Questions For Justin Leonard

After hanging on to win the FedEx Classic by a shot, Leonard reflected on fear, weightlifting and diapers
June 05, 2005

SI: IS IT TOUGH PLAYING WITH SUCH A BIG LEAD?

JL: LEADING WIRE-TO-WIRE IS A DRAIN. THAT'S WHY I DID A FLOP AFTER HOLING THAT PUTT ON 18. IT WAS A RELIEF.

SI: You started with an eight-shot lead on Sunday, but David Toms's 63 made it interesting.

JL: It would have been really ugly if I hadn't made the putt on the last hole. David made me work for it.

SI: Did you have an uh-oh moment?

JL: When David eagled 16 and I didn't birdie the hole, that was an uh-oh moment. I thought, I need to make two good pars on the last two holes. As it turned out, I only needed a par and a bogey.

SI: Last week Kenny Perry said he fought the fear of becoming the guy who blew a big lead at Colonial. Did you have similar thoughts?

JL: I had a few of those creep into the back of my mind, certainly.

SI: Your daughters are 20 months and two months old. How does traveling with the family affect you?

JL: It's great. I love having them here, and I love being a dad.

SI: So not too many big nights on Beale Street this week?

JL: No, Amanda [my wife] and I didn't do any of that. We keep to our routine: Go get dinner, get everybody bathed and to bed and then enjoy some quiet time.

SI: Do you change diapers?

JL: I have. I don't mind. The kids don't know if you shot 65 or 85, and they don't care.

SI: On the week you hit a lot of greens and two-putted for pars. Could that approach help you at Pinehurst in the U.S. Open?

JL: I'm going to have to do that at Pinehurst to be successful. I think everybody will. That's what you have to do on some of these toughened holes as well.

SI: Was your mind-set going into the final round, Just make pars?

JL: I wasn't trying to just make pars. I went for some birdie putts, on 11 and 12, but they didn't go in.

SI: Has the extra muscle you've added this year helped you?

JL: It has helped me hit it farther, and who wouldn't like that?

SI: Have you ever had as big a lead going into the last round, and have you ever had such a near-letdown?

JL: No, this was uncharted territory. Going to bed every night with a five- to eight-shot lead is not the norm for me.

SI: You haven't played that well the last few weeks. Was this a surprise?

JL: I've been working hard trying to get the rust off, and it's paying off. I want to keep going and carry this over. --Art Stricklin

KEY STAT

0

Number of three-putts by Justin Leonard while winning the FedEx St. Jude Classic.

COLOR PHOTOSCOTT HALLERAN/GETTY IMAGES (LEONARD) KNOCKOUT On Sunday, Leonard missed 13 greens but still won for the 10th time.

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)