Golf Talk Live - Bruce Lietzke Transcript Segment 2

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 2, 2001, 4:00 pm
(TV CLIP BEGINS)

PETER KESSLER
YOU KNOW, WHEN WE FOUND OUT THAT YOU WERE BRIEFLY A SECURITY GUARD BEFORE YOU DECIDED TO TURN PRO, I MEAN, THIS IS WHAT SOME OF US HAD IN MIND.

BRUCE LIETZKE
IT IS NOT FAR OFF EITHER. YOU SEE - YOU SEE HE SHOT HIS ONE BULLET THERE, THAT'S ALL I HAD. BUT MINE WAS LOCKED IN A DRAWER. HE - AT LEAST HE CARRIED HIS IN SHIRT POCKET. MINE WAS LOCKED IN A DRAWER AND THEY DIDN'T GIVE ME THE KEY TO THAT LOCK.

PETER KESSLER
AND THE GUN WAS IN THE OTHER DRAWER, RIGHT? A BULLET IN ONE ... (LAUGHS)

BRUCE LIETZKE
AND THE GUN WENT ON (???) - DIDN'T, COULDN'T HAVE ACCESS TO EITHER ONE OF THEM. SO I'M NOT VERY FAR OFF FROM THAT. AND THAT HAPPENS TO BE ONE MY ALL TIME, GREAT TV SHOWS TOO.

PETER KESSLER
I TRIED TO GET THEM TO FIND THE PART WHERE HE SAYS, 'WELCOME TO THE ROCK', AND HE'S GOT 3 GUYS IN THE CELL.

BUT THE DOOR IS UNLOCKED AND IT'S OPEN. (LAUGH)

BRUCE LIETZKE
YEAH ... AT - AT THE ROCK HERE, WE HAVE 3 RULES. NUMBER 1 RULE: FOLLOW ALL RULES. OBEY ALL RULES, SOMETHING LIKE THAT. GREAT SHOW.

PETER KESSLER
NOW I UNDERSTAND YOU'RE A LITTLE BIT LIKE ANDY GRIFFITH WAS ON THAT SHOW AT HOME.

BRUCE LIETZKE
UH ... I, I DON'T KNOW IF I'M ASHAMED TO SAY OR NOT, BUT THROUGH THE YEARS OF WATCHING THAT SHOW, AND ... AND THERE WERE SOME GREAT FAMILY VALUE LESSONS TO BE LEARNED THOUGH ABOUT THE WAY, UH, ANDY GRIFFITH TAUGHT RON HOWARD.

I TRY TO REMOVE THE, THE UH, KIDS NAMES. BUT UM, MY FAVORITE EPISODE IS PROBABLY THE MOCKINGBIRD, WHERE HE KILLS - WHERE OPIE KILLS THE MOCKINGBIRD WITH THE SLINGSHOT.

AND INSTEAD OF, UH, PHYSICAL PUNISHMENT, HIS DAD OPENS THE DOOR - OPENS THE WINDOW, AND MAKES HIM LISTEN TO THE BABIES THAT ARE CHIRPING OUTSIDE, UH, BECAUSE HE HAD KILLED THEIR MOTHER.

AND IN GENERAL, THOSE KIND OF RULES, UH, APPLY AT MY HOUSE. UH, NO PHYSICAL PUNISHMENT BUT, UH, MAKING KIDS REFLECT ON DECISIONS THAT THEY MAKE. UH, AND IN SOME WAY, THAT PUNISHMENT ITSELF, UH, SERVES ITS PURPOSE,

PETER KESSLER
STRONG MEDICINE.

BRUCE LIETZKE
FOR THE MOST PART. SO, UH, A LOT - LOT OF TIMES, THOSE ARE THE KIND OF, UH, RULES I SET DOWN.

PETER KESSLER
ONE OF THE REASONS I THINK THAT YOU ENDED UP TAKING THAT JOB BRIEFLY IS BECAUSE YOU DIDN'T PLAY UP TO THE STANDARDS YOU HAD HOPED IN THE NCAAS IN YOUR FINAL YEAR AT THE UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON AND SORT OF GAVE UP GOLF FOR A WHILE. WHY DID YOU?

BRUCE LIETZKE
UH, MY WHOLE YEAR, SENIOR YEAR, WAS REALLY UH NOT A VERY GOOD ONE. UH, WE HAD MADE PLANS FOR ME TO TURN PRO RIGHT AFTER THE NCAA, HAD A NEW CAR I WAS GONNA DRIVE TO THE MINI TOURS IN CALIFORNIA OR WHEREVER I WAS GONNA GO.

AND EVERYTHING WAS KIND OF BUILDING UP TO THAT CRITICAL TIME. AND I ... I PLAYED POORLY REALLY MY WHOLE YEAR, HAD A POOR NCAA. AND THE TIME CAME FOR ME TO PULL THE TRIGGER, IF YOU WILL, AND MY BULLET WASN'T IN THERE.

I WAS NOT PREPARED TO TURN PRO, TO MAKE THAT COMMITMENT AND DECISION WITH MY GAME AT A PRETTY LOW, UH, EBB. AND I JUST BACKED AWAY FROM THAT DECISION AND UH, WENT HOME AND SAT FOR WHILE, LET THAT DEADLINE PASS.

AND UH, MY DAD LET ME SIT AROUND FOR ABOUT 2 WEEKS WITHOUT DOING ANYTHING. AND THEN HE PUT ME TO WORK AS BARNEY FIFE, AS A SECURITY GUARD, UH, AND LET ME WORK IT OUT ON MY OWN.

AND I FOUND OUT THAT THAT 9-TO-5 JOB, IN MY CASE THE GRAVEYARD SHIFT OCCASIONALLY, UH, SENT ME RUNNING BACK TO THE GOLF CLUBS IN 6 MONTHS. BUT IT TOOK ABOUT 6 MONTHS FOR ME TO, UH ...

GET COMPLETELY AWAY FROM THE GAME. AND UH, MY, MY HOME PRO TALKED ME - AFTER 4 MONTHS OF NOT PLAYING, MY HOME PRO TALKED ME INTO PLAYING IN THE CITY CHAMPIONSHIP IN BEAUMONT.

AND I WENT OUT AND WON THAT AND TURNED RIGHT AROUND AND PUT THE CLUBS AWAY FOR ABOUT 2 MORE MONTHS. AND UH, I GAVE A CALL,

AND FINALLY THE COMMITMENT CAME IN - IN DECEMBER, LIKE I SAID, THE GRAVEYARD SHIFTS. UH, I HAD APPLIED AND GOT, UH ... AN ASSISTANT PRO JOB IN COLUMBIA, MISSOURI, UH, IN APRIL. AND IT WAS ABOUT DECEMBER WHEN I WENT TO MY DAD AND I SAID,

'WHAT DO YOU THINK IF I TURNED PRO AND STARTED PLAYING, UH, MINI TOURS.' AND HIS ONE QUESTION WAS, HE SAID, 'ARE YOU READY TO GET THOSE CALLUSES BACK ON YOUR HANDS?' AND I SAID, 'YOU KNOW WHAT? I AM. I'M READY TO GO HIT SOME BALLS.' AND THAT WAS IT.

AND UM ... I HAD - I GOT THROUGH THAT PHASE AND UH, AND WORKED MY WAY INTO THE MINI TOURS AND, AND CARRIED ON. SO IT WAS A, IT WAS A PRETTY GOOD INVESTMENT. UH, WHAT SEEMED LIKE A PRETTY DESPERATE TIME, BUT IT UH, IT WAS A TIME THAT I ...

IT WAS THE FIRST TIME THAT I'D EVER BACKED AWAY FROM GOLF. I HAD BEEN PLAYING GOLF SINCE I WAS 5 YEARS OLD AND REALLY TOURNAMENT GOLF SINCE I WAS ABOUT 9 OR 10.

AND IT WAS MY FIRST TIME EVER TO - TO GET AWAY FROM GOLF. AND IT WAS REFRESHING, AND I WAS READY TO GO.

PETER KESSLER
WAS THERE ANYTHING THAT YOU WERE AFRAID OF ABOUT TURNING PRO ONCE YOU HAD MADE THE DECISION TO GO AHEAD AND DO IT?

BRUCE LIETZKE
UH ... WELL, I - I WAS AFRAID OF WHAT WAS OUT THERE. I DIDN'T KNOW THE COMPETITION. AND AS IT TURNS OUT, THE COMPETITION WAS THE SAME 'KNUCKLE HEADS' I WAS PLAYING COLLEGE GOLF AGAINST AND I HAD BEATEN, YOU KNOW, OFF AND ON.

UM, BUT CERTAINLY THERE'S AN UNKNOWN. YOU GO FROM, UH, THE COMFORT OF LIVING WITH YOUR PARENTS AND, AND THEM SUPPLYING YOU WITH EVERYTHING, UH, AND PLAYING FOR TROPHIES TO ALL OF A SUDDEN, STARTING A CAREER AND STARTING A JOB.

AND UH, YOU BET, THERE'S A LOT OF UH ... AND I'M AS INSECURE AS - AS OTHER, OTHER PEOPLE, I WOULD IMAGINE, AND I - THERE WERE A LOT OF QUESTIONS. UH, BUT THEY GOT ANSWERED PRETTY QUICK. I, I HAD SOME PRETTY IMMEDIATE SUCCESS,

UM, PUTTING UP MY OWN MONEY. AND I HAD A LITTLE BIT OF A SPONSOR FROM AN UNCLE THAT, THAT HELPED EASE THINGS. BUT I HAD SOME EARLY SUCCESS ON THOSE MINI TOURS. AND THAT UH, ALL THOSE QUESTIONS AND DOUBTS EVENTUALLY STARTED LEAVING.

PETER KESSLER
AS WE TAKE A SHORT BREAK, WE'LL SEE A PICTURE OF YOU AT THE UNIVERSITY OF HOUSTON WITH, AS YOU TOLD ME BEFORE, EVERY CHAMPIONSHIP THAT THE TEAM WON.

BRUCE LIETZKE
OH BOY...

PETER KESSLER
THERE'S NOTHING ON THE BACK OF THIS SHIRT, I BELIEVE, JUST ALL OF THE ONES THAT, THAT WERE WON IN THE 1950'S. NICE HAIR CUT.

BRUCE LIETZKE
50'S AND 60'S, YEAH, THAT WAS, THAT WAS AS LONG AS COACH DAVE WILLIAMS WOULD ALLOW US TO WEAR OUR HAIR. THAT WAS IT.

PETER KESSLER
WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.

(BREAK)

NEXT SEGMENT
Photo by Enrique Berardi/LAAC

Top-ranked amateur Niemann one back at LAAC in Chile

By Nick MentaJanuary 21, 2018, 8:44 pm

Argentina’s Jaime Lopez Rivarola leads the Latin America Amateur Championship at 5 under par following a round of 3-under 68 Saturday in Chile.

The former Georgia Bulldog is now 36 holes from what would be a return trip to Augusta National but his first Masters.

"The truth is that I crossed off on my bucket list playing Augusta [National], because I happened to play there," Rivarola said. "I've played every year with my university. But playing in the Masters is a completely different thing. I have been to the Masters, and I've watched the players play during the practice rounds. But [competing would be] a completely different thing."

He is followed on the leaderboard by the three players who competed in the playoff that decided last year’s LAAC in Panama: Joaquin Niemann (-4), Toto Gana (-4), and Alvaro Ortiz (-3).


Click here for full-field scores from the Latin America Amateur Championship


Chile’s Niemann is the top-ranked amateur in the world who currently holds conditional status on the Web.com Tour and is poised to begin his career as a professional, unless of course he takes the title this week. After a disappointing 74 in Round 1, Niemann was 10 shots better in Round 2, rocketing up the leaderboard with a 7-under 64.

“Today, I had a completely different mentality, and that's usually what happens in my case," Niemann said. "When I shoot a bad round, the following day I have extra motivation. I realize and I feel that I have to play my best golf. The key to being a good golfer is to find those thoughts and to transfer them into good golf."

Niemann’s fellow Chilean and best friend Gana is the defending champion who missed the cut at the Masters last year and is now a freshman at Lynn University. His second-round 70 was a roller coaster, complete with six birdies, three eagles and a double.

Mexico’s Ortiz, the brother of three-time Web.com Tour winner Carlos, was 6 under for the week before three back-nine bogeys dropped him off the pace.

Two past champions, Matias Dominguez and Paul Chaplet, sit 5 over and 7 over, respectively.

The winner of the Latin America Amateur Championship earns an invite to this year’s Masters. He is also exempt into the The Amateur Championship, the U.S. Amateur, U.S. Open sectional qualifying, and Open Championship final qualifying.

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McIlroy gets back on track

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 21, 2018, 3:10 pm

There’s only one way to view Rory McIlroy’s performance at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship:

He is well ahead of schedule.

Sure, McIlroy is probably disappointed that he couldn’t chase down Ross Fisher (and then Tommy Fleetwood) on the final day at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. But against a recent backdrop of injuries and apathy, his tie for third was a resounding success. He reasserted himself, quickly, and emerged 100 percent healthy.

“Overall, I’m happy,” he said after finishing at 18-under 270, four back of Fleetwood. “I saw some really, really positive signs. My attitude, patience and comfort level were really good all week.”

To fully appreciate McIlroy’s auspicious 2018 debut, consider his state of disarray just four months ago. He was newly married. Nursing a rib injury. Breaking in new equipment. Testing another caddie. His only constant was change. “Mentally, I wasn’t in a great place,” he said, “and that was because of where I was physically.”

And so he hit the reset button, taking the longest sabbatical of his career, a three-and-a-half-month break that was as much psychological as physical. He healed his body and met with a dietician, packing five pounds of muscle onto his already cut frame. He dialed in his TaylorMade equipment, shoring up a putting stroke and wedge game that was shockingly poor for a player of his caliber. Perhaps most importantly, he cleared his cluttered mind, cruising around Italy with wife Erica in a 1950s Mercedes convertible.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


After an intense buildup to his season debut, McIlroy was curious about the true state of his game, about how he’d stack up when he finally put a scorecard in his hand. It didn’t take him long to find out. 

Playing the first two rounds alongside Dustin Johnson – the undisputed world No. 1 who was fresh off a blowout victory at Kapalua – McIlroy beat him by a shot. Despite a 103-day competitive layoff, he played bogey-free for 52 holes. And he put himself in position to win, trailing by one heading into the final round. Though Fleetwood blew away the field with a back-nine 30 to defend his title, McIlroy collected his eighth top-5 in his last nine appearances in Abu Dhabi.

“I know it’s only three months,” he said, “but things change, and I felt like maybe I needed a couple of weeks to get back into the thought process that you need to get into for competitive golf. I got into that pretty quickly this week, so that was the most pleasing thing.”

The sense of relief afterward was palpable. McIlroy is entering his 11th full year as a pro, and deep down he likely realizes 2018 is shaping up as his most important yet.

The former Boy Wonder is all grown up, and his main challengers now are a freakish athlete (DJ) and a trio of players under 25 (Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm) who don’t lack for motivation or confidence. The landscape has changed significantly since McIlroy’s last major victory, in August 2014, and the only way he’ll be able to return to world No. 1 is to produce a sustained period of exceptional golf, like the rest of the game’s elite. (Based on average points, McIlroy, now ranked 11th, is closer to the bottom of the rankings, No. 1928, than to Johnson.)

But after years of near-constant turmoil, McIlroy, 28, finally seems ready to pursue that goal again. He is planning the heaviest workload of his career – as many as 30 events, including seven more starts before the Masters – and appears refreshed and reenergized, perhaps because this year, for the first time in a while, he is playing without distractions.

Not his relationships or his health. Not his equipment or his caddie or his off-course dealings.

Everything in his life is lined up.

Drama tends to follow one of the sport’s most captivating characters, but for now he can just play golf – lots and lots of golf. How liberating.

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Crocker among quartet of Open qualifiers in Singapore

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 2:20 pm

Former amateur standout Sean Crocker was among four players who qualified for the 147th Open via top-12 finishes this week at the Asian Tour's SMBC Singapore Open as part of the Open Qualifying Series.

Crocker had a strong college career at USC before turning pro late last year. The 21-year-old received an invitation into this event shortly thereafter, and he made the most of his appearance with a T-6 finish to net his first career major championship berth.

There were four spots available to those not otherwise exempt among the top 12 in Singapore, but winner Sergio Garcia and runners-up Shaun Norris and Satoshi Kodaira had already booked their tickets for Carnoustie. That meant that Thailand's Danthai Boonma and Jazz Janewattanond both qualified thanks to T-4 finishes.


Full-field scores from the Singapore Open


Crocker nabbed the third available qualifying spot, while the final berth went to Australia's Lucas Herbert. Herbert entered the week ranked No. 274 in the world and was the highest-ranked of the three otherwise unqualified players who ended the week in a tie for eighth.

The next event in the Open Qualifying Series will be in Japan at the Mizuno Open in May, when four more spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs. The 147th Open will be held July 19-22 in Carnoustie, Scotland.

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Got a second? Fisher a bridesmaid again

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 1:40 pm

Ross Fisher is in the midst of a career resurgence - he just doesn't have the hardware to prove it.

Fisher entered the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship with a share of the lead, and as he made the turn he appeared in position to claim his first European Tour victory since March 2014. But he slowed just as Tommy Fleetwood caught fire, and when the final putt fell Fisher ended up alone in second place, two shots behind his fellow Englishman.

It continues a promising trend for Fisher, who at age 37 now has 14 career runner-up finishes and three in his last six starts dating back to October. He was edged by Tyrrell Hatton both at the Italian Open and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in the fall, and now has amassed nine worldwide top-10 finishes since March.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


Fisher took a big step toward ending his winless drought with an eagle on the par-5 second followed by a pair of birdies, and he stood five shots clear of Fleetwood with only nine holes to go. But while Fleetwood played Nos. 10-15 in 4 under, Fisher played the same stretch in 2 over and was unable to eagle the closing hole to force a playoff.

While Fisher remains in search of an elusive trophy, his world ranking has benefited from his recent play. The veteran was ranked outside the top 100 in the world as recently as September 2016, but his Abu Dhabi runner-up result is expected to move him inside the top 30 when the new rankings are published.