Golf Talk Live - Jack Nicklaus Transcript Segment 3

By Golf Channel DigitalApril 5, 1999, 4:00 pm
PETER KESSLER
WHEN YOU WON THE MASTERS FOR THE 2ND TIME IN '65, WHEN YOU SET THE RECORD, YOU BEAT YOUR BUDDIES, GARY AND ARNOLD, BY 9 SHOTS. YOU ALSO BEAT GARY BY 9 SHOTS ON THE PAR-3'S AND ARNOLD BY 10 SHOTS ON THE PAR-3'S.

DO YOU THINK PEOPLE GENERALLY APPRECIATE THAT MAYBE YOUR BIGGEST SECRET, AND NOT SO SECRET TO YOU, ADVANTAGE MAY HAVE BEEN YOUR SUPERIORITY ON THE PAR-3 HOLES?

JACK NICKLAUS
WELL, YOU KNOW, I NEVER FELT THAT MY DRIVING HAS BEEN UH . UH . THE WHOLE KEY TO MY GAME. UM, POWER WAS A GOOD KEY TO MY GAME.

BUT UH . I ALWAYS FELT MY MIDDLE IRON PLAY WAS WHAT REALLY . WHEN I WAS REALLY -- PLAYED A TOURNAMENT WELL, MY MIDDLE IRON PLAY WAS WHERE I REALLY DOMINATED `CAUSE I ALWAYS .

IF I WAS GOING TO WIN SOMETHING, I WAS GONNA WIN IT BY A FEW SHOTS, IT ALWAYS CAME ON THE PAR-3'S. AND EVERY YEAR AT AUGUSTA, I ALWAYS TRIED TO FIGURE OUT, YOU KNOW, HOW WELL DID I PLAY THE PAR-3'S.

GENERALLY, THE PAR-4'S YOU PLAY AROUND PAR MAYBE 1-OVER, 1-UNDER SORT OF KIND OF THINGS.

YOU KNOW, I . I DON'T THINK EVER PLAYED THE PAR-5 GREAT, MAYBE BIRDIED HALF OF THEM WHICH ISN'T, WHICH ISN'T TERRIBLE BUT IT'S . BUT IT'S, YOU KNOW, LIKE. SHOULD BE BETTER.

BUT WHEN I WON, I ALWAYS PLAYED THE PAR-3'S IN, YOU KNOW, 4, 5, 6 UNDER PAR SOMETHING LIKE THAT. AND THAT'S, THAT'S UH . WHERE I UH .

WHERE I THINK I REALLY UH . UH . I DON'T UH . SEEMED TO BE MY STRENGTH MORE THAN WHAT PEOPLE THOUGHT.

PETER KESSLER
DO YOU THINK THAT THAT STRENGTH CARRIED ITSELF OVER TO YOUR DESIGN WORK ON PAR-3'S?

JACK NICKLAUS
(SIGH) HMM, I HADN'T REALLY THOUGHT MUCH ABOUT THAT. BUT UH . UM .

I ENJOY DOING PAR-3'S. I ENJOY TRYING TO PICTURE A SHOT OF WHAT YOU DO WITH A PAR-3 `CAUSE I THINK A PAR-3 IS A PLACE WHERE YOU CAN TEE A BALL UP.

YOU KNOW, IT'S NOT PLAYING OUT OF SOME LIE AT SOME DISTANCE. AND YOU CAN CONTROL WHERE THE AMATEUR AND WHERE YOU'RE GOING TO PLAY THAT PAR-3 FROM.

SO I ENJOY BEING ABLE TO DO THAT. UH, PROBABLY MORE SO THAN OTHER HOLES, YEAH, I THINK I DO.

PETER KESSLER
LEE TREVINO USED TO ALWAYS COMPLAIN, OF COURSE, THAT HE HIT THE BALL TOO LOW TO DO WELL AT AUGUSTA NATIONAL. BUT ARNOLD PALMER WAS A NOTORIOUSLY LOW BALL HITTER. WHY WAS ARNOLD SO SUCCESSFUL AT AUGUSTA NATIONAL, DO YOU SUPPOSE?

JACK NICKLAUS
WELL, I THINK YOU TAKE IT THE OTHER SIDE. I THINK LEE JUST HAD IN HIS MIND THAT HE COULDN'T PLAY AUGUSTA AND THAT'S CRAZY. I MEAN, LEE TREVINO'S A WONDERFUL GOLFER. I MEAN,

THERE'S BEEN . TO ME, HOGAN IS THE ONLY PERSON I KNOW THAT STRUCK THE BALL BETTER THAN LEE TREVINO.

NOW IF LEE TREVINO SAYS HE CAN'T HIT THE BALL HIGH, I CAN'T BUY THAT. I MEAN, LEE CAN PLAY ANY SHOT THAT HE WANTS TO PLAY, ALWAYS COULD.

AND UH . UH .

HE JUST - AND . AND NOW LEE CAN HIT IT RIGHT-TO-LEFT UH OR LEFT-TO-RIGHT. HE COULD DO EITHER AND WHATEVER HE WANTS. SO, I MEAN, I THOUGHT THAT WAS ABSOLUTELY NONSENSE. BUT HE HAD CONVINCED HIMSELF HE COULDN'T PLAY IT.

ARNOLD, HE DIDN'T HAVE A PROBLEM WHETHER HE HIT IT HIGH OR LOW. ARNOLD . ARNOLD REALLY KNEW THAT HE COULD PLAY THAT GOLF COURSE. AND UH, ARNOLD JUST WENT AFTER THE GOLF COURSE AND PLAYED GOLF LIKE HE DID ANY PLACE ELSE. HE JUST WENT AFTER IT. AND UH . UH .

YOU KNOW, I JUST . IT . TO ME, LEE'S WAS A MYSTERY AND ARNOLD'S, OF COURSE, IS JUST THE WAY ARNOLD IS.

PETER KESSLER
PEOPLE ASK YOU, 'GEE, JACK, WHEN ARE YOU GONNA COME BACK AND COMPETE. WHEN ARE WE GONNA SEE YOU TRY TO WIN AGAIN?' AND I SOMETIMES WONDER IF YOU DON'T FEEL A LITTLE BIT LIKE THE LATE JOE DIMAGGIO THAT

HE DID EVERYTHING. HE . HE WENT TO 10 WORLD SERIES AND WON 9 OF THEM. HE HIT 361 HOMERUNS AND ONLY STRUCK OUT A FEW MORE TIMES THAN THAT. SO THAT WHEN HE LEFT, HE WAS COMPLETELY SATISFIED THAT HE HAD DONE EVERYTHING TO PREPARE,

EVERYTHING TO PLAY AS WELL AS HE COULD. AND EVEN TOWARDS THE END OF HIS CAREER, HE TRIED AS HARD AS HE COULD IN CASE THERE WAS SOMEONE WHO HAD NEVER SEEN HIM PLAY BALL BEFORE.

JACK NICKLAUS
UH-HUH.

PETER KESSLER
DO YOU FEEL THAT WAY A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOU?

JACK NICKLAUS
WELL, YOU KNOW . WHEN I .

WHEN I WENT TO HAVE MY HIP DONE UH, PETER, UH . UH, I SAID I DID IT FOR A QUALITY OF LIFE ISSUE. AND THE GOLF, WHETHER I PLAY GOLF OR NOT WAS NOT AN ISSUE.

UH, IF I HAPPEN TO PLAY GOLF AGAIN, WHICH I'M SURE I WILL, UH, AND I'M PLAYING NOW, UH, THAT'S A BONUS. IF I HAPPEN TO PLAY TOURNAMENT GOLF AGAIN, THAT'S AN EXTRA BONUS. BUT I CERTAINLY DIDN'T HAVE MY HIP DONE TO PLAY TOURNAMENT GOLF.

I'VE PLAYED MY TOURNAMENT GOLF. NOW I ENJOY BEING . UH SEEING THE GUYS. I ENJOY HAVING THE COMPETITION WHEN I CAN HAVE THE COMPETITION. WHETHER I WILL BE ABLE TO SWING A GOLF CLUB, UH, AND DO THE THINGS THAT I WANT TO DO WITH A GOLF BALL WITH AN ARTIFICIAL HIP, I DON'T KNOW.

I HAVE NO IDEA WHETHER I CAN OR NOT. AND, I'M SURE THERE'S GONNA BE SOME LIMITATIONS ON WHAT I CAN DO BECAUSE, UH, I DOUBT WHETHER THEY CAN MANUFACTURE A HIP THAT CAN DO WHAT I USED TO BE ABLE TO DO WITH A GOLF BALL.

AND UH . UH SO . YOU KNOW .

BUT IT'S NOT IMPORTANT. IT'S NOT IMPORTANT. I MEAN, UH, I THINK THAT UH I WANT TO BE OUT. I WANT TO COME OUT AND PLAY. I WANT TO PLAY A LITTLE BIT. BUT UH, CERTAINLY, I'M NOT GONNA COME OUT AND PLAY JUST TO PLAY.

UH, IF I CAN CONTRIBUTE, IF I CAN HELP THE GUYS ON THE SENIOR TOUR, HELP MAKE THAT A LITTLE BIT BETTER TOUR FOR -- ON THE FEW EVENTS THAT I PLAY, YOU KNOW, THEN I'LL TRY TO DO THAT.

BUT I CAN PLAY IN UH . UH, U.S. OPEN THIS YEAR AND UH PLAY IN THE MAJORS ALL NEXT YEAR. UH .

UM, YOU KNOW, I'D LIKE TO DO THAT. UH, AND I'D LIKE TO BE ABLE TO PLAY THE BEST I CAN. BUT I'M NOT GONNA SIT THERE AND PROLONG SOMETHING UH . IF I CAN'T DO IT.

PETER KESSLER
IF YOU DO PLAY IN THE MAJORS AND YOU DO PLAY THE BEST THAT YOU ARE CAPABLE OF AT THE TIME, DOES THAT CHANGE IN ANY WAY YOUR PHILOSOPHY THAT YOU'RE ONLY GONNA PLAY IF YOU, IN FACT, FEEL THAT YOU CAN BE COMPETITIVE

AS OPPOSED TO ON THE FRINGES OF BEING COMPETITIVE OR A CEREMONIAL GOLFER, WHICH YOU SAID YOU'RE NEVER GOING TO DO?

JACK NICKLAUS
WELL, I TRIED TO BE A CEREMONIAL GOLFER SEVERAL TIMES. IT NEVER WORKED.

PETER KESSLER
DIDN'T WORK LAST YEAR AT AUGUSTA.

JACK NICKLAUS
NO, THEY'VE NEVER . NEVER WORKS ANYWHERE. I MEAN, I . I HAVING AN AWFUL HARD TIME JUST GOING AROUND AND . AND, YOU KNOW, WAVING TO THE CROWD. THAT'S NOT, THAT'S NOT MY SCENE, YOU KNOW THAT.

PETER KESSLER
(LAUGH)

JACK NICKLAUS
(LAUGH)

YOU CAN JUST SEE ME WALKING UP TO A 10 FOOT PUTT, 'OH, HI EVERYBODY', YOU KNOW .

PETER KESSLER
AND GRACEFULLY MISSING IT.

JACK NICKLAUS
YEAH, NO . NO WAY. I CAN'T DO THAT.

UM . BUT UH . UH . I .

I ENDED MY STREAK LAST YEAR, UH, AT THE U.S. OPEN BECAUSE I COULDN'T PREPARE FOR IT. UH, HAD I BEEN ABLE - IN OTHER WORDS, LET'S JUST SAY I PREPARED FOR THE U.S. OPEN LAST YEAR, I COULD HAVE PREPARED,

I PLAYED 9 HOLES THE PREVIOUS 2 WEEKS TO THE U.S. OPEN AND DIDN'T HIT ANY BALLS . `CAUSE I JUST COULD - PHYSICALLY COULDN'T.

AND WHEN I WENT TO THE U.S. OPEN, I WAS JUST HOPING THAT I COULD GET THROUGH THE TOURNAMENT ENOUGH TO PLAY GOLF. NOW THAT'S RIDICULOUS. YOU DON'T GO TO THE U.S. OPEN, TAKE A SPOT FROM SOMEBODY WHEN YOU KNOW YOU CAN'T BE COMPETITIVE.

NOW I MADE . MADE THE CUT. NOW IF I WOULD -- HAD BEEN ABLE TO PREPARE FOR THE U.S. OPEN LAST YEAR . AND WENT TO THE U.S. OPEN FEELING LIKE I COULD PLAY, AND SHOT EXACTLY THE SAME SCORE, I WOULD HAVE GONE TO THE BRITISH OPEN LAST YEAR .

`CAUSE I FELT LIKE I DID ALL I COULD TO PREPARE AND BE READY. IF I CAN'T BE READY AND CAN'T PREPARE, THEN I SHOULDN'T BE THERE, SHOULDN'T TAKE A SPOT FROM SOMEBODY.

SO IF I'M GOING TO PLAY, UH, OVER THE NEXT YEAR AND A HALF OR SO AND - OR BEYOND, I MAY PLAY BEYOND, I DON'T KNOW, UH, THEN IT'LL BE BECAUSE I CAN PREPARE.

AND NOT NECESSARILY WILL I PREPARE -- I DON'T EXPECT JACK NICKLAUS TO COMPETE AGAINST DAVID DUVAL AND . AND UH, AND TIGER WOODS ANY MORE. UH, I MAY GIVE THEM A RUN EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE. BUT

I'M NOT GONNA GIVE THEM A RUN ON A 4 DAY BASIS. UH, AND THEY'RE CERTAINLY GONNA SHAKE IN THEIR BOOTS ANYMORE, I PROMISE YOU. YOU'RE NOT SHAKING, ARE YOU GUYS? (LAUGH)

PETER KESSLER
I DON'T KNOW. I REMEMBER SNEAD AND BOLT BEING COMPETITIVE IN THEIR 60'S IN MAJORS THAT YOU WENT AHEAD AND WON.

LET'S TAKE A RIP TH --

JACK NICKLAUS
YEAH, BUT . BUT ANYWAY, THEY . BUT, YOU KNOW, I'M NOT GONNA BE GOOD. SO I WANT TO BE REALISTIC ABOUT WHO I AM AND WHAT I AM.

AND, IF I CAN PREPARE AND BE READY TO PLAY AND BE WHAT I CALL COMPETITIVE IS HAVE A CHANCE TO BE COMPETITIVE, THAT DOESN'T NECESSARILY MEAN I'M GONNA WIN BUT HAVE A CHANCE TO BE ABLE TO,

THEN, YOU KNOW, THEN I'M EXCITED AND I ENJOY PLAYING AND I'LL BE THERE.

PETER KESSLER
LET'S TAKE A RIP THROUGH A FEW SHOTS FROM THE '65 MASTERS AS WE GO TO BREAK. LET'S TAKE A LOOK.

JACK NICKLAUS
OKAY.

PETER KESSLER
NOW HERE, OF COURSE, YOU ARE GETTING READY ON THE PRACTICE TEE -- LOOK HOW CLOSE YOUR HANDS ARE TO YOUR BODY HERE AND HOW RHYTHMICAL THIS SWING IS.

NO HITTING HERE, JACK.

JACK NICKLAUS
THAT WAS . IT WAS JUST ABSOLUTELY A . THAT WEEK IT WAS JUST . YOU KNOW, I WAS JUST -- IT WAS JUST ABSOLUTELY PURE . THERE WAS NO -- IT WAS SO EASY. EVERYTHING WAS EASY.

HEH, THAT DRIVING RANGE, YOU KNOW . THEY GOT A LITTLE SHORT THAT WEEK TOO. I MEAN, YOU COULDN'T KEEP THE BALL IN IT. (LAUGH)

PETER KESSLER
THERE'S NO HIT. I MEAN, YOU CAN'T EVEN SEE THE HIT INSIDE OF YOUR SWING

JACK NICKLAUS
YEAH.

PETER KESSLER
IN '65 AND . AND HERE YOU ARE, I THINK THIS WAS THE 1ST TEE SHOT ON THE LAST DAY.

JACK NICKLAUS
PROBABLY ANOTHER HOOK.

PETER KESSLER
I DON'T THINK SO. YOU LOOKED LIKE YOU FINISHED THAT SWING.

JACK NICKLAUS
YEAH, BUT I THINK THAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN ALL RIGHT. I'M WATCHING IT. IT'S OFF THE LEFT SIDE. IT WENT DOWN THERE CLOSE TO THE LEFT SIDE.

PETER KESSLER
WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK. DON'T GO AWAY. (LAUGH)

JACK NICKLAUS
(LAUGH)

I HOOKED IT MORE TIMES .

(BREAK)

NEXT SEGMENT
Getty Images

DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

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."

Getty Images

LPGA lists April date for new LA event

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

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.

Getty Images

Tour's Integrity Program raises gambling questions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 17, 2018, 7:00 pm

The video begins with an eye-opening disclaimer: “Sport betting markets produce revenues of $1 trillion each year.”

For all the seemingly elementary elements of the 15-minute video PGA Tour players have been required to watch as part of the circuit’s newly created Integrity Program, it’s the enormity of the industry – $1 trillion annually – that concerns officials.

There are no glaring examples of how sport betting has impacted golf, no red flags that sent Tour officials into damage control; just a realization that with that kind of money it’s best to be proactive.

“It's important that in that world, you can operate not understanding what's happening week in and week out, or you can assume that all of our players and everybody in our ecosystem understands that that's not an acceptable activity, or you can just be proactive and clarify and educate,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan explained earlier this month. “That's what we have attempted to do not with just the video, but with all of our communication with our players and will continue to do that.”

But if clarification is the goal, a copy of the training video obtained by GolfChannel.com paints a different picture.



Although the essence of the policy is straightforward – “prohibit players from betting on professional golf” – the primary concern, at least if the training video is any indication, is on match fixing; and warns players to avoid divulging what is considered “inside information.”

“I thought the questions were laughable. They were all like first-grade-level questions,” Chez Reavie said. “I would like to think everyone out here already knows the answer to those questions. But the Tour has to protect themselves.”

Monahan explained that the creation of the integrity policy was not in reaction to a specific incident and every player asked last week at the Sony Open said they had never encountered any type of match fixing.

“No, not at all,” Reavie said. “I have friends who will text me from home after a round, ‘Oh, I bet on you playing so-and-so.’ But I make it clear I don’t want to know. I don’t gamble like that. No one has ever approached me about losing a match.”

It was a common answer, but the majority of the video focuses on how players can avoid being placed in a compromising situation that could lead to match fixing. It should be noted that gamblers can place wagers on head-to-head matchups, provided by betting outlets, during stroke-play rounds of tournaments – not just in match-play competitions.

Part of the training video included questions players must answer to avoid violating the policy. An example of this was how a player should respond when asked, “Hello, buddy! Well played today. I was following your progress. I noticed your partner pulled out of his approach on 18, looked like his back. Is he okay for tomorrow?”

The correct answer from a list of options was, “I don’t know, sorry. I’m sure he will get it looked at if it’s bothering him.”

You get the idea, but for some players the training created more questions.

How, for example, should a player respond when asked how he’s feeling by a fan?

“The part I don’t understand, let’s say a member of your club comes out and watches you on the range hitting balls, he knows you’re struggling, and he bets against you. Somehow, some way that could come back to you, according to what I saw on that video,” said one player who asked not to be identified.

Exactly what constitutes a violation is still unclear for some who took the training, which was even more concerning considering the penalties for a violation of the policy.

The first violation is a warning and a second infraction will require the player to retake the training program, but a third violation is a fine “up to $500,000” or “the amount illegally received from the betting activity.” A sixth violation is a lifetime ban from the Tour.

Players are advised to be mindful of what they post on social media and to “refrain from talking about odds or betting activity.” The latter could be an issue considering how often players discuss betting on other sports.

Just last week at the Sony Open, Kevin Kisner and Justin Thomas had a “friendly” wager on the College Football Playoff National Championship. Kisner, a Georgia fan, lost the wager and had to wear an Alabama football jersey while playing the 17th hole last Thursday.

“If I'd have got the points, he'd have been wearing [the jersey], and I was lobbying for the points the whole week, and he didn't give them to me,” Kisner said. “So I'm still not sure about this bet.”

It’s unclear to some if Kisner’s remark, which was a joke and didn’t have anything to do with golf, would be considered a violation. From a common sense standpoint, Kisner did nothing wrong, but the uncertainty is an issue.

Much like drug testing, which the Tour introduced in 2008, few, if any, think sport betting is an issue in golf; but also like the anti-doping program, there appears to be the danger of an inadvertent and entirely innocent violation.

The Tour is trying to be proactive and the circuit has a trillion reasons to get out in front of what could become an issue, but if the initial reaction to the training video is any indication they may want to try a second take.

Getty Images

Lexi looks to shine as LPGA season begins next week

By Randall MellJanuary 17, 2018, 6:06 pm

Lexi Thompson may be No. 4 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings, but in so many ways she became the new face of the women’s game last year.

That makes her the headliner in a fairly star-studded season opener at the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic next week.

Three of the top four players in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings are scheduled to tee it up on Paradise Island, including world No. 1 Shanshan Feng and co-Rolex Player of the Year So Yeon Ryu.

From the heartache at year’s start with the controversial loss at the ANA Inspiration, through the angst in the middle of the year with her mother’s cancer diagnosis, to the stunning disappointment at year’s end, Thompson emerged as the story of the year because of all she achieved in spite of those ordeals.

Next week’s event will mark the first time Thompson tees it up in an LPGA tournament since her season ended in stunning fashion last November with a missed 2-foot putt that cost her a chance to win the CME Group Tour Championship and the Rolex Player of the Year Award, and become the world No. 1.

She still walked away with the CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot and the Vare Trophy for the season’s low scoring average.

She also walked away sounding determined to show she will bounce back from that last disappointment the same way she bounced back from her gut-wrenching loss at the year’s first major, the ANA, where a four-shot Sunday penalty cost her a chance to win her second major.

“Just going through what I have this whole year, and seeing how strong I am, and how I got through it all and still won two tournaments, got six seconds ... it didn’t stop me,” Thompson said leaving the CME Group Tour Championship. “This won’t either.”

Thompson was named the Golf Writers Association of America’s Player of the Year in a vote of GWAA membership. Ryu and Sung Hyun Park won the tour’s points-based Rolex Player of the Year Award.

With those two victories and six second-place finishes, three of those coming after playoff losses, Thompson was close to fashioning a spectacular year in 2017, to dominating the tour.

The new season opens with Thompson the center of attention again. Consistently one of the tour’s best ball strikers and longest hitters, she enjoyed her best year on tour last season by making dramatic improvements in her wedge play, short game and, most notably, her putting.

She doesn’t have a swing coach. She fashioned a better all-around game on her own, or under the watchful eye of her father, Scott. All the work she put in showed up in her winning the Vare Trophy.

The Pure Silk Bahamas Classic will also feature defending champion Brittany Lincicome, as well as Ariya Jutanugarn, Stacy Lewis, Michelle Wie, Brooke Henderson, I.K. Kim, Danielle Kang and Charley Hull.