Golf Talk Live - Jesper Parnevik Transcript Segment 5
DID YOU HAVE A SENSE OF WHO SAM SNEAD WAS BEFORE YOU CAME OVER TO THIS COUNTRY, WHAT HE MEANT TO THE GAME OF GOLF, WHAT HIS SWING MEANT TO THE GAME OF GOLF?
UH, I DID IN ONE WAY BUT NOT AS MUCH AS ALL, YOU KNOW, THE AMERICANS DO BECAUSE UH ME, GROWING UP, I PRETTY MUCH JUST WATCHED UM, SEVE. HE WAS MY BIG IDOL OVER THERE. AND UH,
SO WE DIDN'T GET TO SEE ... ESPECIALLY ON SWEDISH TELEVISION, THEY NEVER SHOW GOLF. SO WE NEVER GOT TO SEE THE HOGANS AND SNEADS AND ALL THOSE GUYS FROM OVER HERE. I MEAN, EVEN PALMER, I DIDN'T SEE PLAYING MUCH WHEN HE - WHEN IN HIS PRIME.
I MEAN, IT WAS PRETTY MUCH JACK AND TOM WATSON, THOSE WERE THE FIRST TWO GUYS I SAW FROM OVER HERE PLAYING, YOU KNOW, ON TV OVER THERE.
BUT ONCE YOU GOT HERE, YOU GOT A SENSE FROM WATCHING UM, ALL OF THE
OLD FILMS OF EXACTLY WHO HE WAS AND WHAT HE WAS UP TO, RIGHT?
OH YEAH, I MEAN, IT'S UNBELIEVABLE ...
THE MOTION HE HAS IS UNBELIEVABLE. I MEAN, IT'S JUST UM, PURE RHYTHM ALL THE WAY THROUGH.
TELL YOU WHAT, LET'S TAKE A LOOK AT HIS GOLF SWING.
AND WHY DON'T YOU TELL ME WHAT YOU SEE?
LET'S GO AHEAD AND TAKE A LOOK.
I MEAN, IT'S JUST UM, FREE FLOW. I MEAN, THAT'S ALL - HE DOESN'T GET STUCK ANYWHERE. UH, YOU SEE A LOT OF GOLFERS, WHEN THEY - WHEN THEY STRUGGLE WITH A SHOT, WITH A HOOK OR A FADE OR WHATEVER IT IS, THEY SEEM TO GET STUCK SOMEWHERE IN THEIR SWING. AND UH,
HE JUST, YOU KNOW, SWINGS RIGHT THROUGH IT. THERE'S NOTHING STOPPING HIS MOTION.
IS THERE ANY REASON TO THINK THAT THIS SWING THAT WAS WINNING GOLF TOURNAMENTS IN THE 1930'S COULDN'T WIN GOLF TOURNAMENTS TODAY IF HE WERE A YOUNG MAN AGAIN?
UH NO, NO. THAT'S WHY IT'S SO HARD TO, YOU KNOW, COMPARE PLAYERS FROM DIFFERENT GENERATIONS. I MEAN, IT'S PRETTY MUCH IMPOSSIBLE. UH, EVEN THOUGH I HAVE TO SAY THE WAY TIGER IS PLAYING OR HITTING THE BALL RIGHT NOW,
I MEAN, IT'S SO HARD STILL TO COMPARE HIM TO THE HOGANS AND SNEADS AND EVEN JACK NICKLAUS, WHO'S THE BEST PLAYER OF ALL TIME. I MEAN, BECAUSE ...
I'D SAY JACK, WHEN HE CAME ALONG, IT WAS PRETTY MUCH THE SAME THING AS TIGER'S DOING NOW. HE HIT IT 20, 30 YARDS FURTHER THAN EVERYBODY ELSE, AND HE WAS STRAIGHT. AND THAT JUST GAVE HIM A HUGE ADVANTAGE.
YOU PLAYED WITH JACK THE FIRST TWO ROUNDS OF THE '94 BRITISH OPEN, A CHAMPIONSHIP YOU COULD'VE WON. YOU PLAYED GREAT THE FIRST TWO DAYS.
DID YOU PAY - WERE YOU ABLE TO PAY SOME ATTENTION TO WHAT HE WAS UP TO AND ABSORB ANYTHING THAT HAS STAYED WITH YOU?
WELL UM, BACK THEN, I MEAN, I WAS A YOUNG KID. IT WAS MY SECOND BRITISH OPEN, SECOND MAJOR EVER. SO, I MEAN, I WAS JUST NERVOUS, YOU KNOW, REAL NERVOUS ON THAT FIRST TEE PLAYING WITH JACK NICKLAUS.
AND I JUST TRIED TO KIND OF STAY OUT OF HIS WAY ACTUALLY THE FIRST TWO ROUNDS. I JUST HAPPENED TO PLAY GREAT.
AND UH, YOU KNOW, THE NEXT TWO ROUNDS I GET DRAWN BY - WITH TOM WATSON. SO IT WAS AN AMAZING WEEK FOR ME.
WHAT DID YOU PICK UP FROM THE TWO OF THEM?
UH, I - WHAT I WAS REALLY IMPRESSED BY, BY JACK, WAS HOW SUPPORTIVE HE WAS WHEN HE SAW THAT ... YOU KNOW, HE WAS STRUGGLING WITH HIS GAME. AND HE WAS ON THE VERGE OF 'IF HE WAS GONNA MAKE THE CUT OR NOT.'
WHEN SAW THAT HE CAN NOT - DID NOT HAVE THE GAME THAT WIN - WEEK TO WIN, HE WAS SO SUPPORTIVE OF ME AND MY GAME. I MEAN, HE WAS CHEERING ME ON, EVERY SHOT I HIT, EVERY PUTT I HIT. SO THAT MADE ME JUST FEEL REALLY, REALLY GOOD.
WHY DON'T WE SEE WHAT JOHN IN NEW JERSEY WANTS TO KICK AROUND TONIGHT. HOW ARE YOU, JOHN?
JOHN, CALLER FROM NEW JERSEY (MALE):
HI. GOOD EVENING, GENTLEMEN. HOW ARE YOU?
VERY WELL. AND YOU SIR?
JOHN, CALLER FROM NEW JERSEY (MALE):
UH, PRETTY GOOD ...
JOHN, CALLER FROM NEW JERSEY (MALE):
PRETTY GOOD. GETTING WARMER HERE IN NEW JERSEY.
YOU'LL BE PLAYING SOON.
JOHN, CALLER FROM NEW JERSEY (MALE):
VERY SOON WE HOPE. UH ...
JOHN, CALLER FROM NEW JERSEY (MALE):
UH JESPER, UH, EVEN THOUGH YOU DIDN'T WIN UH THIS PAST WEEKEND IN THE MATCH PLAY FORMAT, UM, I WAS WONDERING UH IF YOU ENJOYED THAT? AND UH, HOW DO YOU LIKE THAT AS THE FORMAT UH FOR THE PROS?
AND UH, JUST A COMMENT: UH, I'M A BIG USER OF LIFIZZ, LOVE IT, AND UH, DIDN'T GET SICK THIS WINTER AT ALL.
YEAH, LIFE IS GREAT. UH, WELL, THE MATCH PLAY EVENT, I THINK A LOT OF THE PROS LOVE THAT KIND OF GOLF BECAUSE IT'S UH VERY SIMILAR TO WHEN YOU'RE WALKING DOWN THE LAST NINE HOLES
WITH A CHANCE TO WIN A TOURNAMENT. AND THERE'S USUALLY ONE OR TWO GUYS THAT COULD WIN THE TOURNAMENT. AND YOU PRETTY MUCH FOCUS IN ON THOSE GUYS.
SO THAT'S A SIMILAR MATCH PLAY UH, SCENARIO THAT YOU HAVE, LIKE LAST WEEK. AND IT'S VERY DIFFERENT FROM UH STROKE PLAY BECAUSE YOU - YOU HAVE TO KNOW WHEN TO BE VERY AGGRESSIVE, WHEN TO HOLD A BACK A LITTLE BIT.
AND UM, YOU KNOW, LIKE WE SAID BEFORE, WHEN YOU HAVE THE TOP 64 PLAYERS IN THE WORLD, LIKE YOU HAD LAST WEEK, ANYONE CAN PRETTY MUCH BEAT ANYONE OVER 18 HOLES MATCH PLAY.
AND UH, THAT'S WHY IT'S SO IMPRESSIVE TO SEE GUYS LIKE DARREN CLARKE BEATING DAVID DUVAL AND TIGER WOODS, TWO DAYS IN A ROW.
LET'S SEE WHAT LARRY WANTS TO KICK AROUND. HOW ARE YOU TONIGHT, LARRY?
LARRY, CALLER FROM OHIO (MALE):
OH, PRETTY GOOD. UH, GOT A QUESTION, UH, I SAW JESPER HITTING THE HEAVY BAG ON HIS LIFIZZ COMMERCIAL. HOW OFTEN DO YOU DO THAT DURING YOUR - THE GOLF SEASON? AND HOW COULD A WEEKEND GOLFER WORK THAT INTO HIS TRAINING PROGRAM?
UH, IN THE - ACTUALLY, THE ACTUAL BOXING TRAINING, I STARTED ABOUT 2 YEARS AGO WITH A FRIEND OF MINE FROM SWEDEN WHO ... WHO WAS A BOXER. HE CAME OVER UH TO THE UNITED STATES FOR A FEW WEEKS AND SHOWED ME A LITTLE BIT HOW TO HIT THE BAG AND SO ON.
AND UH, BUT LIKE I SAID EARLIER, A LOT OF THE GUYS ARE WORKING OUT REGULARLY NOW ON TOUR. I MEAN, I KNOW DUVAL, HE WORKS OUT BOTH MORNING AND AFTERNOON EVERYDAY.
SAME THING WITH TIGER, I MEAN, IF YOU SEE TIGER LEADING THE TOURNAMENT, HE HAS - LIKE TWO HOURS TO GO, HE'S - HE'S GOING TO BE IN THE GYM THE SAME MORNING.
AND IT JUST MAKES YOU UM ... WHEN YOU WORK OUT IN THE MORNING AND YOU GO TO THE FIRST TEE, YOU DON'T ... YOU KNOW, YOU DON'T EVEN HAVE TO WARM UP. I MEAN, YOU - YOU PRETTY MUCH UM, ARE LOOSE. YOU CAN UM ...
YOU FEEL STRONG JUST KNOWING THAT YOU WORKED OUT THAT MORNING.
WHEN WE COME BACK, I THINK WE'RE GOING TO TALK WITH YOUR FRIEND, LPGA TOUR WINNER, CATRIN NILSMARK ...
IN JUST A SECOND.
Top-ranked amateur Niemann one back at LAAC in Chile
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).
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.
McIlroy gets back on track
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.
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.
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.