An Interview With: Justin Leonard

JULIUS MASON: Justin Leonard, ladies and gentlemen, after the second round at 9-under in the clubhouse. Some thoughts on your round and we'll go through the card and go to Q&A, please.

JUSTIN LEONARD: I felt like I played pretty solid today, not quite as well as yesterday, but still it was a good day. Staying out of trouble for the most part. I missed a couple more fairways today.

But, you know, I made some nice putts and hit some good wedge shots. You know, just glad to shoot a couple of good rounds and be in good position going into this weekend.

JULIUS MASON: Let's just talk about your birdies and bogeys real quick.

JUSTIN LEONARD: Starting on No. 10, drove it left of the fairway. Hit a pitching wedge to about 25 feet and made that.

Bogeyed 12. Hit a 7-iron just off the right of the green and chipped to about seven feet and missed that putt.

Birdied 16. Hit a 4-iron just short right of the green and chipped to about a foot. Birdied 1, hit a pitching wedge to about eight feet.

Birdied 3, hit a 7-iron about 20 feet.

Bogeyed 4. Drove it in a fairway bunker on the right. Laid out, hit a sand wedge to about ten feet and missed that putt.

Birdied 5. Had a pitching wedge to about two feet and then parred the last four.

Q. If you could just talk, the course yesterday, people were talking about how easy it was, and early today people were saying it was playing much more difficult. Your impressions of the tee markers today, the pin placements and what you thought of today compared to yesterday and what you might expect over the weekend.

JUSTIN LEONARD: Ifelt the golf course was set up more difficult today, and I think that was the reaction to the low scoring yesterday, certainly, with the tees at 8, 11 and 18 being moved back, and I felt like the pin positions were a little tougher today.

I felt like the wind was actually probably a little calmer this afternoon than it was yesterday morning. It certainly died down as the day went on. So, you know, I think those two things almost offset each other a little bit.

I expect kind of more of the same this weekend, and I think that that they will continue to set the golf course up difficult but fair. There's always a couple of pins that, you know, you think, well, that maybe a little too close to the slope here or there. But all in all, the golf course has been difficult, but fair.

Q. You sat in that chair in a very similar position a couple of years ago; after three rounds, you went into the final round riding shotgun, I guess. Do players learn as much from failure, I guess, in that situation, as they do from success, and do you feel like despite the bruise, maybe you walked out of that learning something?

JUSTIN LEONARD: I tend to learn more in failure than I do success.

However, I don't know how much I learned after that round a couple of years ago. Obviously, I played a great round on Saturday and I felt very good about my game. I went out Sunday and just didn't play well. There wasn't a point or a moment during the round where all of a sudden I fell apart. I just didn't play well for 18 holes.

I don't know if there's a whole lot to really learn from that, other than, you know what, it just wasn't my day.

Q. Sort of a follow-up on that, you said from when you contended at Winged Foot to Hazeltine you were a different player because of all the swing changes you had made. From Hazeltine to now, how do you compare as a player, and how much of a change has taken place?

JUSTIN LEONARD: That's a deep question. I may need all night to think of that one.

I don't know. I don't know if I really have an answer for that. I haven't made a whole lot of changes with my game. I think that I've got a little different perspective now than I did two years ago having a little girl now. I think that's given me some perspective. I know that I think if the same thing happened now as what happened two years ago, that I would probably take it a little bit better and probably would not bug me for quite as long. It still bugged me but for not quite as long.

As far as my golf game, I don't know. I probably am a little more comfortable with the way I'm swinging the club. Obviously I have not played as well this year as I did, I guess that was 2002, but the last couple of weeks has been pretty good. I'm glad to be playing well in a major championship and looking forward to playing this weekend.

Q. Over the first two days, your threesomes probably had the best group in terms of under par and everybody playing together. Is that everybody kind of playing off each other and just seeing other good shots and momentum, or do you pay attention to what everybody else is doing or are you just playing your own game?

JUSTIN LEONARD: I think yesterday there was certainly a little piggy-backing and feeding off each other. You know, today we didn't play´┐Ż-- we all played very solid but we weren't making the birdies that we did yesterday because the golf course was set up a little more difficult. But I think that yesterday we certainly fed off each other. I know I fed off those guys a lot once they got going because they were leaving me in the dust there for a while.

JULIUS MASON: Justin Leonard, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you very much.

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