What they said: Tom Lehman

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November 06, 2011
PGA TOUR staff

MORE INTERVIEWS: Charles Schwab Cup Championship transcript archive

THE MODERATOR: We welcome to the interview room your 2011 Charles Schwab Cup champion. Tom, exciting day. A lot of things happening near the end. And it was sort of out of your control there after you finished the round. You were watching like everybody else.

Just a few thoughts. You took the lead in the Schwab Cup after you won at Boca Raton at the Allianz Championship, and you held it throughout the year. Congratulations.

TOM LEHMAN: The ending was pretty tight, pretty down to the wire. I remember, '96, when I won Player of the Year, I won the season-ending tournament, THE TOUR Championship to win the money title and to win the Player of the Year and the Vardon Trophy and all that kind of stuff. Looked like Calc had a great chance of doing it here, of taking it all one fell swoop at the end. He played great. Really, really impressed with the way he played and the way he battled.

He shot even par the first day I played with him and it could have been 80. He just hung in there so well and overcame a bunch of mistakes and obviously played well throughout the week.

To come in here knowing you have to finish second or better and finish tied for second with just one too many guys was pretty impressive, hats off to him. As for me, I'm thrilled to win the trophy.

It's been a long year, from the second week I've had that yellow jersey and had a lot of times where guys were closing in and had to play a good week and have a good tournament, and I did.

And this week was one of those weeks where I think I made five birdies in four rounds only. Just tee to green I played pretty well and on the greens I made nothing and it created a lot of stress for me out there.

THE MODERATOR: Questions?

Q. Loren Roberts helped you out a little bit. Could you -- obviously getting into that tie for second place, you have some background with Loren??

TOM LEHMAN: We've been close friends for many, many years. And his wife introduced me to my wife way back in 1984. So we have a lot of -- long-lasting friendship.

But I thought Calc had to finish second alone to win. Then I found out, no, it has to be a two-way or three-way tie. Every par on 18 was golden for me. When Loren made that 2-putt from the back of the green, that was huge, gave him a nice big hug, told him what a good friend he was.

And Mike Allen made a nice chip from the front, almost holed it. Tapped it in for his par. And Jay Don hung in there. The conditions were getting really bad. He held it together and made a beautiful, beautiful pitch from the rough down below there, save par.

And all kind of, things kind of just changed and changed and changed and at the end it worked out in my favor.

Q. Where were you watching all this??

TOM LEHMAN: I was right kind of outside the scorer's area, watching from the ropes there the patio area. Phil was giving me the updates who had to do what.

So we were waiting with our fingers crossed hoping that it's like a Ryder Cup, halves are good, halves are good. And watching -- looking for guys to make a par on 18.

Q. First, what's the button on the side of your hat??

TOM LEHMAN: You know, it says www.teambemis.com. Scott Bemis is the varsity head football coach at Notre Dame Prep in Scottsdale where my kids go to school. He had to take a leave because he's really sick. So the school's kind of rallying around him. They put out the buttons. I wore the button, just we love Scott Bemis.

Q. Spell that name for us.

TOM LEHMAN: B-e-m-i-s.

Q. As far as the season-long points race, was there a point during the season, you're playing well, playing well, but was there a point where it clicked in your head: I could win this, too, at the end of the year??

TOM LEHMAN: I think after the -- I had a really good first half of the season. I putted beautifully. The second half didn't putt quite as well. Really, quite frankly, these double points tournament is where you really make up your ground. I knew I had a great chance in the summer with the U.S. Senior Open and the British Senior Open, really, if I had good weeks, to almost put the thing away by the late summer and didn't.

I ran into a bulky putter and kept on finishing, I'd play -- I think I played well week after week. But when the putter worked, I couldn't win, lots of seconds, thirds, fourths. Otherwise it was 15th. The Majors, I finished outside the top 10 and got no points. I think Calc finished second here, third in the other, second here and a lot of double points it adds up in a hurry.

Q. I should add you won by 74 points, the end result. That was the final differential, 74. While Loren helped you, your Scottsdale neighbor, Michael Allen, really sealed it for you. He said maybe you'll give him a ride home tonight.

TOM LEHMAN: On Southwest. If he's at the airport on 9:15, I'll give him a ride. That was huge. Those guys are thinking about themselves. They're not worrying about anything but their own game, obviously. But just clutch, because I say the conditions were getting worse. And 18, went from being pretty easy to being very difficult. And so for them to make par, really kind of kept them in the game because you never know what the leader might do. 17 wasn't playing easy and 18 there's trouble. And Jay Don hiccupped, that 6-under, we're looking at a possible playoff. They played great golf.

Q. I asked Michael this, too. Jay Don is a guy who won an NCAA 1980, and then basically you never heard much from him, one tournament. Did you know much about him and were guys on TOUR a little surprised, sometimes say, boy, that guy ought to do well and he didn't? It turns out he had a bad back, but other things, I guess he could always putt, too.

TOM LEHMAN: I played with him, and the NCAA that he won at Ohio State, I played with him, three rounds. Interesting fact.

He birdied the 18th hole at Ohio State four times the final day. So think about that. We had to finish the third round in the morning, and he birdied 18. Then he had to birdie the 18th hole to get in a playoff, he birdied 18. Then he and Hal Sutton played the first playoff, both birdied 18. And Jay Don birdied again to win.

But he could roll his rock. I'm seriously, you think about all the great putters you have ever seen, there was a time where he was as good as any of them and had a bull's eye putter. It was amazing. Amazing. That was the Scarlet.

Q. Some players had the pleasure of winning this have said what they're going to do with the money. Others have not. Do you have any plans for it??

TOM LEHMAN: I haven't thought about it at all. I don't even know how it's given out or what. Trust me, it could be retirement for all I know. I don't know how it's all parcelled out. But this will -- we're pretty involved with our community and with different organizations and I don't know exactly what we'll do. But I'm sure some of it is going to find its way to some pretty worthwhile organizations.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you.

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