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October 23, 2004

Tom Lehman


JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you, Tom, for joining us. Tom Lehman and Briny Baird share the 54-hole lead, and they are the winners of this week's Crestor Charity Challenge. In your name a donation of $25,000 will be given to the health care charity of your choice, and in addition the Healthy Community Care Initiatives will receive $50,000 from the Funai Classic at Walt Disney World Resort.

Can you please comment on that?

TOM LEHMAN: Well, I think it's great. It's really a wonderful thing that they're doing. It's a wonderful way to give money to organizations that really can use some money. I definitely am involved with some charities at home that -- kids who are sick, women in trouble, pregnant, whatever else, need health care, they definitely can use the money, so it's a great thing.

JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: This is your third week in a row.

TOM LEHMAN: Third week in a row, so it's just adding up. Someone is going to be very happy.

JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Thank you for joining us. Great day out there, two eagles, a lot of excitement, and in the final group tomorrow. Talk about that.

TOM LEHMAN: Well, it was a good day. Briny played extremely well on the back nine, I played extremely well on the front nine. To me the greens were the story. They got so fast, incredibly quick in spots, and if you put it out of position on the greens, it was a very difficult two-putt, so coming in, shoot, I had a 40-footer on the 16th hole which I thought I hit a pretty good putt, maybe would have had a three-footer, and it kept on trickling, trickling down the hill, very difficult, very fast.

Anyway, aside from that, I drove it well, putted well, made two eagles, which was nice. I hit a 3-wood and a short putt on the par 5, ended up holing a wedge on 13, so all in all, it was a good day.

Q. (Inaudible).

TOM LEHMAN: I'll have to go out tomorrow and shoot 64, no doubt about it.

Q. (Inaudible).

TOM LEHMAN: I think so. I feel like I had a great game plan over the last two weeks. I feel like I was very calm on the golf course and very focused and played well and just made a couple too many mistakes. Sometimes mistakes just happen, so you can't always control everything.

But the good news is I made plenty of birdies the last couple weeks. I went out and I think I made seven birdies in Vegas and six birdies or five birdies, whatever, in Greensboro, so I'm making plenty of putts and doing plenty of good things well. Tomorrow I'm going to need to go low here. It'll be no different tomorrow.

Q. (Inaudible).

TOM LEHMAN: I think probably the experience of the last two weeks. You know, I guess I'm very much looking forward to tomorrow's round of golf. You know, again, as I said the last couple weeks, I've got everything to gain and nothing to lose. I still feel that way. There's a lot of things that go along with winning on the Tour, a lot of benefits; a lot of things happen because of a win, so it certainly it would be to my advantage to go out and get a victory. I feel like there's really nothing to lose other than just going out and going for it.

Q. Under the same scenario -- (inaudible).

TOM LEHMAN: Yeah, whoever makes the most birdies is the way it works. The pins out here can make a difference. They put the pins in really difficult spots and sometimes it gets more difficult to make birdies, but there's not a whole lot of rough, and the par 5s are reachable with the exception of 14. So you can definitely make some scores out there, so I think no matter what they do with the pins, it's still going to be a birdie-fest and you've got to make a lot of them.

Q. (Inaudible).

TOM LEHMAN: Well, I hit a 3-wood that I just turned over too much and ended up right in the edge of the rough behind the tree. I had like 90 yards to the pin, a real fluffy lie, not a great lie, so I had to get it up quickly. I had a sand wedge so I knew I could get it over the tree. The big question was how was the ball going to react coming out of the rough. The minute I hit it and went up in the air, I knew no matter where it went I was going to be happy. I hit it the best I could and the wind was holding it up a little bit.

I saw it land just over the bunker. You can't see the pin from the fairway because the bunker is in the way. I said I don't care where this ball ends up, it was a great shot. It dropped in the hole, and then I did care (laughter).

Then I hit a couple of really good putts the next couple holes that didn't go in. I really felt like I had momentum going, and a couple more birdies would have been nice. I had a great putt on the par 5 that just slid by the edge, a really good putt on the par 3 that burned the cup, and then on 18 I hit a putt that the grain kind of caught it and turned across the hole.

Briny had the same line and it rolled right up there and mine snap-hooked to the right, so sometimes it doesn't help to see somebody else putt.

Q. (Inaudible).

TOM LEHMAN: Well, that's exactly right. You know, I fully expect to get here tomorrow and by the time we tee off to not be leading anymore. I think that's a good thing actually. I like the fact that when you get here and you see that the scores are being posted, you need to keep on getting up there and doing it yourself. It puts you into that mind set of going out and having to make birdies, and I think it's a good thing.

Q. (Inaudible).

TOM LEHMAN: I think I may have said here before that if you look at my stats, you know, it's my 19th tournament, but the stats, although I don't believe in stats completely, they do tell somewhat of a story, and I think I'm in the top 20 in scoring average and in the top 5 in greens in regulation, so you don't get that throughout the year by playing really lousy for a long stretch of time.

The only difference really quite frankly is the fact that the putts have been going in now that I switched putters. If I would have putted the way I've putted throughout the season, the season would have been a different story. Who knows what it would be, but I've been actually playing very well until I got myself onto that short grass there and then I've been struggling. When you don't struggle with the putter, good things happen.

JOAN v.T. ALEXANDER: Can we go through your round?

TOM LEHMAN: Yeah. I three-putted No. 2 for a bogey from about 25 feet, very, very fast putt and slid by about five feet, missed it.

Came back on the 4th hole, good drive and good 3-wood to 15 feet, made that for eagle.

The 7th hole, a really good drive and a lob wedge to about eight feet, made that for birdie.

The par 5, had two good shots and a wedge from 118 yards to about eight feet, made that for birdie.

Driver, 5-iron into the 10th, two putts from 40 feet for birdie.

And then the lob wedge or the sand wedge for eagle on 13.

Then the three-putt on 16, which, God, that was a tough putt. That was the kind of putt you'd three-putt half the time for sure.

Other than that it was a pretty solid round.

Q. (Inaudible).

TOM LEHMAN: That's a great question. I would like to play another time without question, but I would love to be the captain of the next one if that's what you're talking about. I think being a captain in Ireland would be a phenomenal experience. I could go either way. I'd love to be captain. If I wasn't a captain that would be okay, too. It's really my decision, but if the chance came I'd jump on it.

Q. (Inaudible).

TOM LEHMAN: I've thought about it. I've played three times and three Presidents Cups, so I've experienced six different captains and their styles. I've watched the captains for other squads and how they do things, so I've always had ideas about how I would do things the same or differently. I have definite opinions on what makes a team click, so yeah, I've thought about it.

Q. (Inaudible).

TOM LEHMAN: You know, I need to go practice, but one thing I would say which I would be in complete support of is I heard Larry Nelson's name pop up, and I think Larry Nelson deserves to be captain at some point, and I think he would be a great captain. If they ever were to decide to break tradition and go with a guy over 50, I think I'd start with him.

Q. (Inaudible).

TOM LEHMAN: Well, not really, no. I'd say no simply because of the fact that I've got 18 holes to play, and I know that there's a lot of birdie holes out there, so for me to get all panicked about somebody who is sitting at 14-under would be -- that's a real rookie mistake quite frankly. That's kind of like saying I don't have confidence in myself, I don't think I can make a birdie today. I don't think that's the right attitude at all.

Q. (Inaudible).

TOM LEHMAN: Well, you know, Vijay is going to do what Vijay is going to do, just like everybody else out there is going to. Vijay has proven to be the best player in the world for the last year and a half or so for sure, and so I'm sure he'll shoot low. Quite frankly I'm sure he'll shoot low. To expect him not to would be a mistake.

Again, the ball is in my hand. I've got the opportunity, and if I go out and play a great round of golf and don't make any mistakes I'm going to be tough to catch, as would Briny Baird, as would Scott Verplank, Beckman, anybody like that. No matter who's behind you, if you play a great round, they're going to have a hard time catching you.

End of FastScripts.

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