Reusse: Lehman's golf mojo is ship-shape

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 9, 2013 - 11:57 PM
hide

Minnesota native Tom Lehman played Friday in the PGA Champions Tour Allianz Championship in Boca Raton, Fla.

Photo: Chris Trotman, Special To The Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

BOCA RATON, FLA. - The Champions Tour started a season-long points competition to claim the Charles Schwab Cup in 2001. Tom Lehman became the first golfer to win the Cup in consecutive years, in 2011 and '12.

Lehman will be facing a self-imposed obstacle as he attempts to win a third Cup in a row -- and the $1 million bonus that goes with it.

"My son will be playing football and I'm going to miss six or seven tournaments in the fall," Lehman said.

Notre Dame Prep is in Scottsdale, Ariz., and the Phoenix area's equivalent of Cretin-Derham Hall: a Catholic school that moves up in classification and is a perennial contender in football.

Thomas Jr., the third of four Lehman children, will be a senior next fall and is projected as the starting quarterback. It was suggested to Tom that his son must have acquired the football gene of Jim Lehman, Tom's late father and a star for John Gagliardi when the coach arrived at St. John's in 1953.

"I know he didn't get that gene from me," Tom said. "There was nothing I could do well in football.''

Jim Lehman did introduce his sons -- Jim Jr., Mike and Tom -- to golf at the Alexandria Golf Club as youngsters. Jim Jr. and Mike were very adept at the game, and Tom became the most prominent Minnesota-trained golfer in history.

The seniors are playing the Allianz Championship on the Old Course at Broken Sound this weekend. Lehman has Allianz as a sponsor and won this tournament in 2011.

Lehman turned 50 on March 7, 2009. He played 17 events on the PGA Tour that year and nine in 2010. He shared a victory with Bernhard Langer in the Legends in 2009 and won a major, the Senior PGA, in 2010.

Since then, Lehman's focus has been on the Champions Tour, with five total victories, two more majors and the two Schwab Cups.

"Life is good,'' Lehman said. "You're playing with a great bunch of people every week. There's plenty of competition."

Pressure? "I don't know if that's the same, but the desire to win is the same," he said.

When Lehman was at his best on the PGA Tour, it seemed that the tougher the track, the better his chance to contend. Example A: He was in the final twosome on the last day of four consecutive U.S. Opens.

You know the legend of the U.S. Open: "Par is a good score."

Par will get you about 54th place in a Champions Tour weekly 54-holer.

"You can't have a bad round -- even a mediocre one -- and win,'' Lehman said. "You have to stay aggressive and make birdies for three days."

Lehman never seemed like a good enough putter to win in weekly birdie fests. He tried the long putter for three years in his late 40s. He's returned to a traditional blade -- a Scotty Cameron -- and looks confident rolling the ball on Champions Tour greens.

"I've always felt like I'm a good putter," Lehman said. "The wins come on those weeks when you're a great putter."

Lehman had five official wins on the PGA Tour, including the British Open in 1996. He also won the '96 Tour Championship and was the PGA Player of the Year.

Let's repeat that: Tom Lehman was the PGA Player of the Year. How good do you have to be for that?

Lehman hit that draw with such precision; he hit the ball close to the hole so consistently; he competed so fiercely in the 1995, 1997 and 1999 Ryder Cups ...

You always felt there should have been a couple more huge victories -- the Masters that he lost to Jose Maria Olazabal, maybe the U.S. Open that he lost to Steve Jones on the 72nd hole at Oakland Hills?

What missed chance haunts him?

"Congressional, without a doubt,'' said Lehman, referring to the 1997 U.S. Open. "I was at the top of my game that week.

"Everybody talked about the shot that went in the water at 17 lost the tournament. That wasn't it. What cost me was the bogey at 16 -- just a bad shot for no reason. That's what put me in the situation where I had to try to make a shot at 17 that was close to impossible."

Fifteen golf seasons later, Lehman has found his additional majors on the Champions Tour, where life is good and the desire to win remains strong.

Patrick Reusse can be heard noon-4 weekdays on 1500-AM. preusse@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Yankees - LP: M. Pineda 0 FINAL
Toronto - WP: D. Hutchison 2
Detroit - LP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: C. Sale 6
Chicago Cubs - WP: F. Doubront 5 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: J. Masterson 1
Cincinnati - LP: A. Simon 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: V. Worley 3
Minnesota 0 Bottom 4th Inning
Baltimore 1
Philadelphia 3 Top 6th Inning
NY Mets 0
Miami 4 Top 6th Inning
Atlanta 0
Boston 0 Bottom 4th Inning
Tampa Bay 3
Cleveland 1 Bottom 4th Inning
Kansas City 0
Detroit 5 Top 5th Inning
Chicago WSox 0
Texas 0 Bottom 6th Inning
Houston 0
Colorado 1 Bottom 2nd Inning
Arizona 0
Chicago Cubs 1 Top 2nd Inning
St. Louis 1
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke 7:40 PM
San Diego - I. Kennedy
Milwaukee - M. Fiers 8:05 PM
San Francisco - J. Peavy
Oakland - J. Samardzija 8:05 PM
LA Angels - C. Rasmus
Washington - S. Strasburg 8:10 PM
Seattle - R. Elias
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
BYU 35 FINAL
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
UNLV 13 FINAL
Arizona 58
Penn State 26 FINAL
UCF 24
Troy 10 FINAL
UAB 48
(7) UCLA 28 FINAL
Virginia 20
Western Mich 34 FINAL
Purdue 43
(5) Ohio State 34 FINAL
Navy 17
Appalachian St 14 FINAL
Michigan 52
Ga Southern 23 FINAL
NC State 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Massachusetts 7
West Virginia 23 FINAL
(2) Alabama 33
Rice 17 FINAL
(17) Notre Dame 48
(10) South Dakota St 18 FINAL
(24) Missouri 38
Fla Atlantic 7 FINAL
(22) Nebraska 55
California 31 FINAL
Northwestern 24
Marshall 42 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 27
UC Davis 0 FINAL
(11) Stanford 45
Arkansas 21 4th Qtr 3:15
(6) Auburn 45
(16) Clemson 21 4th Qtr 12:05
(12) Georgia 24
Liberty 22 3rd Qtr 5:42
(23) North Carolina 35
Ohio U 14 4th Qtr 10:07
Kent State 7
Louisiana Tech 0 2nd Qtr 0:37
(4) Oklahoma 31
Stephen F Austin 10 2nd Qtr 0:53
(20) Kansas State 28
Fresno State 0 2nd Qtr 8:20
(15) USC 24
Southern Miss 0 2nd Qtr 11:50
Miss State 14
Texas-El Paso 14 1st Qtr 4:21
New Mexico 7
North Texas 0 1st Qtr 3:35
Texas 7
(1) Florida State 10 1st Qtr 5:35
Oklahoma State 0
Idaho 0 Delayed
Florida 0
(14) Wisconsin 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(8) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(1) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(17) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Colorado 0 FINAL
Seattle 1
New England 3 FINAL
Toronto FC 0
Columbus 0 2nd Half
Montreal 1
FC Dallas 0 1st Half 44:55
Chicago 0
Real Salt Lake 9:30 PM
San Jose
Portland 9:30 PM
Vancouver FC
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Chicago 48 4th Qtr 9:20
Indiana 62

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How many fantasy football teams do you draft?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close