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June 18, 1995

Tom Lehman


LES UNGER: Tom, we appreciate greatly you coming down. What are your overall feelings on how your day went and the conditions out there?

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 your best.

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 this course.

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 for winning.

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.

End of FastScripts....

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