home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


October 6, 2011

Tom Lehman


PHIL STAMBAUGH: We welcome you to the 2011 Insperity Championship, your third appearance in this event. Tied for fourth in 2009, tied for ninth last year. We are coming down the home stretch on the season. You've got a 398-point lead in the Schwab Cup. Maybe some general thoughts about coming back here to the Woodlands for this event.
TOM LEHMAN: I think first thing is first, I was here Monday and practiced a good part of the day Monday, and the course is flawless. I'm sure you've probably heard over and over from the guys who have been in here, but the course is perfect. The greens are very fast. The fairways are just, you know, almost without a blemish.
So the course is in great shape. It should be a really great championship so I'm really happy to be here. I think the course, it's a really good course for guys who are playing well. It's not a very good course at all for guys who are playing poorly. It's going to separate I think those who are playing well from those who aren't, and a score will stand up here. I think it's a good opportunity for all of the guys who are at the top to have a good week.

Q. (Regarding winning the Schwab Cup and Player of the Year).
TOM LEHMAN: Obviously that would be something that would be really nice. But I would feel very, I guess, fulfilled, because my goal has always been no matter what tour I'm on to try to be the best player on that tour. Whether it's for a year or for two years or five years or whatever, just at some point you would like to say, hey, I was at the top and that means something.
But more importantly, I think with the respect of your peers; so that's the main reason because of it, just because that carries a lot of importance by saying that, hey, a lot of the guys on this tour respect and that you were the top player that particular year. So that means a lot.
At the end of the day, more than anything I'm all about just trying to do my best. And I know what my potential is; I know what I'm capable of; and I know that if I play my very best, that some really good things are going to happen.
But golf is the kind of sport where some things are out of your control; some guys play better. Maybe too many putts hit the lip and spin out. So you can't always get what you want.
So I do know that if I can look at myself in the mirror and say, yeah, you gave it all you had and you did all you had to do to be the best this year, that's success.

Q. Inaudible.
TOM LEHMAN: I think being healthy is a big part of it, to be able to play, you know, long enough and stay healthy long enough to be competent at each level, you're fortunate from a health standpoint.
I think on the one hand, a lot of guys haven't had the opportunity to win that Nationwide Tour Player of the Year award because you've never been bad enough to play on that tour. So there's an element of the struggle, put me in a position where I actually could use that tour to move to the next step, so very grateful for that tour. Always be grateful for Deane Beman to forming that Hogan Tour at the time. Phil Mickelson will never have a chance at winning all three Player of the Year awards because he's never had to stoop that low. So if you're good enough, you get to bypass that stuff.

Q. Player of the Year --
TOM LEHMAN: Player of the Year? No, I don't -- the thing is, there wasn't none of stuff back then. Well, there was the Dakotas, if you weren't on the Tour, pre-Nationwide Tour, if you were not on the Tour, there really was nothing real organized to play in; not a whole lot; there was the Bass Coast in Florida, the Golden State in California, but those are not moving, travelling tours like we are talking about.
So my schedule was always a couple of those, a whole bunch of State Opens, the Dakotas Tour, whatever you could find to play in that would allow you to compete through them until you got to TOUR School.
So when the Nationwide came along, with a that's the big opportunity because that suddenly became the season long qualifier. And I always believed that if you gave me 30 weeks, I could prove myself to be one of the top players. So that's why I'm so grateful, had a big mental hurdle about getting through the Tour school and that 30-week season gave me the perfect opportunity to prove that.

Q. (Is it possible to have success playing both tours)?
TOM LEHMAN: Well, I think you look at Jay Haas as an example, played both tours for a little while there and played very well. The guys like him and the guys before him, the guys since him who have maintained that level of play, to the end of their PGA TOUR career, and they do that, you can only do that really two ways: By staying interested in the game, which it gives you the motivation, and by working hard.
So you know, watching guys continue to work, work, work, work and stay competitive and then make that transition to this tour, it makes that transition really easy. I think the players who stopped competing for a period of time, you know, find it more difficult to kind of get back into that scoring groove. They may play well, but always thinking, well, I played well but I shot 70, I don't can't I shoot 65. It takes a while to get back into that mode.
So I think just the ability to maintain that enthusiasm for golf all the way through is a huge factor.

Q. (Has it been harder to stay motivated)?
TOM LEHMAN: No, I've always been really self-motivated. I've never felt good about doing anything halfway. So the ability or the -- I've always worked on my game. I was always involved with golf courses. I have to be honest, I have to say the real slowdown in golf course design over the last three years has really helped my golf game, seriously. Because I've really -- I've always worked hard but all of the time I was spending, which wasn't that much, but was enough, on design, and now it's totally given to practice.
So if I had to evaluate my game, I would say I'm playing no it differently than I ever have, but I'm just a little bit better at a lot of things. A little bit better chipper, just a little bit better driver, just a little bit better putter. And that little bit, some weeks, gives you nothing; then some weeks, it gives you a lot.

Q. (Talk about Fred and winning after his back injuries; what does that say).
TOM LEHMAN: Well, I think it tells you how talented he is really. Any time you see a player who isn't regularly playing, having to take big breaks because of issues like that, and then come out and win; but we have always known that. No surprise at Fred. We have always known at the beginning of his incredible talent. It's still there.
You know, it's still there and I think the fact that he's finally got his back issues to be under control, you know, first thing I would say is good for him. I've never had a back issue, so I can only imagine with other issues that debilitate you, that's no fun. So to get the monkey off your back in that way is good for him, I'm happy for him.

Q. Inaudible.
TOM LEHMAN: Try to be. That's the way I try to go about it, focus on the week. I know throughout the course of the season, things get a little bit closer then I have a good week or two and then get a lead and then somebody else plays well and it gets a little tighter and then I play well and regain my position.
So it's been like this all season long from the second week. So I try to not think about it. Honestly, it's hard to ignore it. But I think the -- I think my No. 1 goal starting the year was not to win the Schwab Cup. And I don't mean that in a negative way. My goal was to give every tournament my very best effort and I know that if I do, that the Schwab Cup is within my reach, because I think I'm good enough for that.
So to me, why change your thought pattern at the 11th hour. So my focus this week is give my best this week and then go give my best in San Antonio and then go give my best in San Francisco and I'll take whatever I get, and I'll live with whatever I get because of the fact that I know that I've left nothing behind.

Q. Inaudible.
TOM LEHMAN: Never seen it. I think it can be. You know, the one thing I'm happy about is I've always been a huge fan of Pete Dye's designs and typically I've played well on his golf courses. I think he's an architectural and design genius.
I really like the way he's always done things. I've always felt comfortable on his courses. So I look forward to going and playing. So I think No. 1, that's a real positive thing it.
I'm sure it's another typical, you know, Pete Dye course and I'm sure that I'm going to like it. But getting to know the actual nuances of it, everybody is in the same boat. So it's kind of a matter of who can understand what he's trying to get across. Typically his idea of design is I'm going to give you one way where you can play it and get away with it, but I'm going to give you one way that if you go there, you're dead. So to understand that off the tee you have got a challenge, the hazard is big, you have to get in the right position, and on that second shot you're probably going to miss badly at times; but if you're in the right place, you can recover.

Q. Inaudible.
TOM LEHMAN: Oh, is that right? Oh, yeah, well, then if Bruce is there, it's probably all dog-leg rights, everything is angling back to the right. (Laughter) Kind of like my courses all go in a big old oval, right-to-left, you go in a circle. (Chuckling).
PHIL STAMBAUGH: Tom, good luck this week.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297