Golf Talk Live - Gene Sarazen Transcript Segment 1

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 28, 1996, 5:00 pm
TEASE

GENE SARAZEN WAS THE FIRST GREAT AMERICAN PLAYER BORN IN THE 20TH CENTURY. HE WAS FOLLOWED A FEW WEEK LATER BY BOBBY JONES, HIS LIFE LONG FRIEND AND ON COURSE RIVAL. WHEN GENE WON THE 1922 U.S. OPEN AS A 20 YEAR OLD FOR HIS FIRST MAJOR CHAMPIONSHIP, IT WAS JONES WHO TIED FOR SECOND PLACE.

IN 1973 GENE BID FAREWELL TO TOURNAMENT GOLF AS DRAMATICALLY AS HE HAD ENTERED IT WITH A HOLE IN ONE AT THE SO CALLED POSTAGE STAMP. THE 126 YARD 8TH HOLE AT TROON THAT WAS WITNESSED BY ALL ON TELEVISION DURING THE BRITISH OPEN. IN BETWEEN THESE BOOK ENDS OF BRILLIANCE, GENE SARAZEN, ONE OF THE GREATEST AND GRIDIEST COMPETITORS IN THE HISTORY OF THE GAME TREATED US TO HIS GENIUS AND CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE GREAT GAME.

HE WAS THE FIRST TO WIN THE PROFESSIONAL CAREER GRAND SLAM. THE U.S. AND BRITISH OPENS. THE PGA AND THE MASTERS. HIS HOLED FOUR WOOD FOR A DOUBLE EAGLE TWO AT THE 15TH HOLE IN THE FINAL ROUND OF THE 1935 MASTERS, WHICH ENABLED HIM TO EARN AND WIN A PLAY OFF FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIP IS PROBABLY THE MOST FAMOUS SINGLE SHOT IN THE 600 YEAR HISTORY OF GOLF. HE WAS THE FIRST GREAT AMERICAN PLAYER TO MAKE A SCIENCE OF HITTING PRACTICE SHOTS AND HONING HIS SHORT GAME THROUGH GRUELING SEVEN HOUR SESSIONS FROM EVERY IMAGINABLE POSITION.

HE WAS TOUGH, COLORFUL AND NOT AFRAID OF HARD WORK. HE PLAYED HIS BEST GOLF AT A TIME WHEN BOBBY JONES AND WALTER HAGEN WERE ALSO PLAYING THEIR BEST GOLF. HE PLAYED WHEN BABE RUTH WAS IN HIS PRIME, WHEN TALKING PICTURES BECAME A NEW RAGE, WHEN HICKORY SHAFTS FINALLY GAVE WAY TO STEEL. IN THE WONDERFUL BOOK `THE MASTERS OF GOLF' THE AUTHORS CONCLUDED THEIR CHAPTER ON GENE WITH THIS PERFECT QUOTE FROM GOLDEN AGE GOLF WRITER, OBIE KEELER 'HIS CONFIDENCE IS AGGRESSIVE. WHEN CONFRONTED BY A TOUGH AND TESTING SHOT, HE APPEARS TREMENDOUSLY EAGER TO GET AT IT WITH A FIERCE INSPIRATION TO CONQUER, WITH A CERTAIN JOY OF BATTLE AND A GRIM DELIGHT. A CHANCE TO EXTEND HIS POWERS.

MEET THE 94 YEAR OLD GRAND ELDER STATESMAN OF GOLF, GENE SARAZEN, TONIGHT ON GOLF TALK LIVE.

PETER KESSLER

WELCOME TO GOLF TALK LIVE. I'M PETER KESSLER. OUR SHOW IS ORIGINATING TONIGHT FROM THE SIGHT OF THE SARAZEN WORLD OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP IN BROSSELTON, GEORGIA JUST NORTH OF ATLANTA. WE ARE IN THE CLUBHOUSE OF CHATEAU ELAN AND WE ARE SITTING WITH AN AMERICAN INSTITUTION, GENE SARAZEN. WHAT A GREAT HONOR SIR.

GENE SARAZEN

THANK YOU. NICE MEETING YOU PETER.

PETER KESSLER

IT'S GREAT TO BE HERE WITH YOU. WHAT WOULD YOUR MARY THINK OF THE SARAZEN WORLD OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP?

GENE SARAZEN

OH SHE'D BE THRILLED TO DEATH. YOU KNOW I OFTEN UH SIT BACK AND THINK, WHO EVER THOUGHT 72 YEARS AGO THAT I'D BE HOSTING THE WORLD OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP AND WHO'D EVER THOUGHT THAT I'D RUN INTO A MAN LIKE DONALD PANOS, WHOSE BEEN SO GRACIOUS. YOU KNOW I'M NOT A YOUNG FELLOW. I'M PRETTY OLD FELLA.

PETER KESSLER

WHY DO THEY WAIT SO LONG IN EVERY GREAT MAN'S LIFE TO GIVE HIM THE AWARDS THAT HE WAS ENTITLED TO YEARS BEFORE? THE BOB JONES AWARD IN 1992. WHAT ABOUT 1952?

GENE SARAZEN

YEAH BUT I RECEIVED ALL THE AWARDS AFTER I WAS 90. I DON'T WHERE I'VE BEEN FOR THE LAST 7O YEARS.

PETER KESSLER

THE SAME THING WITH BYRON NELSON.

GENE SARAZEN

THAT'S RIGHT.

PETER KESSLER

HE WON ALL THOSE TOURNAMENTS IN '45 AND THEY WAITED 50 YEARS FOR SOMEBODY TO SAY SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

GENE SARAZEN

YEAH WELL THEY'RE JUST WAKING UP. THAT'S ALL.

PETER KESSLER

OKAY WELL AT LEAST THEY'VE FIGURED OUT HOW GREAT OUR GAME IS. WHAT WOULD YOUR MOM AND DAD THINK ABOUT THIS NOW? I MEAN HERE YOU ARE AN AMERICAN INSTITUTION. YOU'VE PLAYED WITH MORE GREAT PLAYERS IN THE HISTORY OF THE GAME THAN ANYONE ELSE. YOU'VE GIVEN AS MUCH TO THE GAME, MUCH MORE THAN YOU HAVE TAKEN. WHAT WOULD THEY THINK NOW?

GENE SARAZEN

WELL THEY WOULDN'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT GOLF BUT THEY'D BE TICKLED TO DEATH THAT I'D BE WHERE I WAS.

PETER KESSLER

YOUR DAD MOVED BACK TO ITALY THE YEAR THAT YOU WON BOTH OPENS, DIDN'T HE, IN '32?

GENE SARAZEN

'32 HE WENT BACK TO ITALY, THAT'S RIGHT.

PETER KESSLER

DID YOU SPEAK TO HIM AFTER THAT?. DID YOU SEE HIM?

GENE SARAZEN

YES I WENT TO ROME SEVERAL TIMES TO UH DO THE SHELL SHOWS AND UH I WAS ABLE TO SEE HIM. HE WAS LIVING WITH MY WIFE'S UH, MY MOTHER'S SISTER. HE WAS OVER 90 YEARS OLD AND HE DIED WHEN HE WAS 94.

PETER KESSLER

WELL GENE THEY HAVE GREAT GENES IN YOUR FAMILY, DON'T THEY?
WHEN YOU WERE A KID LIVING IN NEW YORK, WHEN FRANCES WEEMET, IN 1913, WHEN YOU WERE ELEVEN YEARS OLD, WHEN HE WAS 21 AND WON THE U.S. OPEN A PLAYOFF WITH ARGUABLY THE GREATEST PLAYER OF THAT TIME, HARRY VARDON, AND A VERY WONDERFUL PLAYER IN TED RAY, DID THAT CONVINCE YOU THAT YOU COULD WIN THE OPEN?

GENE SARAZEN

WELL I WAS CADDYING WITH ED SULLIVAN AT OPAWAMIS GOING TO THE 18TH HOLE AND UH THE FELLOW THAT I WAS CADDYING FOR WAS A BANKER FROM NEW YORK AND HE LOOKED AT ME, HE SAYS YOU KNOW A CADDIE WON THE OPEN TODAY. I SAYS WHAT CADDIE? HE SAYS A FELLOW BY THE NAME OF FRANCIS WAYMEN. OHH, I SAYS I WONDER HOW HE GRIPPED THE CLUB, I SAID INTERLOCKING GRIP? SO I STARTED USING THE INTERLOCKING GRIP AND I'VE BEEN USING IT FOR, SINCE 1920.

PETER KESSLER

YOU KNOW WHO TOOK THE INTERLOCKING GRIP FROM YOU?

GENE SARAZEN


WHO?

PETER KESSLER

JACK NICKLAUS.

GENE SARAZEN

DID HE?

PETER KESSLER

YEAH HE TOO HAD, HAD REASONABLY SMALL HANDS FOR A BIG MAN AND HE'S ALWAYS USED THE INTERLOCKING GRIP.

GENE SARAZEN

WELL HE DOESN'T PUT HIS THUMB AROUND THE, AROUND THE GRIP THOUGH, HE PUTS HIS THUMB HERE.

PETER KESSLER

THAT'S RIGHT. YOURS WAS SORT OF HANGING OFF A LITTLE BIT, RIGHT?

GENE SARAZEN

IT WAS INSIDE THERE.

PETER KESSLER

RIGHT. HIS WAS, HIS WAS, HIS HAND WAS MORE ON TOP OF THE CLUB WITH HIS HAND.

GENE SARAZEN

BUT HE'S MORE SUCCESSFUL THAN I WAS THOUGH. HE'S WON 20 MAJORS. I ONLY WON SEVEN.

PETER KESSLER

WELL LOOK AT THE COMPETITION OF THE TWO TIMES TOO I MEAN THE BOTH OF YOU WERE PLAYING AGAINST SOME OF THE GREATEST NAMES IN THE HISTORY OF GOLF. I THINK OF 1920 FOR EXAMPLE WHEN YOU PLAYED IN YOUR FIRST U.S. OPEN WHEN BOBBY JONES PLAYED IN HIS FIRST U.S. OPEN AND HARRY VARDON, WHO SHOULD HAVE WON WAS PLAYING IN HIS LAST.

GENE SARAZEN

WELL HARRY VARDON SHOULD HAVE WON THAT OPEN BUT THERE WAS A LIKE A HURRICANE CAME ON IN THE LAST 9 HOLES AND TED RAY WAS IN AND HE WON BY ONE STROKE AND HARRY VARDON WAS 2ND. HE HAD A BAD NINE BUT UH HARRY VARDON WAS A MUCH SUPERIOR PLAYER THAN TED RAY.

PETER KESSLER

I KNOW THAT, GO AHEAD, GO AHEAD I DIDN'T MEAN TO INTERRUPT. HARRY WAS SEVEN OVER I THINK ON THAT LAST NINE HOLES.

GENE SARAZEN

THAT'S RIGHT.

PETER KESSLER

IN A FIERCE GALE TO LOSE BY A SHOT AT THE AGE OF 50.

GENE SARAZEN

YEAH I REMEMBER THAT AND UH, I DIDN'T, I WAS UH, I PLAYED VERY WELL IN THE QUALIFYING ROUND. IN THOSE DAYS YOU HAD TO QUALIFY AT THE SCENE OF THE CHAMPIONSHIP AND I WAS 2ND IN THE QUALIFYING AND JACK, JACKIE BURKE'S FATHER WAS 1ST AND EVERYBODY THOUGHT THAT THIS KID FROM FORTWEIGHT (???), INDIANA WAS GOING TO WIN THE OPEN AND ONE OF MY BEST BACKERS WAS GRANTLYN RICE (???) AND PAUL GALICO. THEY THOUGHT I'D WIN THE OPEN BUT I FALTERED AND LOST.

PETER KESSLER

NOW FOR PEOPLE WHO DON'T KNOW GRANTLYN RICE AND PAUL GALICO WERE TWO OF THE REALLY GREAT SPORTS WRITERS OF THE 20'S AND 30'S. GRANTLYN WAS A GREAT FRIEND OF YOURS THOUGH WASN'T HE?

GENE SARAZEN

YEAH LIFE LONG FRIEND. HE WAS A GREAT FELLOW. I'LL NEVER FORGET WHEN I WAS CADDYING AT OPAWANIS, WE HAD TO STAY IN A SHED ABOUT 150 YARDS FROM THE CADDIE HOUSE AND TWO BAGS CAME UP. ONE WAS A SUNDAY BAG. IT HAD `G-A-R' ON IT. ANOTHER ONE WAS A BIG BRAND NEW BAG WITH A BRAND NEW SET OF CLUBS AND THAT WAS THE POLICE COMMISSIONER OF NEW YORK. WELL ED SULLIVAN, YOU KNOW, HE COULD RUN LIKE PERVERT NORMY (????) AND HE BEAT ME TO IT AND HE TOOK THE BIG BAG BECAUSE HE THOUGHT THE BIG BAG WAS A BIG TIP. WELL I HAD TO TAKE THIS LITTLE SUNDAY BAG WITH A LOT OF RUSTY CLUBS AND HICKORY SHAFTS AND I SEE THEM COMING UP FROM THE LOCKER ROOM AND THIS BIG FAT FELLOW WAS THE POLICE COMMISSIONER AND THE VERY ATTRACTIVE LOOKING MAN WAS GRANTLYN (???) RICE AND I FELL IN LOVE WITH HIM. I REMEMBER HE HAD WHITE FLANNEL SLACKS ON AND HE HAD A GOLD CHAIN AND WHEN WE GOT THROUGH I GOT THE BIG TIP AND SULLIVAN DIDN'T GET AS BIG A TIP.

PETER KESSLER

MAYBE IT WAS ED SULLIVAN THEN WHO SAID AFTER THAT YOU CAN'T JUDGE A BOOK BY IT'S COVER AFTER PICKING THE BIG BAG, RIGHT?

GENE SARAZEN

THAT'S RIGHT.

PETER KESSLER

NOW YOU PLAYED WITH, A COUPLE OF YEARS AFTER THAT TWENTY OPEN AND, AND WE'LL COME BACK AND TALK ABOUT 1921 AND '2 BUT WITH HARRY VARDON YOU WENT OVER TO PLAY IN THE BRITISH OPEN IN '23 AND HE CALLED YOU A CHICKEN FOR NOT SHOWING UP FOR A LITTLE TOURNAMENT BEFORE, SO YOU SHOWED UP AND WHO DID THEY PAIR YOU WITH?

GENE SARAZEN

OH I'LL NEVER FORGET THAT. YOU KNOW I WENT OVER WITH HAGEN AND A, A CREW FROM UH, AMERICA AND UH I WAS DETERMINED I WAS GOING TO STAY AT TROON. I WASN'T GOING TO GO OUT PLAYING OTHER TOURNAMENTS SO THEY WENT DOWN AND PLAYED LITHEM IN ST. ANNE'S WHERE THEY HAD THE NORTH BRITISH CHAMPIONSHIP. WELL I WOULDN'T GO SO THEY GOT ON THE PHONE AND THEY GOT THE COMMITTEE. THEY CALLED ME EVERY NAME UNDER THE SUN. AND THEY GOT ME ALL RILED UP SO I WENT DOWN STAIRS AND SAW THE PORTER. I SAYS HOW DO I GET TO LITHEM IN ST. ANNE'S? `OH MR. SARAZEN YOU HAVE TO GO TO EDINBURGH AND TAKE THE TRAIN OVER NIGHT AND, AND GET, GO TO LIVERPOOL. I SAID DO THEY HAVE SLEEPERS? HE SAID NO YOU'LL HAVE TO SIT UP ALL NIGHT. OH BOY. SO I PACKED MY BAG AND I WENT DOWN AND WENT OUT TO, TOOK A TAXI FROM LIVERPOOL TO LITHEM AT ST. ANNE'S AND UH WHEN I GOT THERE I WENT TO THE PRACTICE TEE AND HIT ABOUT SIX BALLS AND I HEARD THE STARTER SAYING, MR. GENE SARAZEN AND MR. HARRY VARDON, NEXT. OOH I WAS THRILLED TO DEATH. SO I GOT ON THE TEE AND THERE WAS OLD HARRY WAITING FOR ME AND HE HIT A SHOT CALLED A BAFFIE. PUT IT ABOUT TEN FEET FROM THE HOLE. I TOOK AN IRON AND TRIED TO PLAY A BALL RIGHT TO LEFT AND THE WIND TOOK IT INTO THE TRAP, SO WALKING OFF THE TEE I SAID TO HIM, WHAT KIND OF WIND DO YOU HAVE OVER HERE? THAT BALL SHOULD NEVER HAVE GONE IN THE TRAP AND HE PUT HIS ARM AROUND ME, HE SAYS SON, THE WAY YOU HIT THE BALL THE WIND HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IT.

PETER KESSLER

THAT'S GOOD ADVICE BECAUSE YOU COULD TEAR THAT BALL THROUGH THE WIND, COULDN'T YOU? WE'RE GOING TO TAKE A SHORT BREAK, GENE. WE'LL COME RIGHT BACK. WE'LL PICK UP THIS CONVERSATION RIGHT AFTER THIS. DON'T GO AWAY.

BREAK

NEXT SEGMENT
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Garcia 2 back in weather-delayed Singapore Open

By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 3:06 pm

SINGAPORE - Danthai Boonma and Chapchai Nirat built a two-stroke lead over a chasing pack that includes Sergio Garcia and Ryo Ishikawa midway through the third round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open on Saturday.

The Thai golfers were locked together at 9 under when play was suspended at the Sentosa Golf Club for the third day in a row because of lightning strikes in the area.

Masters champion Garcia and former teen prodigy Ishikawa were among seven players leading the chase at 7 under on a heavily congested leaderboard.

Garcia, one of 78 players who returned to the course just after dawn to complete their second rounds, was on the 10th hole of his third round when the warning siren was sounded to abruptly end play for the day.

''Let's see if we can finish the round, that will be nice,'' he said. ''But I think if I can play 4-under I should have a chance.''

The Spanish golfer credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his first major championship title at Augusta National because of the stifling humidity of southeast Asia and the testing stop-start nature of the tournament.


Full-field scores from the Singapore Open


Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore in 2017, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the subsequent week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later. He is feeling confident of his chances of success this weekend.

''I felt like I hit the ball OK,'' Garcia said. ''My putting and all went great but my speed hasn't been great on this green so let's see if I can be a little more aggressive on the rounds this weekend.''

Ishikawa moved into a share of the lead at the halfway stage after firing a second round of 5-under 66 that featured eight birdies. He birdied the first two holes of his third round to grab the outright lead but slipped back with a double-bogey at the tricky third hole for the third day in a row. He dropped another shot at the par-5 sixth when he drove into a fairway bunker.

''It was a short night but I had a good sleep and just putted well,'' Ishikawa said. The ''greens are a little quicker than yesterday but I still figured (out) that speed.

Ishikawa was thrust into the spotlight more than a decade ago. In 2007, he became the youngest player to win on any of the major tours in the world. He was a 15-year-old amateur when he won the Munsingwear Open KSB Cup.

He turned pro at 16, first played in the Masters when he was 17 and the Presidents Cup when he was 18. He shot 58 in the final round to win The Crowns in Japan when he was 19.

Now 26, Ishikawa has struggled with injuries and form in recent years. He lost his PGA Tour card and hasn't played in any of the majors since 2015. He has won 15 times as a professional, but has never won outside his homeland of Japan.

Chapchai was able to sleep in and put his feet up on Saturday morning after he completed his second round on Friday.

He bogeyed the third but reeled off three birdies in his next four holes to reach 9-under with the back nine still to play.

Danthai was tied for 12th at the halfway stage but charged into a share of the lead with seven birdies in the first 15 holes of his penultimate round.

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McIlroy (65) one back in Abu Dhabi through 54

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 1:09 pm

Rory McIlroy moved into position to send a powerful message in his first start of the new year at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Closing out with back-to-back birdies Saturday, McIlroy posted a 7-under-par 65, leaving him poised to announce his return to golf in spectacular fashion after a winless year in 2017.

McIlroy heads into Sunday just a single shot behind the leaders, Thomas Pieters (67) and Ross Fisher (65), who are at 17-under overall at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

Making his first start after taking three-and-a-half months off to regroup from an injury-riddled year, McIlroy is looking sharp in his bid to win for the first time in 16 months. He chipped in for birdie from 50 feet at the 17th on Saturday and two-putted from 60 feet for another birdie to finish his round.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


McIlroy took 50 holes before making a bogey in Abu Dhabi. He pushed his tee shot into a greenside bunker at the 15th, where he left a delicate play in the bunker, then barely blasted his third out before holing a 15-footer for bogey.

McIlroy notably opened the tournament playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, who started the new year winning the PGA Tour’s Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii in an eight-shot rout just two weeks ago. McIlroy was grouped in the first two rounds with Johnson and Tommy Fleetwood, the European Tour’s Player of the Year last season. McIlroy sits ahead of both of them going into the final round, with Johnson (68) tied for 12th, five shots back, and Fleetwood (67) tied for fourth, two shots back.

Those first two rounds left McIlroy feeling good about his off season work.

“That proves I’m back to full fitness and 100 percent health,” he said going into Saturday. “DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now and of, if not the best, drivers of the golf ball, and to be up there with him over the first two days proves to me I’m doing the right things and gives me confidence.”

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Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''


Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

“What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.