounces.

Q. Playing here in Britain or --
TOM LEHMAN: No, this course in particular. So length isn't really a huge, huge advantage. There's a couple holes today where it might be. I saw the long guys were driving No. 5. Ryan Palmer knocked it just over the right back edge of the green. But the par-5s are playing -- I could reach them. That's one reason why I think the older guys or the more experienced guys or whatever you want to call it are able to do okay. Length isn't required. It's more about accuracy and the line you take and hitting it where you're aiming.

Q. What element of experience kicks in in particular if length is taken out?
TOM LEHMAN: I think just playing shots where you're expecting the ball to bounce and kind of having been through that, knowing that you've got 135 downwind with a pitching wedge and you've got to land it about 115 and let it roll. It's hard to gear down that much and do that unless you've been through it enough times where you know you're going to get the bounce. And then if you don't get the bounce, which happens occasionally, you hit a shot that's perfect and you don't get the bounce you normally get, and now you've got a really difficult shot and not getting upset about it.
I think that's another big reason why guys with more experience tend to play well here is they don't sweat that kind of thing. It's easy to get upset when you're faced with a really tough-looking shot after hitting a really good-looking previous shot. You look at the ball, how can I be here? Just kind of going about your business and playing.

Q. Is that just about experience, young guys having a mental block on that?
TOM LEHMAN: I think you understand after a while -- I know my first time playing here I thought I had to be perfect. But you can hit some really square-looking shots and you get out there and you realise, I can play from here. You miss the green way off line one side or the other, and you get there and you can putt it and roll it up there and make a par. You stop fretting, I think, so much about the shots that kind of look goofy. As long as you miss it in the right areas, you can always play.

Q. For you personally, if you could be the weatherman and create the conditions you want the next two days, what would you do?
TOM LEHMAN: I don't mind the wind. I don't particularly like the rain as much, but I don't mind the wind. I would like days like today where it's breezy. I think breezy would be good for me.

Q. As opposed to howling winds?
TOM LEHMAN: Well, howling hurts everybody. The championship suffers. If that's what you get, that's what you get. I remember Muirfield a bunch of years ago when a storm came in on Saturday, it took some guys right out of the tournament. The guys who were caught out there in that wind, they were done. That's the nature of the beast, though. You just hope if it gets really bad that it gets really bad when you're not out there.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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