August 3, 2000
CASTLE ROCK, COLORADO
LEE PATTERSON: Thank you, Tom. A wonderful start to the week. Maybe just a couple of thoughts about today, then we will open it up to questions.
TOM LEHMAN: Well, our whole group played very well, which I thought was a big benefit to me. I was kind of the guy pulling up the rear for a long time out there. Brian Henninger made three or four quick birdies. Calc made birdie and an eagle. They kind of were dragging me along. They kind of got me more in an aggressive mode. I played very well. I think I might have missed one green only all day. Where I was chipping, I hit a couple in the fringe, but played the par 5s extremely well. Played the par 5s 5-under today. Three birdies and an eagle. That is what you need to do on this course in this format, really abuse the par 5s. You do that, you are probably going to do pretty well.
LEE PATTERSON: Questions.
Q. This format agrees with you; golf course agrees with you. You would figure somewhere along the line you would have won one of these things or do you think, you know, one is in the cards for you out here?
TOM LEHMAN: Well, I do like the golf course a lot. I think this golf course is a great course. Format is a lot of fun. It really lends itself to, you know, really aggressive play, but not aggressive at being ridiculously risky. But just really -- you have those 30-footers, go ahead and give it a run; see if you can make them. Try to get it in there close sometimes and if you can make an extra birdie or two around it you don't -- you can usually make because you are playing more aggressively, but with two bogeys, you are still coming out ahead point-wise it definitely does pay to be aggressive. I think that is one thing that everybody likes is the idea you can kind of take dead aim and get aggressive out here.
Q. Can you take anything from this round to help you with others the next few days?
TOM LEHMAN: Well, I played the par 5s very well which is always nice. But the other holes I really didn't do a whole lot. I hit good shots; didn't make many putts. I kind of felt like I got a few and also kind of left a few out there. So 15 I think is an extremely good score. I am not sure I have ever done any better than 15, so I am never going to complain moaning about a 15, but it was fairly easy today.
Q. You say you feel like you left a few out there, but you got to be happy about no bogeys or worse out there?
TOM LEHMAN: Yeah, no golfer is ever happy about their score. But I got a couple of good breaks and I had a string of holes where I had eight, 15-footers just kept on missing, so, golf is funny, just some days things are simple and today was very easy 65, easy 15 points. Tomorrow maybe I will play great and just have to grind out a 7 or something. That is kind of the way the game goes sometimes.
Q. The way the schedule is this year, this tournament coming before the PGA and I don't know if you are planning on playing next week. Is this -- you know, two Nicklaus courses. This is a nice way to prepare maybe for the PGA in two weeks?
TOM LEHMAN: I don't know really see that as preparing. This is too good a tournament to use it as or call it preparation for a major. Really any tournament is -- even I played at Loch Lomond a few weeks ago. That was the question there, is this a good tuneup for you for the Open Championship. I am like, no, this is a great tournament in and of itself. The Open Championship is next week, so I have a hard time looking at tournaments as tuneups. They all mean too much.
Q. Just similar golf?
TOM LEHMAN: Similar styles.
Q. Similar shots?
TOM LEHMAN: Yeah, definitely, as a similar look, Jack's greens, his bunkering all have a somewhat unique, but similar look no matter where you go, his targets all present, I think, some difficult shots. A lot of his greens are kind of angled so you need to really be able to work the ball and hit the ball the right distance and that is definitely something you need to do here and at Valhalla.
Q. The last three years high 40s was the winner. Do you have kind of a point total goal that you are shooting at?
TOM LEHMAN: I haven't thought about that, no. If you play well, high 40s is definitely something you can achieve. If you shot 5-under everyday that is 40 points right there, and I think the way the course is playing -- course played very easy today. I thought extremely easy. Greens were soft and the fairways are running a little bit so it is playing short. Seems to me like if you are driving the ball well, a lot of short irons at a lot of pins, and should be able to shoot pretty low scores.
Q. Finishing the way you did at the British Open do you think you are pretty much on top of your game at this point?
TOM LEHMAN: My game is pretty sound right now. I started out the year extremely well from really the first of January through about the end of April, early May; took a few weeks off; then kind of struggled for about four weeks through the U.S. Open. But my game, though, is probably as good now as it has been since the early part of the year and it feels pretty solid.
Q. A couple years back when Tiger made his first kind of push there was some talk that you were working out more and trying to get fitter. Then you kind of poo-pooed that, as I recall, but you look a little thinner now. Have you been working out and --
TOM LEHMAN: I work out sporadically. I am not in the gym everyday. But I will kind of go in the streaks. I will work out for two weeks; then have a week off; then maybe work out -- just kind of hit and miss more than anything. But I have lost some weight. I think it is more due to the fact that I have been out playing a lot and travelling and you know, walking up and down these fairways.
Q. Follow-up to a previous question. Could you put any -- your finger on any trend on why you maybe didn't do as well in previous trips here as you probably thought you should?
TOM LEHMAN: Well, putting is -- I have never felt like I really putted well here. A lot of times I have felt like I hit the ball extremely well but -- never felt I had one of those weeks where I made a lot of putts. That is the secret. You need to make those putts. You need to get the ball in the hole. It is the kind of format where par doesn't do you any good, and so I would say that if you had to stack this kind of format -- is this good for me or is this not so good for me, it is probably not as good as a US Open would be, for example. My putting is a bit streaky and so if I am putting well, great. But if I am struggling with the putter, it is going to be a long week.
LEE PATTERSON: Thank you.
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