June 18, 1995
SOUTHAMPTON, NEW YORK
LES UNGER: Tom, we appreciate greatly you coming down. What
are your overall feelings on how your day went and the conditions
TOM LEHMAN: Well, I am obviously very disappointed. Any time you
have a chance to win the U.S. Open, it would be nice to go out
and play your very best game and today I didn't do that. So I
feel like I just really let it spill through my fingers I tried
as hard as I could I wasn't playing as well as I knew I could
I hit a birdie on the 12th hole kind of get -- tried to get myself
back on track I feel like I had a good chance to win the thing,
but that 16th hole is just a monster after par 5 and I saw it
chew up the first two rounds and it got me in today. Standing
on the 17th tee. Obviously, I didn't even want to play. It was
like the tournament was over for me. And it was tough to finish
the last two holes.
LES UNGER: Questions, please.
Q. Tom, do you feel like 16 was the decisive hole for the tournament
for everybody here? Do you think that was the challenging hole,
the hole for everyone?
TOM LEHMAN: Yeah, it is a difficult hole to drive it well in order
to lay it up properly in order to get it on the green. So if you
started half hitting the first shot bad it is most in the hole
impossible. I drove it in the bunker and hit a bad lay-up. You
have seen it all week long guys doing that and making bogeys and
doubles and triples and whatever and, you know, it is just a true,
you know, three shot great par 5 you have to hit every shot just
right. Or else you really pay the penalty.
Q. Tom, the way this course does the sort mentality we are
you down every shot you have to grind it seems you get down it
is kind of mentally we are you down a little bit?
TOM LEHMAN: Yeah, it does mentally wear you down. Especially,
I felt like, you know, even all week long I was struggling with
my swing and felt like I was keeping it in the fairway and keeping
it on the green, but I wasn't hitting the ball the way I would
like to and today was just it was even worse. And, you know, trying
to manage your game and hang in there when you are not playing
Q. Can you describe what the conditions were on your third
shot on 16 and can you go a little bit in to detail?
TOM LEHMAN: Yeah, I had like 132 yards to the front edge and the
ball was just really buried in the grass and there was really
no way of getting the ball to the green. And so we kind of felt
like if I could just pitch it down the fairway you know, give
myself a decent chance to knock it close to make a 5, and my fourth
shot caught a big gust of wind but the wind gusted real hard when
the ball was in the air kind of knocked it down to the left and
spun back off the green.
Q. Keep going with the shots --
TOM LEHMAN: Okay, well then a little chip a little fluffy lies
around the green are difficult. It caught just a hair heavy and
the ball obviously -- didn't kind of rolled up and roll-back to
the fringe pretty good putt just stopped short.
Q. Tom, conditions like these and the situation of Corey not
being in the focus of the lead until the back nine, does that
sort of play into his game because of the way he plays?
TOM LEHMAN: You know, I really don't think some I got to be honest
with you. I think when you are playing a tournament like this.
It is you against the golf course and you against the conditions
and you know, basically so busy with what you are doing you are
not noticing or caring what Corey Pavin is doing. So you are just
doing the best you can do. And Corey I am sure is the same way;
he was just trying to survive out there and shoot the best score
that he could. And so when you get four, five hours of play, you
see that he is up there with a one shot lead, you know, obviously
you know you got to make a birdie. You have to make birdies on
Q. Tom, was the wind as bad for your game today as it was yesterday,
and were the conditions worse today?
TOM LEHMAN: I think the course played faster today. You know,
the wind has been blowing now for basically three days, real hard
for two days, and the fairways are like rocks, the greens are
like rocks. And you know, I didn't hit the ball nearly as solid
today. So the course seemed a lot more difficult to me today.
Q. Tom were you on the 17th tee when waiting to hit when the
roar went up for Pavin's shot at 18 and if so, what was your reaction?
TOM LEHMAN: Yeah, I think I had just finished on the 16 green,
I heard the roar. I figured he probably had knocked it on somewhere
near the pin, you know, in two. And you know, I kind of felt like
-- you could tell from the roar. You could tell Corey had done
something that was good.
Q. There was a warning of slow play. Was that just once and
did that have any affect on you or was there more than one warning?
TOM LEHMAN: Just the one as far as I know. On about the 12th hole
or 13th hole or something. And I don't think that really affected
me at all, no.
Q. Tom, do you think you got a fair break in the 14 with the
release of the ball because everybody was either going up to the
pin and pass, and your shot just happened to stay where it was
and didn't really -- you looked a little confounded on television
your reaction, could you describe that?
TOM LEHMAN: I couldn't believe the ball stopped short of the green.
It is so hard out there every ball you see that was a perfect
shot. I am not sure how far it bounced, maybe 10 yards maximum,
to the front edge only. I was definitely surprised.
Q. Could you characterize Corey's game a little bit.
TOM LEHMAN: Well, is that Bill Hoffman -- there you are. Well,
Corey you know, first and foremost the guy is a competitor. He
is a fighter. He has a lot of heart; has a huge heart. And he
has all the shots; he can hit high, low, right to left, left to
right, and he is a great putter. So I really feel like you know,
there isn't a course that Corey can't play. When conditions get
tough like this he has the shots to deal with the wind and the
firm fairways and greens. I am really personally very happy for
him to kind of get that monkey off his back to be one of the best
players that ever won a Major. I think he has been deserving of
one for a long time. I am very happy and proud of him this week
Q. Tom, were you close enough or aware enough of Greg and how
he was letting it slip away; did you notice his reactions?
TOM LEHMAN: I know he was frustrated. He didn't make any putts
out there today, and you know, he hit a few bad drives. When he
hit it in the rough on 12 and 13 and made bogeys, but you know,
he will be in a few minutes you can ask him yourself.
Q. Just described putting conditions today.
TOM LEHMAN: Difficult. The greens were very crusty, extremely
fast with the wind blowing it made it difficult to stay steady
and it is hard to make putts.
Q. Tom, the last three holes tripped up a lot of players coming
down the stretch, can you talk about how difficult that played
16, 17, 18?
TOM LEHMAN: Well, we already talked about 16 how tough that par
5 is. The 17th hole is just a severe cross wind left to right
and the pin was behind the left bunker. There is really you know,
virtually no way to get real close. You had to hit absolute perfect
shot to get it anywhere near the hole. So I am sure the right
bunker got a lot of wear today. The 18th hole, you know, is --
left long -- hard green every shot there is tough. You are nervous
and the wind is blowing and it is hard to get good shots.
Q. Could you compare back 9 pressure at Augusta compared to
back 9 pressure at a U.S. Open?
TOM LEHMAN: I didn't feel nearly as much pressure today as I did
at Augusta. You know, today I mean, this course this tournament
is like survival and you know, you are just trying to hang on
and keep the ball in play and keep your head about you, and manage
your game. Augusta is the kind of course where you can make a
lot of birdies and you obviously can make a lot of bogeys, but
there is not the pressure of the tee that you have here to hit
it in the fairway.
LES UNGER: This will be the last question.
Q. Do you think you may now be the best player in the world
without a major championship title?
TOM LEHMAN: I don't know about that. There is a lot of great players
that haven't won a major. I think there is a lot of guys out there
who are capable of winning a major and myself included, and I
really believe that my time will come.
LES UNGER: Tom, thank you very much we appreciate it.
TOM LEHMAN: Thank you.
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