Classic Cars are Leitzkes True Passion
Lietzke is consumed with cars ' classic cars. Hes an eBay nut, checking in on the website frequently to see whats come on the market that may interest him. It doesnt matter what condition its in or if its near his home in Dallas ' if its something he wants, hell go get it.
His latest jaunt was somewhere in the general direction of Minneapolis, about 65 miles from the end of Interstate 35, he said. Interstate 35 goes through from South Texas on one end to close to the Canada-U.S. border on the other.
Lietzke saw almost all of it in his pursuit of a rust-bucket 69 Dodge Super Bee. He covered a thousand miles or so of the concrete ribbon pulling a trailer into Wisconsin. He stopped into a restoration shop for a quick auto evaluation, then retraced the mileage back to Dallas.
It was a six-day road trip, he said.
But it was really much more than a six-day road trip. Lietzke, you see, had played in the Champions Tours 3M Championship in Minneapolis a month earlier and a local writer had penned a story about him, mentioning his interest in classic cars. The furor that followed was something to behold.
I started getting e-mails from people that week in Minneapolis, he said. I had people call the tournament trying to contact me. They all wanted to sell me their cars ' Come buy my 78 Z 28. It was pretty wild.
One guy said, Ive got a collection of 40 cars that Im trying to thin out. If you dont buy this Super Bee (that Lietzke would purchase the next month), come by my shop. I had people e-mailing me ' My son is too lazy to work on my Z 28, it youll give me $3,000 for it It was pretty crazy.
It all had started with Lietzke hunkered over eBay, as usual, poring over the hundreds of classic cars. He wasnt really interested in a rust-bucket, but the car he noticed was in the general vicinity of Minneapolis. And since he was going to be in Minneapolis the next week for the 3M, he said Hmm. and started bidding on the auto.
Bruce has bid on seven or eight cars on eBay, and actually had purchased one on the internet site. Its a habit of mine - one of my addictions is eBay, he said. And Im still looking for cars right now. I was on eBay this morning, still looking for other cars that I would like to have.
Lietzke mentions a couple that he has his heart set on acquiring ' an old Pontiac GTO, an Oldsmobile 442, maybe a Camaro.
I have such a passion for cars, he confessed. I would love to have a collection of 60 or 70. But Im trying to be realistic and keep it around 16 or 18. So - Im looking.
His car menagerie at home includes five family autos ' his wife drives one, his two children both have cars. But he has eight or nine classics, including a 66 Chevrolet El Camino that he uses as his personal ride. That was the other car that I bought on eBay about three years ago from a guy in California, he said.
He makes an effort to keep all his classics running and in street condition, but he confesses that since he began playing 25 or so tournaments a year on the Champions Tour three years ago, upkeep on the cars has suffered a little. During his latter days on the PGA Tour when he was only playing nine or 10 a year, he had plenty of time to putter around.
Theyre all still insured and everything, he hastily interjects. I still try to drive them around just to keep the brakes and everything in shape. But its hard to do now that Im playing a little more on the Champions Tour.
I really should have a fulltime mechanic that helps maintain these cars. But Im reluctant to do that, I like to do the work myself.
Sounds like golf is getting in the way of his life, huh?
Which is pretty much my life story, Lietzke said with a hearty laugh. If I had to write a book, that could be the title.
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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59
Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.
While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.
He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.
"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."
Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.
"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."
Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot
When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.
Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.
"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"
The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.
Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.
"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."
DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate
World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.
Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.
"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."
Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.
Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.
"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."
Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.
"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."
LPGA lists April date for new LA event
The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.
When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.
The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.
The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.