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June 10, 1999

Tom Lehman


JAMES CRAMER: We have Tom Lehman with us this afternoon. Shot 30 on his first 9; 33 on his back, for an 8-under par, 63, tied for the lead. Tom, why don't we get a general comment about your day before we go over your birdies.

TOM LEHMAN: I started out hitting it somewhat sketchy, but making some good putts. I finished hitting it really well and not making too many putts. The better I hit it, it seemed like the fewer birdies I was making out there. I'm disappointed that I bogeyed the last hole. That's never a nice way to finish your round. Overall, I'm very pleased. I thought I did a lot of things right.

JAMES CRAMER: Why don't we go over your birdies?

TOM LEHMAN: 10, I hit a poor drive, but 5-iron to the green, six to eight feet away, and made the putt. Next birdie was on 12. I had a good 3-wood off the tee and a sand wedge about six feet. Next birdie was No. 14. I hit a really good 6-iron there, one of the best shots I hit of the day, about two feet. Next birdie was on the par 5. I hit a 3-iron just in the green-side bunker; got up-and-down. 18, got away with hitting a bad drive. I hit a driver and kind of pulled it, but it got around the corner where I had a sand wedge to the green. I hit a sand wedge and made that. 1st hole, I hit a pitching wedge to about 15 feet; I made that. Third hole, the par 5, I laid up and had a pitching wedge about four feet. Next hole, I had a good shot, 5-iron, to about three inches. 5th hole, I hit a 1-iron. I chipped up and made it.

Q. On the last hole was that -- did you lose your drive to the left?

TOM LEHMAN: I tried to fade, and it kind of went straight. It went down through the fairway and into the rough.

Q. By the trees?

TOM LEHMAN: I was trying to hook it around the tree, and it kind of flew and hooked too much and went over the green.

Q. The morning rounds are usually the low scores out here. Did you expect to have such a good round in the afternoon?

TOM LEHMAN: Well, the conditions were perfect. There wasn't that much wind, just a gentle breeze that kept things cool. The greens were soft and -- reasonably slow, I thought. I thought it was great conditions to shoot a low score. I'm not sure if maybe the afternoon wasn't a better time to play today. It wasn't quite as hot.

Q. What's it like, though, when you go up to the tee and you know somebody is already 8-under par? Do you even think about something like that? Could that be a daunting thing if you put too much on it?

TOM LEHMAN: I haven't played here very often. I played here in '93, and I missed the cut. So playing in the practice round and everything, the greens were pretty quick. And they weren't real hard, but they were a little bit firm. You know, I said to my caddie this morning: How low do they shoot around this place? Look at the scoreboard. There's a couple 8-unders, about five 7-unders. 6-under was about 8th place, and 5-under is in 15th place. Well, there's your answer. It's an element of that, but also made me feel like the course must be there for the taking. Guys would not be shooting such low scores if the conditions were not conducive to low scores. There's no reason why we can't do the same thing in the afternoon.

Q. Was there any time in the round, maybe after you got to 9-under that you started thinking --

TOM LEHMAN: Like sub-60? (Laughter.) Actually, I did. I thought: I'm hitting the ball pretty well. With four holes to play, I can make three birdies. I hit a good shot on my 15th hole. I hit a good shot on my 16th hole and I hit a good shot on my 17th hole. I just could not get the ball in the hole. That's tough to do. A lot of things have to go right to do that. There have only been, what, two guys that have never done it on this TOUR; so, it's not easy.

Q. In terms of confidence, to be able to put this kind of a round together, you don't look too far ahead, but can you talk about your mindset after a round like this?

TOM LEHMAN: Really started to hit the ball well on the back nine today. The front nine, I hit some good shots, but I feel like I was struggling; and so I had to kind of get the swing going on the back nine where I was really hitting it. And I felt like I had full control of everything I was doing. It does give a lot of confidence. Like I said, though, I hate to bogey the last hole. I probably hit the wrong club off the tee and probably should have hit 3-wood. You always think it would be nice to finish with a par or birdie rather than bogey. But from the standpoint of my golf game, I think today was a good step in the right direction.

Q. When you have a day like this when you play so well, is it kind of amazing to you that you almost became a golf coach a few years ago?

TOM LEHMAN: That was quite a few years ago. But I don't think about that too much anymore. Occasionally, you do think about how the worm turns and what could have been. The way it's turned out, Minnesota has a great golf program. They are ranked in the Top-10 in the country this year. They have a defending NCAA champion. They probably would have done none of that with me as a coach; and likewise, things have gone well for me. So things have worked out as they should have.

Q. Tom, what made you play here this year, if you had not been here for so long?

TOM LEHMAN: Well, the date, because it was a big thing. I always like to play the week before the U.S. Open. And so no matter where they're playing -- we could be playing in the Alaskan Open -- I would probably play it that week. But I have not played here -- I have not played here; it's not because I don't like it. It's not that I didn't like Memphis or the course. That has nothing to do with it. It's just where it has fit in the schedule. It has never worked: Either two weeks after the Open or after the British Open, or whatever the case may be. The date was always a little bit off for me.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TOM LEHMAN: The Open is such the ultimate test of target golf, really, accuracy. And I always feel like when I'm playing, competition gets me way more target-oriented than hitting balls on the driving range or practicing at home. I feel like it's good for me to have that kind of competition leading into a tournament like that; so when I get there and see a 22-yard wide fairway I'm not intimidated.

Q. Do you do anything different in this week before a major like that? Do you prepare any differently, or are you working on anything specifically in your game?

TOM LEHMAN: I have been playing very inconsistently; so I'm just really trying to find some consistency in my golf swing and my game as a whole. So I guess my goal going into this week was to get myself into contention. It would be nice to have a chance to win here, get a chance to get into the saddle so to speak, get back into the hunt. It's like going into next week, it would not have been since Bay Hill when I was really in contention to win. It would be nice to be in that situation this week, just to get those feelings back and get used to it again.

Q. Was 59 just a passing thought on your 15th hole? Do you really bear down that you might make history today?

TOM LEHMAN: I thought about it on the tee, and didn't really think about it again until I missed that putt: Well, now I've got to birdie the last three, I guess. But 59s just seem to happen. The more you think about it and the more you push for them -- that's why they don't happen very often is when you start to think about it, that's when you get out of what's gotten you to the point where you can shoot 59. When that thought pops in, it's better to let it pop right out again.

Q. Has it popped in before for you?

TOM LEHMAN: No. I think the lowest score I've ever shot is 62, and I had to birdie the last couple holes to do that. I've never been in a position where I could shoot under 60.

Q. Did that help, playing with Loren today?

TOM LEHMAN: I always enjoy playing with him. He is one of my best friends. When you're out with one of your best friends, it's usually more relaxing, more fun. He had a very up-and-down day. Made a lot of birdies and a lot of bogeys. I'm sure he wasn't real pleased, but it's nice to be out with buddies.

Q. What kind of schedule are you going to play this summer?

TOM LEHMAN: I'm going to play a lot. I'm going to play -- I'm playing four in a row right now, and then take a week off and then play three -- two in a row; take a week off, and then four in a row. So I'm going to be playing a full schedule all summer.

Q. I guess some people would wonder about confidence, the way the U.S. Opens have ended lately. But at this point, I would think you have a lot of confidence heading into that because you've had such a good run at that tournament; is that the case?

TOM LEHMAN: I think confidence -- what happened last year or the year before really has no bearing on what happens this year. You know, the best thing is to go in there with the mindset knowing that your game is in good shape, and knowing that in the past when your game has been in good shape, you're going to have a good chance to win the tournament. So the best thing I can do for myself is just try to, you know, get my game to the point where I feel like teeing it up next Thursday; that I'm in control of what I'm doing. And if I am, I'll feel very confident. Thank you very much.

End of FastScripts….

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