Golf Talk Live - Charles Howell III Transcript Segment 3

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 6, 2001, 4:00 pm
RICH LERNER
1996 U.S. AMATEUR AT PUMPKIN RIDGE. YOU KNOW THIS GUY. (LAUGHS)

CHARLES HOWELL III
YES

RICH LERNER
AND THE OPPONENT THAT DAY IN THE QUARTER FINALS AND SITTING TO MY LEFT.

WHAT DID YOU KNOW ABOUT TIGER WOODS, CHARLES, BEFORE THAT MATCH?

CHARLES HOWELL III
WELL I KNEW WHO HE WAS OBVIOUSLY AND I'LL, I'LL NEVER FORGET. I MADE A PUTT THAT MORNING TO WIN MY MORNING MATCH TO PLAY TIGER THAT AFTERNOON AND I WAS, I, I MEAN I WAS SO

HAPPY TO MAKE THE PUTT BUT AT THE SAME TIME I WAS ABOUT TO THROW UP
BECAUSE YOU KNOW I HAD TO PLAY TIGER THAT AFTERNOON BUT, YEAH THAT, THAT WAS SOMETHING.

RICH LERNER
YOU WERE HOW OLD, 17?

CHARLES HOWELL III
UH 16 AT THE TIME.

RICH LERNER
16 AT THE

CHARLES HOWELL III
YES

RICH LERNER
TIME.

CHARLES HOWELL III
YES

RICH LERNER
DID YOU HONESTLY BELIEVE AS YOU STEPPED TO THE TEE... I DON'T CARE WHO HE IS I CAN BEAT THIS GUY?

CHARLES HOWELL III
YOU KNOW I DID. I REALLY DID. I, I WANTED TO BEAT HIM SO BAD YOU CAN'T IMAGINE. I, YOU KNOW, I GOT UP ON THE FIRST HOLE AND HIT A REALLY GOOD TEE BALL AND HIT IT FOUR FEET FOR A BIRDIE AND I GOT UP THERE AND TIGER HAD MADE PAR AND, AND I THOUGHT YOU

KNOW THIS, THIS IS GOING UP ON TIGER WOODS. I DIDN'T EVEN HIT THE HOLE, BUT NO, IT WAS A HECK OF A MATCH. HE ENDED UP BEATING ME ON THE 17TH HOLE BUT UH IT WAS FUN.

RICH LERNER
HOW DID YOU PLAY THAT DAY?

CHARLES HOWELL III
YOU KNOW I PLAYED OKAY. I WAS, I WAS PROBABLY A LITTLE BIT TOO STAR STRUCK AND PROBABLY HAD TOO MUCH PAYING ATTENTION TO HIS GAME THAN I SHOULD HAVE BEEN DOING BUT UH, IT, YOU KNOW IT WAS , IT YOU KNOW, GAVE ME SO MUCH EXPERIENCE.

RICH LERNER
HOW DID YOU MATCH UP WITH HIM LENGTH WISE OFF THE TEE AT THAT POINT?

CHARLES HOWELL III
OH AT THAT POINT HE WAS HITTING IT FOREVER. I, I, I THINK HE WAS PROBABLY HITTING IT FURTHER THEN THAN HE IS NOW.

RICH LERNER
YEAH I THINK HE'S DIALED IT BACK A LITTLE BIT.

CHARLES HOWELL III
YEAH IT'S, I MEAN, I, I WAS HIT, I WASN'T HITTING IT SHORT AT THAT TIME AND HE, HE WAS MOVING IT.

RICH LERNER
WERE YOU AT ALL SURPRISED AT THE SUCCESS THAT HE HAD? I MEAN WE'RE TALKING UNPRECEDENTED LEVELS OF SUCCESS.

CHARLES HOWELL III
RIGHT

RICH LERNER
OR DID YOU SEE THAT BASED UPON WHAT YOU WITNESSED AT THE U.S. AMATEUR FOR EXAMPLE?

CHARLES HOWELL III
OH NO, HE, IT WAS ALL EXPECTED. I MEAN, WHAT, THE THINGS HE'S DONE HAVE JUST BEEN INCREDIBLE. I MEAN HE, YOU KNOW HE'S AWESOME. HE'S, YOU KNOW WHAT HE'S WON AND ACCOMPLISHED AND THE

LEVEL THAT HE'S PLAYED AT FOR SO LONG IS OH YEAH IT WAS COMING.

RICH LERNER
DOES IT MAKE YOU AT ALL A BIT IMPATIENT BECAUSE HE HAD SUCCESS QUICKLY. WON THE MASTERS AT 21.

CHARLES HOWELL III
RIGHT

RICH LERNER
HE HAD DONE SO MUCH AT SUCH A YOUNG AGE. DOES IT MAKE YOU AT ALL IMPATIENT? I GOT TO GET IT NOW.

CHARLES HOWELL III
YOU, YOU KNOW IT'LL BE A PART OF IT DOES. YOU KNOW, A PART OF ME THAT WANTS TO WIN TOURNAMENTS, IT REALLY DOES. I'VE BEEN CLOSE A COUPLE TIMES, I HAD A THIRD AT JOHN DEERE LAST YEAR AND THEN THE PLAY OFF AT MILWAUKEE

THIS YEAR AND EVEN LAST WEEK AT INTERNATIONAL I THOUGHT I HAD A PRETTY GOOD CHANCE TO WIN THERE COMING IN THE LAST DAY AND YEAH, IT MAKES ME WANT TO GET THAT FIRST WIN PRETTY BAD.

RICH LERNER
ARE YOU REASONABLY COMFORTABLE WITH THE COMPARISONS AND WITH THE IDEA THAT SOME HAVE TAGGED YOU AS THE LIKELY FUTURE RIVAL TO TIGER WOODS?

CHARLES HOWELL III
YEAH I AM, YOU KNOW IT'S, IT'S MORE FLATTERY THAN ANYTHING I THINK, IT'S, YOU KNOW, PEOPLE AREN'T COMPARING YOU TO TIGER WOODS THEN THEY DON'T THINK YOU'RE, YOU KNOW, THEY DON'T THINK YOU HAVE A WHOLE LOT OF GAME REALLY SO TO SPEAK AND I NO, I, I TAKE IT ALL.

RICH LERNER
WHAT DOES HE DO THAT YOU CURRENTLY DO NOT? THAT YOU FEEL YOU WILL NEED TO PUT IN ORDER IF YOU'RE GOING TO GET TO TIGER?

CHARLES HOWELL III
UM, YOU KNOW I THINK A LOT OF IT IS THAT YOU CAN'T SEE IT. I THINK HIS HEAD IS, IS SO GOOD AND IT'S SO STRONG AND HIS MENTAL GAME IS JUST, IS LIGHT YEARS BEYOND ANYBODY ELSE. I REMEMBER

COACH HOLDREN (?) AND I WERE TALKING MY SOPHOMORE YEAR AT COLLEGE AND HE SAID THAT FOR SO LONG PEOPLE WORKED ON THE PHYSICAL ASPECT OF THE GAME AND AS SOON AS SOMEBODY

FIGURES OUT THE MENTAL ASPECT THEN YOU'RE GOING TO SEE A REAL WINNER AND I THINK THAT'S WHAT TIGER'S DONE.

RICH LERNER
DO YOU HAVE A STEEL TRAP FOR A MIND AS TIGER HAS, AS HOGAN HAD, AS NICKLAUS HAD AND, AND A LITTLE BIT OF A MEAN STREAK. I SEE A LITTLE BIT OF A MEAN STREAK

CHARLES HOWELL III
YES

RICH LERNER
IN TIGER, COMPETITIVELY SPEAKING

ONLY.

CHARLES HOWELL III
RIGHT.

OH NO, I'M, I'M THE SAME WAY. I, I HATE TO LOSE. IT UH, YOU KNOW LOSING REALLY BOTHERS ME. I KNOW I DON'T LIKE IT ONE BIT AND I TAKE IT PERSONAL AND SERIOUS AND, YOU KNOW, THAT'S ONE THING I PLAYED LAST WEEK WITH VIJAY SINGH AND THAT'S ONE THING I NOTICED ABOUT HIM IS JUST HOW

UNBELIEVABLY SERIOUS THAT HE TAKES HIS GAME AND HE TAKES HIS GOLF AND TIGER'S THE SAME WAY.

RICH LERNER
YOU FINISHED RUNNER UP AT MILWAUKEE TO SHIGEKI MARUYAMA.

CHARLES HOWELL III
RIGHT

RICH LERNER
PLAYED WELL AT THE JOHN DEERE LAST YEAR. WELL AT THE INTERNATIONAL, TOP TENS AT THE BELL SOUTH IN NEW ORLEANS.

CHARLES HOWELL III
RIGHT

RICH LERNER
WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED ALONG THE WAY?

CHARLES HOWELL III
I, I'VE LEARNED, I'VE LEARNED A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING. I'VE LEARNED THAT I CAN WIN. YOU KNOW I'VE BEEN CLOSE THOSE FIVE TIMES TO WINNING BUT I'VE ALSO LEARNED THAT THAT IT TAKES A LITTLE SOMETHING SPECIAL TO WIN.

I MEAN, YOU KNOW THIS PUTT HERE, FOR EXAMPLE, I THOUGHT RIGHT HERE I'D MADE IT AND MY HEART KIND OF STOPPED TO THINKING I, YOU KNOW, COULD HAVE WON A GOLF TOURNAMENT WITH THAT PUTT

RICH LERNER
MMM

CHARLES HOWELL III
BUT IT, IT, IT TAKES SOMETHING SPECIAL TO WIN AND YOU KNOW I HADN'T QUITE GOTTEN IT YET BUT WHEN I DO I'M SURE IT'LL BE AWESOME.

RICH LERNER
LET'S TALK ABOUT WHAT SO MANY PEOPLE WANT TO FOCUS ON WHEN THEY FIRST LAY EYES ON YOUR GAME AND THAT IS THE WOW FACTOR. THE DISTANCE YOU HIT THE BALL OFF THE TEE AND WE TOUCHED ON THIS IN THE PREVIOUS SEGMENT. WHAT ARE YOU DOING

TECHNICALLY TO GENERATE THAT POWER, TO GET THAT TREMENDOUS LAG

CHARLES HOWELL III
RIGHT

RICH LERNER
THAT SO MANY PLAYERS STRIVE TO GET. THE LAG AND THE DRAG. HOW DO YOU GET IT DONE?

CHARLES HOWELL III
WELL YOU KNOW FORTUNATELY I'M BLESSED WITH A LOT OF FLEXIBILITY AND COMBINE THAT WITH A LOT OF WORKING OUT TO, YOU KNOW, BUILD UP MY STRENGTH AND YOU KNOW, FORTUNATELY FOR ME THAT I HAVE

QUICK HANDS, I HAVE QUICK WRISTS AND QUICK HIPS WHICH SOMETIMES GET ME IN TROUBLE BUT UH, BUT NO I, I, YOU KNOW, A LOT OF THE WORKING OUT, A LOT OF SWINGING THE FAN (?) IT'S HELPED ME QUITE A BIT AND YOU KNOW AS, NEEDLESS

TO SAY, TOO, MY TECHNOLOGY'S NOT HURTING EITHER WITH THE CALLAWAY DRIVER, WITH THE CALLAWAY GOLF BALL I PICKED UP YARDAGE WITH THAT AS WELL.

RICH LERNER
THAT IS A GORGEOUS GOLF SWING. YOU'RE ALSO VERY LONG WITH YOUR IRONS. GIVE THE AUDIENCE A SENSE OF WHAT YOU HIT YOUR CLUBS. MAYBE 8 IRON DOWN TO LET'S SAY 4 IRON, SOMETHING LIKE THAT.

CHARLES HOWELL III
RIGHT NOW I'M PLAYING, WELL I WAS AN INTERNATIONAL ATHLETE, YOU KNOW IT WAS SCARY

(UNINTELLIGIBLE)

RICH LERNER
THAT, THAT DOESN'T COUNT UP IN THAT, IN THAT AIR,

CHARLES HOWELL III
WELL WE'LL THROW THAT ONE AWAY

RICH LERNER
WE CAN, WE CAN ALL HIT IT A DISTANCE.

CHARLES HOWELL III
AT SEA LEVEL I'M HITTING MY IRON ABOUT 175 YARDS. MY 9 IRON ABOUT 160. WEDGE ABOUT 145ISH. ACTUALLY JUST LAST WEEK I PUT A 64 DEGREE WEDGE INTO MY BAG AND PULLED MY THREE IRON OUT, SO I'M TRYING TO PUT, TRYING

TO PUT SOME MORE CLUBS IN THERE AND THE TOP HEAVIER (?) AND THE WEDGES, TRYING TO BID (?) A LOT OF CLUBS IN BETWEEN 150 YARDS AND DOWN. THAT'S WHERE I MAKE A LOT OF YOUR BIRDIES AT.

RICH LERNER
HOW MANY DEGREES ON YOUR DRIVER?

CHARLES HOWELL III
MY DRIVER'S TEN AND A HALF DEGREES. IT SOUNDS A LITTLE BIT MISLEADING. THE, I DON'T SPIN A DRIVER A WHOLE LOT AND I LAUNCH IT PRETTY FLAT SO THAT'S TEN AND A HALF DEGREES. I LAUNCH IT ABOUT TEN AND A HALF.

RICH LERNER
YOUR SWING SPEED BEEN MEASURED?

CHARLES HOWELL III
IT'S BEEN, IT'S BEEN MEASURED A FEW MONTHS AGO. IT'S ABOUT 122, 123 RIGHT NOW.

RICH LERNER
AND WHERE'S TIGER AT, DO YOU KNOW?

CHARLES HOWELL III
I DON'T KNOW. I'D SAY HE'S PROBABLY 127 AND IT WHAT, DEPENDS ON HOW FAST HE WANTS TO BE OR HOW MAD HE IS, SO TO SPEAK.

RICH LERNER
(LAUGHS)

RICH LERNER
SO YOU'RE, YOU'RE UP THERE.

CHARLES HOWELL III
IT'S CLOSE. NOT QUITE HIS, BUT CLOSE.

RICH LERNER
YOU CAN MOVE IT THROUGH IMPACT. AND WE, WE SAW EVIDENCE OF THAT. WE'RE GOING TO TAKE A SHORT BREAK. WE WILL COME BACK WITH A WHOLE LOT MORE WITH CHARLIE HOWELL RIGHT AFTER THIS. STAY WITH US.

(MUSIC)

(BREAK)

NEXT SEGMENT
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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.

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McIlroy (T-3) notches another Abu Dhabi close call

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 1:08 pm

Rory McIlroy's trend of doing everything but hoist the trophy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship is alive and well.

Making his first start since early October, McIlroy showed few signs of rust en route to a tie for third. Amid gusty winds, he closed with a 2-under 70 to finish the week at 18 under, four shots behind Tommy Fleetwood who rallied to win this event for the second consecutive year.

The result continues a remarkable trend for the Ulsterman, who has now finished third or better seven of the last eight years in Abu Dhabi - all while never winning the tournament. That stretch includes four runner-up finishes and now two straight T-3 results.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


McIlroy is entering off a disappointing 2017 in which he was injured in his first start and missed two chunks of time while trying to regain his health. He has laid out an ambitious early-season schedule, one that will include a trip to Dubai next week and eight worldwide tournament starts before he heads to the Masters.

McIlroy started the final round one shot off the lead, and he remained in contention after two birdies over his first four holes. But a bogey on No. 6 slowed his momentum, and McIlroy wasn't able to make a back-nine birdie until the closing hole, at which point the title was out of reach.