Interview with Tain Lee '12, Top Golfer In The Country

At 5'10, 150 Tain Lee has dominated the D-III golf scene as a 19 year old Freshman.  He has shot 65 three times in his life and he does not plan on slowing down.  He is currently ranked #1 in the country, and I got a chance to catch up with him over the weekend. How long have you played golf? Since I was pretty young.  I started when my dad started to learn the game.  I played my first tournament when I was 8.

When did you win your first tournament? When I was 9.

Tain Lee chips his way out of a bunker

What kind of high-school honors did you receive? I received 1st team all county with 5 other guys.

Did all the other all county guys go on to play D-I golf? I think all of them are D-I besides me.

Could you have gone D-I? Yes, I definitely had my options, Northwestern, USD and UC-Berkley; but my dad went to CMC and my sister goes to Scripps so I was pretty set on coming to CMC.

Do you have any superstitions? No I don’t believe in superstitions, I’m pretty good with preparation in terms of getting to bed on time and all that, but I don’t have any good luck charms or anything.

Do you have any pre-match music? No, I will listen to whatever is on the radio, but I don’t have an Ipod in before the match or anything like that.  But I do go through my round, if not the night before the morning of.  I try to visualize the course and the shots that I’m going to take.

Would you call yourself a conservative or aggressive player? I’m pretty aggressive.  I have had my fair share of big numbers this year because I do have an aggressive nature.  Consciously I have to try and tone it down and remind myself to play smart, but I’m pretty aggressive at heart.

Do you have a favorite club? I love my 60-degree wedge because I can put a lot of spin and control on the ball.

How you ever bet on golf before with your buddies? (Laughs) Yeah, I had a really good high school team, Tyler Smith and Matt Pierce, Tyler went to USC and Matt went to Duke.  We played the same course everyday, so we went at it.  One time Tyler was down over $300 obviously I wasn’t going to make him pay so I just had him by my meals for the rest of the season.

How would you describe your temperament on the course? I have never had any issues with temperament, but it does get intense and I do get into it. But I don’t throw clubs.

What is the best part of your game? My mental game because golf is very mental, if I had to pick out a physical part of my game I would say my approach shots.  I hit a lot of greens.

Who is your favorite golfer? I actually used to hate Tiger, but as his career developed you have to have complete respect for the guy, because he is so disciplined and he is the best to ever play the game.

Have you considered going pro? Of course, but golf is such a day-to-day thing. With going to CMC, I feel like I am in a win win situation, because I have a great education to fall back on.  After I graduate I will probably try for a couple of years and if it works out, it is a dream come true