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October 27, 1996

Tom Lehman


LEE PATTERSON: Share your thoughts about today.

TOM LEHMAN: Share my thoughts? Well, it would have been nice to be able to play at 9 o'clock this morning. I know I was looking forward to that, but a day delay is no big deal, I guess. And I definitely think that this is too big a tournament to have made a three-round call, so I think it's the appropriate decision and I look forward to playing tomorrow.

Q. What time did you wake up and did you look out the window?

TOM LEHMAN: I woke up about 4:30 when the lightning was going on and the rain. I knew it would be tough to play, at least this morning. And it was pretty lousy.

Q. Did you have to make any schedule conflicts in trying to stay with the rest of the field? Did you have to make arrangements for your own schedule for tomorrow?

TOM LEHMAN: As far as like traveling and stuff like that?

Q. Scheduling conflicts?

TOM LEHMAN: No, I have the next few weeks off, so I can stay until whenever. (Laughter.)

Q. Tom, what was the general consensus in the clubhouse when word got around that you would be coming back tomorrow, were they all for it?

TOM LEHMAN: I really don't know. Actually I wasn't there when they made the announcement. I know the consensus at the back of the hotel was that the tournament was over. Anytime you're leading, and you don't want to be thinking that way. So I was talking to Duffy Waldorf and Ernie, and they were like we're not going to play. And I told them I guarantee you we'll be out there knee deep in mud if you have to to finish this tournament.

Q. Tom, you said, but still in the back of your mind it has to be creeping in there's a chance this might be all called off. How did you fight that off?

TOM LEHMAN: You know, I won a tournament on the Hogan Tour in 1990 or '91 that was called after -- it was rain shortened. And actually had to go into a playoff to win. But anytime you win a tournament that's been shortened because of the weather, it's missing a little something; it lacks a little finality, if you want to call it that. So part of winning, actually, is sleeping on a lead and going out and having to play to win the next day. That's all a part of the process. And I think you need to go through that to get really the winner.

Q. How do you think it will affect you having to sleep on it an extra day?

TOM LEHMAN: You know, I was really hoping to play. I felt I was on a really good roll. I'm not sure a day off is going to hurt. But I definitely liked the way I was feeling about playing this morning. Waiting it out one more day is -- things get in your head, you start thinking about the what-ifs and you start worrying about how you're going to play. And so I guess the real secret would probably be to try to relax and have a good time the rest of the day and not really think too much about golf.

Q. Lift-clean and place, what is your strategy going to be to play tomorrow?

TOM LEHMAN: Is that what it is, lift-clean and place? I'm sure the weather is going to be lousy and cold and probably windy. And I really don't see a lot of low scores. I actually would prefer it to be a bad day. So if it wants to be cold and windy tomorrow, that's fine with me.

Q. Are you glad you played the Pro Am now?

TOM LEHMAN: Get everybody warmed up. It could be similar, you never know. It's definitely getting a lot colder out. It must be 50 degrees right now, and probably going to drop. It makes this course very tough. I think we talked the other day about the wind blowing. The wind blows real hard for three straight days from the south and suddenly it switches to the north, I think that more than anything what will cause the most problems is a different wind direction.

Q. Tom, what do you guys do in a situation like this when you're on a roll, you've played three or four straight days and all of a sudden you have the day off? Do you take practice swings on your hotel room? Do you putt on the carpet in your room? Do you do anything golf-wise to keep thinking about it?

TOM LEHMAN: If a driving range were open, I'd probably go to try to find it. I'm not sure if there is one in town that's open. When it's this bad, I think you just want to put the clubs in the corner, maybe putt on the carpet for a while, just do something to feel like it's a golf tournament. And try to relax.

Q. Tom, if you win this tournament, you'll be PGA Player-of-the-Year on points, the PGA of America's Player-of-the-Year. What would that mean to you?

TOM LEHMAN: Well, that's -- aside from the obvious it means you've played awfully well throughout the year, I know when I've seen other guys win that award in the past it's been something that made me want to strive for. With the chance to win that, it's an exciting time. I think that more than anything, those kinds of things are what make waiting around an extra day difficult, is playing, not only for the tournament but for the other things that may come with it. And so those are the things you try to think about.

Q. One player already withdrew. Just from the feeling from the hotel, do you suspect that there are others that may decide just not to play tomorrow, as well?

TOM LEHMAN: I think most of the guys will be here.

Q. Did the conditions having changed change how you've been very aggressive all week? It's changed, it's toughened up, will that change your strategy at all, do you think?

TOM LEHMAN: It's going to change a lot of club selections off the tees. The 9th hole which was into the wind will now be downwind. So instead of a driver it will be a 1-iron or 3-iron, probably. So I think more than anything is trying to figure out what's the best club off the tee and from that point on you can -- it's the same game.

Q. Did the Commissioner consult with you at all or any of the players that you're aware of?

TOM LEHMAN: He called me up and said, Tom, what do you want to do? (Laughter.) And he said, what's it worth to you? And I said, what's your salary, Tim? And I said I can't afford that, so let's play. (Laughter.) No, they make the call. We just follow the decisions.

Q. What are your thoughts about Greg Norman being gone?

TOM LEHMAN: Greg withdrew? I didn't know he did. He must have had his reasons.

Q. To a certain extent do you almost feel relieved that they are going to have that first round so there's no asterisks?

TOM LEHMAN: I really think we needed to play, I really did. It's funny, because a lot of tournaments on the TOUR it rains on Sunday, and it's over. And that's it. So I think it's just -- not -- it's not the best way you choose to win a tournament. I feel like this tournament for me is a -- I've got a great opportunity tomorrow to make a big statement, if I could play one more good round, that would be a big statement to make. The flip side is there's always that element of -- that I could play lousy, and with bad weather and having a day off, I'd be losing momentum a little bit, there's that risk to take that maybe things might not go my way. Because at this point, really, you've had everything going your way for three days, you really -- it really can't get any better. It maybe can stay the same, possibly, but I played as well as I can play. So when the momentum starts to slip away, and I start making some bogeys, that's -- that's what's tough mentally about a big lead, it you suddenly get into a protecting frame of mind. But I think for me as a player, I need to play tomorrow. It will be good for me as a player to play.

Q. You said you could make a statement, what's the statement?

TOM LEHMAN: Well, if I tacked out one more good round and won by 12 or 13 strokes or something, that would be a pretty impressive tournament.

End of FastScripts....

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