Tom Lehman (Media Center)


By USGA
July 13, 2012

 

THE MODERATOR:  Good afternoon, everybody.  Pleased to welcome back Tom Lehman to the Media Center today.  Tom, you were even in Round 1.  You started today's round in a very similar fashion.  What clicked for you midway through your round?

TOM LEHMAN:  I think I just didn't try to do too much.  I haven't been real comfortable with my swing either of the first two days although today for a while there I really started to feel more like me.

But just trying to hit solid shots.  Not hero shots, just trying to put the ball on the green where I can have a decent putter.  Through the first five or six holes, I saw pars, but then I made a birdie on 7, I think it was, made another birdie on 9.  Made a great putt on 11, a 30‑footer.  Super birdie on 12, 6 iron from about eight feet or six feet.

Then a tap‑in on 13 or 14.

So it all just started to kind of progress, all just started to happen, which I think is what happens in U.S. Opens.  The great rounds just kind of happen.  You don't go out there I'm going to shoot a great round today.  They just sort of happen.

THE MODERATOR:  Precision still the key to navigating this golf course?

TOM LEHMAN:  Yes, precision.  Pulling the club off the tee is really big deal.  The wind blowing.  There's some different shots than we're used to.  We played most of the practice rounds with the wind blowing opposite the way it is today.  So kind of a learning experience out there.

Q.  Tom, it's obviously getting seriously bunched up.  What's the theory on why that's happening?  Is it the conditions?  The golf course?  Talent of play?

TOM LEHMAN:  I think on a course like this, which it's not overly long, but there's some long shots.  Some of the par 3s are difficult as long shots.  But on a course like this, where it's tricky in the best sense, it's tricky that you have to know what you're doing.  You have to really have a good game plan, and it's difficult to shoot two great rounds in a row.  It's easy to let a round get away from you like I did yesterday and shoot even par.

And you get one going today and finish it up at 4 under.  So it's hard to do two days in a row.  So I think that's why these scores are bunched up.

Q.  Tom, obviously, in these type of conditions, misses are important.  How good were the misses today?  Is that also a factor here?

TOM LEHMAN:  I didn't miss many greens.  For me, that was a big deal.  Don't know how many greens that I hit, but it had to be 15 or 16, I would think.  So there wasn't a lot of chipping going on.  I think that's really important.

The greens out here, majority of them are kind of bowl‑shaped, where if you put it in the center of the green, you're kind of putting uphill somewhat.  So that's kind of been my game plan, hit a lot of greens and put them in the middle where I can putt somewhat aggressively.  Any time you get past the hole or miss on the sides, you're in big trouble.  So I'm just trying not to do that.

Q.  Tom, what about your putt on 18 where you were getting away from it?

 TOM LEHMAN:  I was in between clubs my second shot, and it was either get a hard 7 and try to hook it or cut 6 and try to hold the wind.  I Went with the 6 iron and just blocked it.  From over there, it is a tough putt.  I hit a 50‑footer up the ridge a little faster than I thought.  I putted that quite a bit in practice rounds, and I thought the green was faster today than it had been in some of the practice rounds.

Then I knocked it six feet by.  Hit a good putt the second one, but just slightly misread.

Q.  Tom, we're hearing a lot about what a difficult golf course this is off the tee, a driving golf course.  Fairways don't appear to be all that narrow.  Is it difficult driving because of the angles or the lines?  What is it?

TOM LEHMAN:  Yes, the angle.  They move, so there's always seemingly one side where you have a short right field fence or a short left field fence, so to speak, where you could go through easily on one side or the other.  Very few are just a bowling alley going straight down away from you.

So for that reason, picking the right club is important.  If you want to kind of play a little bit safer, you hit a 3 wood and you can kind of get a little more room on one side or the other.  If you hit the driver, you've got to hit a perfect line.  At least that's my take on the whole thing.  There's a slope to them as well in spots.

So playing out of the rough then becomes very difficult.  The rough isn't a killer, but it's enough to lose control of your ball a bit and make it tough to get close.

Q.  Tom, just how many drivers did you hit today?

TOM LEHMAN:  Oh, let me see.  I probably hit one, two, three, four, five.  I hit five.

Q.  Is that about the same as yesterday or fewer?

TOM LEHMAN:  It's probably pretty close.  I've got a pretty strong 3 wood, so I don't give up too much with my 3 wood.  So I'm kind of in a good position with my 3 wood, where I still get it out there pretty far.  I don't think I give up too much distance.

Q.  On 9, did you try to drive 9?

TOM LEHMAN:  No, I hit a 5 iron to the tee.  5 iron and then 9 iron for the last six or eight feet.

THE MODERATOR:  You're one shot back.  Does your preparation change going into the weekend when you go hit balls, or will you just rest for the remainder of the day?

 TOM LEHMAN:  I think my game needs a little bit of work.  Like I said, today was a score based completely on patience and good course management and having enough game to hit the shots that I need.

My game is in a place right now where just over the ball, you feel 100 percent locked in.  So typically, I don't have to think this much about my swing and the shots I'm going to hit.  Just get up and swing and hit it.  So I need a bit more work.

THE MODERATOR:  Other questions?  Tom, thanks for joining us.

TOM LEHMAN:  Thank you.

 

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