Golf Talk Live - Freddie Haas Transcript Segment 2
IN THE 1930'S, BEN HOGAN WAS PROFESSIONAL FOR TEN YEARS BEFORE HE ACTUALLY WON HIS FIRST TOUR EVENT IN NORTH AND SOUTH AT PINEHURST IN 1940. WHAT WAS HIS SWING LIKE AND WHAT WAS HIS PERSONALITY LIKE BEFORE HE WAS THE WINNING BEN HOGAN?
WELL BEN ALWAYS WAS, YOU COULDN'T SAY HE WAS A LONER BECAUSE HE REALLY WASN'T. HE TALKED TO YOU IF YOU WANTED TO BUT NOT TOO MUCH, BUT
DON'T ASK HIM TOO MANY QUESTIONS, BUT WHEN HE CAME OUT ON THE TOUR SAM SNEAD WAS DOMINATING THE TOUR AND HE WAS FINISHING SECOND AND I ASKED THE PEOPLE IN NEW ORLEANS, I SAID, WE GOING TO PLAY THE NEW ORLEANS OPEN? YEAH HOW 'BOUT LETTING ME
PLAY WITH BEN HOGAN. I'D LIKE TO SEE WHY HE'S FINISHING SECOND AND I SAW IT ON THE FIRST TEE. WE GOT UP THERE AND HE HIT A LOW DUCKING RUNNING HOOK THAT WENT ABOUT 155 YARDS... IN THE ROUGH.
SO, HE CAN'T REACH THE GREEN SO HE TAKES OUT AN IRON AND HE HITS THE SAME TYPE OF A SHOT. HE'S STILL IN THE ROUGH. WELL NOW HE'S ABOUT 150
YARDS FROM THE GREEN AND, WITHOUT CHOOSING ANOTHER CLUB HE JUST HITS THAT CLUB, TOPS THE BALL, RUNS UP THERE 25 FEET FROM THE CUP AND HE HOLED THE PUTT FOR A FOUR.
NOW WHEN YOU LOOK AT THAT FOUR THAT HE MADE AND THE ONE THAT HENRY PICKET (?) AND SAM SNEAD MADE LOOKS THE SAME DOESN'T IT?
ON THE CARD.
BUT FOR SOME REASON OR ANOTHER YOU CAN'T PLAY GOLF THAT WAY AND I DIDN'T SEE BEN FOR BETWEEN NINE MONTHS AND MAYBE A YEAR AND WHEN I SAW HIM HE HAD A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT SWING
AND I SAID TO BEN, I SAID BEN YOU'VE CHANGED YOUR SWING. OH YEAH HE SAID. I SAID WHY? HE SAID I JUST DECIDED THAT YOU WOULD NEVER WIN A NATIONAL OPEN MAJOR CHAMPIONSHIP HITTING A DUCK HOOK. HE SAID I HAVE CHANGED SO THAT I'M COMING IN THIS
WAY. HE SAID I DON'T WANT ANYMORE OF THIS. HE SAID, YOU SAW WHAT HAPPENED TO ME WHEN I PLAYED WITH YOU IN NEW ORLEANS. I SAID YEAH BUT I'M LOOKING AT YOU NOW AND YOU LOOK
LIKE A DIFFERENT MAN TO ME. HE SAID WELL I HOPE SO.
AFTER THE WAR WAS OVER OR CERTAINLY WINDING DOWN IN THE PACIFIC IN THE SUMMER OF '45, THE SUMMER OF THE NELSON STREAK, THE ONE THAT YOU BROKE BY WINNING IN MEMPHIS, THERE'S
BEEN CRITICISM THAT NELSON IN THAT YEAR THAT HE WON ELEVEN IN A ROW AND EIGHTEEN OUT OF THE THIRTY EVENTS THAT HE PLAYED IN INCLUDING SEVEN SECOND PLACE FINISHES
THAT THERE WASN'T ANYBODY THERE FOR HIM TO BEAT. COULD YOU SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT ON THAT?
WELL ALL I KNOW IS THE SCORES THAT HE SHOT WERE JUST PHENOMENAL. AND I KNOW THAT HE HAD TO PLAY 36 HOLES TO BEAT SNEAD IN CHARLOTTE (?) IN ONE OF THE TOURNAMENTS THAT HE WON. I DON'T KNOW WHETHER IT'S SECOND, THIRD, FORTH, OF FIFTH. DIDN'T MATTER.
BUT HE HAD SHOT SUCH PHENOMENALLY LOW SCORES. I PLAYED WITH HIM MANY TIMES AND HE WOULD SHOOT 65 OR 66 AND HOW WOULD HE SHOOT IT? SOME OF THEM WERE DIFFICULT AND SOME OF
THEM WERE EASY. HE WOULD HIT EITHER THREE OR FOUR PAR 5'S IN TWO. THAT'S THREE TO FOUR UNDER PAR. I HAVE NEVER PLAYED A ROUND OF GOLF WITH BYRON NELSON WHEN HE DIDN'T HIT TWO
SHOTS LIKE THIS, NOW YOU'RE FIVE OR SIX UNDER PAR. THE NEXT TIME YOU SEE HIM HE'S PEPPERING THIS THING AROUND TEN, TWELVE, NO MORE THAN FIFTEEN FEET FROM THE HOLE AND HE'D MAKE ONE OR TWO AND THAT 65 OR 66. I WOULD SAY
THAT THAT'S A RATHER GOOD ROUND OF GOLF.
WHEN HE WON THE FIRST OF HIS ELEVEN IN A ROW, THAT WAS A BEST BALL EVENT WITH JUG MCSPADEN AS HIS PARTNER.
AND A LOT OF PEOPLE SAY WELL HOW CAN YOU COUNT THAT TEAM WIN IN THE STREAK? DO YOU COUNT IT?
OH ABSOLUTELY BECAUSE THEY, THEY PLAYED SOME PRETTY TOUGH CUSTOMERS BACK THERE AND THEY HAD NO CINCH TO WIN AND NELSON ACTUALLY, HE WAS (LAUGHS) HE WAS A LITTLE BETTER THAN,
THAN MCSPADEN BUT DON'T THINK MCSPADEN COULDN'T PLAY AND MCSPADEN THROW AN EAGLE AT YOU HERE AND THERE AND EVERYWHERE
BECAUSE HE COULD WOP THAT BALL OUT THERE A LONG WAY AND IT WAS A VERY GOOD TEAM BUT THEY HAD SOME VERY GOOD MATCHES AND THEY PLAYED SOME
VERY GOOD PLAYERS.
NOW OF COURSE IN THAT YEAR, SNEAD ENDED UP PLAYING 26 TIMES, HOGAN PLAYED 18 TIMES, HOGAN SET THE SCORING RECORD AT 261 THAT YEAR.
THAT NELSON ENDED UP BREAKING JUST A COUPLE OF WEEKS LATER BY SHOOTING 259 FOR 72 HOLES. WHEN THE WAR ENDED ON AUGUST 14TH OF 1945 AS JAPAN SURRENDERED, THE FIRST POST WAR TIME PROFESSIONAL TOURNAMENT WAS THE
ONE THAT YOU WON THAT WEEK IN MEMPHIS. HOW AWARE WERE YOU AS YOU WENT INTO THE FINAL ROUND WITH A BIG LEAD AND BEING PAIRED WITH NELSON OF A SENSE OF PRESSURE TO WIN THE GOLF TOURNAMENT.
(LAUGHS) I SAID TO MYSELF, WHAT AM I GOING TO HAVE TO SHOOT TO WIN THIS TOURNAMENT? I'M LEADING NELSON BY FOUR STROKES AND MY REASONING WAS
THIS. I BELIEVE THAT IF I KEEP MY HEAD ABOUT ME I MIGHT BE ABLE TO MAKE 18
STRAIGHT PARS. THAT MEANS HE'S GOT TO SHOOT 5 UNDER PAR TO BEAT ME. I SAID I KNOW HE CAN DO THAT BUT I SAID THAT'S MY GOAL. SO I PLAYED THE FIRST
FIVE HOLES IN EVEN PAR AND I'VE LOST TWO STROKES. WELL I CAN ASSURE YOU, TWO STROKES IS NOT ENOUGH TO BE PLAYING BYRON NELSON WHEN HE WAS PLAYING AS HE WAS. AND HE GOT THE TOUGHEST BREAK I'VE EVER HEARD OF,
ON THE 6TH HOLE. IT WAS A HOLE, HE'D HIT A 7 IRON AND HE HIT THIS BALL WAY UP IN THE AIR AND IT'S GOING IN THE HOLE. JUST SURE AND SHOOTING IT'S GOING IN THE HOLE, BUT IT HITS THE FLAG ABOUT THIS FAR ABOVE THE CUP AND THAT BALL
SHWOOT! OFF THE GREEN. ALL THE WAY OFF THE GREEN. A GOOD 40 OR 50 FEET. HOO! I SAID HE DIDN'T MAKE A HOLE IN ONE, LET'S SEE WHAT I CAN DO.
I CAUGHT A SIX IRON UP THERE. HAD IT, GOT IT ABOUT SIX FEET. NOW HE'S GOT TO CHIP THE BALL FROM SHORT OF THE GREEN AND HE HITS THE RIM OF THE CUP AND IT GOES FIVE FEET BY AND NOW HE'S
HIT THE CUP TWICE AND HE'S LYING THREE AND I'VE GOT A SIX FOOT PUTT FROM ME TO YOU AND I DON'T KNOW HOW THE BALL WENT IN BUT IT DID, AND THEN HE LIPPED OUT AGAIN AND HE MAKES FOUR, NOW I'VE PICKED UP TWO STROKES
I'M FOUR STROKES UP AND SOME HOW OR ANOTHER, THE GAME GOT A LITTLE EASIER AND I WENT ON TO SHOOT 68 WHICH I THOUGHT WAS A PRETTY DECENT ROUND.
NOW, BEING AN AMATEUR AT THE TIME, YOU COULD WEAR SHORTS ALL FOUR DAYS AND DID, RIGHT?
AND THE PROS COULDN'T
I HAD A BIG ADVANTAGE.
SO BYRON GOT BEAT BY A GUY WEARING BERMUDA SHORTS.
YEAH, THAT'S RIGHT
WE'LL TAKE A SHORT BREAK. WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK AND KEEP THIS GOING.
Crocker among quartet of Open qualifiers in Singapore
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.
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.
Got a second? Fisher a bridesmaid again
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.
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.
McIlroy (T-3) notches another Abu Dhabi close call
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.
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.
Fleetwood rallies to defend Abu Dhabi title
The 2018 European Tour season has begun just as the 2017 one ended: with Tommy Fleetwood's name atop the standings.
Facing the most difficult conditions of the week, Fleetwood charged down the stretch to shoot a 7-under 65 in the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, good enough for a two-shot win and a successful title defense.
Abu Dhabi was the start of Fleetwood's resurgence a year ago, the first of two European Tour victories en route to the season-long Race to Dubai title. This time around the Englishman started the final round two shots off the lead but rallied with six birdies over his final nine holes to reclaim the trophy.
Fleetwood was five shots behind countryman Ross Fisher when he made the turn, but he birdied the par-5 10th and then added four birdies in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 12-16. The decisive shot came on the final hole, when his pitch from the left rough nestled within a few feet of the hole for a closing birdie.
Fleetwood's 22-under total left him two shots ahead of Fisher and four shots clear of Rory McIlroy and Matthew Fitzpatrick. After entering the week ranked No. 18, Fleetwood is expected to move to at least No. 12 in the world when the new rankings are published.