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November 17, 2002

Tom Lehman


GORDON SIMPSON: Everyone, we have a very cold Tom Lehman. When was the last time you played in cold like that?

TOM LEHMAN: We play like this every so often, maybe once a year. It doesn't happen real often. And thank God, it doesn't.

Q. Tom, congratulations on the good week, obviously. What were your thoughts overall on this tournament and this venue here at Sea Island?

TOM LEHMAN: I think the venue, the way we've been treated has been spectacular. The course is a good course for match-play. Except for today, it wasn't all that difficult, so you could make some birdies. But the hospitality has been wonderful and the competition has been great. I think everybody on our team has felt it's been a real enjoyable week to play golf amongst friends and people you've looked up to your whole life. So it's been great.

Q. Obviously the weather today had a huge impact. Just from your standpoint, I know it was cold and nasty out there, how does that affect what you try to do out there as far as the way you play?

TOM LEHMAN: Well, I just felt starting off the day that pars would be good. If I could make a bunch of pars, I would be happy. I was lucky I made a few birdies as well. I had a good match. Eduardo played extremely well. He kind of had the match under control and he got a bad break on the 7th hole. A gust of wind blew his ball off the green. He hit a really good chip and it looked like it was going to be close and it blew off the green and he putted back up to about three feet and it blew it back off the green again. So it was unlucky for him. And he missed a short putt for birdie on the next hole.

But a day like today, you feel happy with pars.

Q. What was the toughest hole it today?

TOM LEHMAN: You can take your pick 1 through 17. They were all pretty hard. I thought the 13th hole was very difficult, straight back into the wind. 14, with a heavy crosswind, was difficult. The officials were very smart, they moved the tees up, which made things a bit easier. Even still, I hit a good 6-iron on 13 that went about 118 yards only. I hit it solid. That's how hard the wind was blowing.

Q. What's the toughest part about playing the conditions? Driving the ball? Hitting the fairway?

TOM LEHMAN: I think the hardest holes are the ones that have the crosswinds. I don't have that much difficulty playing with the wind or against the wind. But when it's going straight across is when it gets tough. So any hole that had a crosswind I thought was the most difficult.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TOM LEHMAN: The long putter, I'm a much better putter in the wind than I used to be, because the putter is so heavy. My caddie tells me it's like carrying four extra clubs because it weighs so much. But in the wind, it doesn't move around. It doesn't get blown around, so I feel my stroke stays a lot better, a lot more stable than when I used the short putter.

Q. Does this fill the team match-play void you had in your schedule this year since you weren't at the Ryder Cup? Is it satisfying in any sense that way?

TOM LEHMAN: Well, it was fun to play. I got to play against the European captain which got me as close to the Ryder Cup as I was probably going to get this year. It was a disappointment not to be on the team, but that was a year ago, and you get over it.

So it was fun being here. It doesn't replace the Ryder Cup, but it still is -- to be able to tee it up with Raymond and with Tom Watson and Tom Kite and Hale Irwin, a lot of the guys you haven't seen for a while, as well as the guys, O'Meara and Azinger and Hoch and everyone else, it was a fun week.

Q. What is your outlook on the next couple of years for your game?

TOM LEHMAN: Actually, I'm very hopeful, I should say. I've kind of gone back to -- I've never been a guy to look at video with my swing, because I've never liked the way my swing has looked. It's not a classic swing, so I've avoided looking because I always would want to change it. But I started hitting it so poorly this year that I decided I needed to do something. So I actually got out the old videos and went to my coach and had some new videos, to compare the swing that I used to play so well with, and the swing that I've been playing with now, and they were so different that it became obvious I needed to make a few changes, which I've been doing.

I've been working very hard for the last month and I'm hitting the ball better than I was earlier in the year and kind of getting more on track with the way I used to swing. So therefore, I kind of feel if I keep moving in that direction, the next few years will be good years.

Q. I'm trying to think of a nice way to phrase this. What is your take on age? I mean, historically you're coming on an age where guys don't often -- they still obviously can win, but they don't contend as often. You're hitting that gray area, if you will. How many more years do you have left?

TOM LEHMAN: That's very hard to say.

Q. How did I do on that question, by the way?

TOM LEHMAN: You stammered through it pretty well. (Laughter) You know, I'm not really certain whether the guys that get that age play the way they do because of lack of talent or lack of motivation. Maybe it's a little of both. If you've been playing on the tour for 25 years, maybe it's a little more difficult to get excited about playing and therefore you don't contend as often.

This has been my worst year since I got back out here. I don't like finishing 70th on the money list and not having a chance to win. I feel like I still play well enough. I hit it long enough. There is no reason why I can't play the next two, three or four years and contend frequently. Maybe I could be wrong about that, but I'd like to find out.

Q. Different situation than some of the other guys because your career, in terms of going through the Tour schedule every year, started much later than some of these other guys, like whoever who has been out there 22?

TOM LEHMAN: I'd like to be part of that. With me what has always motivated me the most is failure. And this year I consider to be a real failure of a year. It was a year I'd like to forget and therefore that's the kind of thing that motivates me.

GORDON SIMPSON: Tom, thank you very much.

End of FastScripts....

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