Golf Talk Live - John Daly Transcript Segment 4
(IN VIDEO CLIP)
I HIT A CUT! I HIT A CUT! YEAH!
WELCOME BACK. IS YOUR SWING HOMEMADE? DID YOU COME UP WITH THIS ALL BY YOURSELF?
(CHUCKLE) UH, IT WAS A NATURAL THING THAT JUST HAPPENED. UM, WHEN I WAS REAL LITTLE, I - I DIDN'T REALLY WANT TO SWING A LITTLE CLUB SO I SWUNG MY DAD'S.
AND, YOU KNOW, I WAS 4 WHEN I STARTED. AND I'D TAKE IT BACK AND LITERALLY THE CLUB WOULD ALMOST HIT THE GROUND. AND I JUST KEPT USING THOSE. MY DAD DID CUT OFF A 4-IRON AND A 7-IRON, BUT I NEVER REALLY WANTED TO PLAY WITH THEM.
UH, I ALWAYS WANTED TO USE HIS STUFF.
WHAT ARE YOUR SWING KEYS? MAKE A COUPLE OF SWINGS FOR US AND TELL US . TELL US WHAT GOES ON IN YOUR SWING. AND DEFINITELY DON'T HIT A DRIVER IN HERE AGAINST A GOLF BALL.
WELL, MY . MY BIGGEST UM. WHAT I ALWAYS TRY AND DO IS - IS TAKE THE CLUB LOW AND SLOW. THAT'S - THAT'S MY BIGGEST KEY WHEN I HIT THE DRIVER .
JUST . KIND OF JUST TAKE IT . YOU KNOW, I DON'T TRY AND PICK THE CLUB UP. I JUST TAKE IT BACK LOW AND SLOW. AND I DON'T KNOW HOW . I DON'T KNOW WHAT IT IS, BUT I'M VERY UM .
WHAT DO YOU CALL IT? LOOSE, I'M ALWAYS LOOSE. AND I'VE NEVER HAD A BACK ACHE OR ANY PROBLEMS WITH MY BONES OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT. SO IT'S ALWAYS BEEN REAL EASY FOR MY TO JUST TURN AND - AND GET THE CLUB BACK WITHOUT PRETTY MUCH ANYTHING BREAKING DOWN.
THE ONLY PROBLEM I EVER GET IS I'LL GET - WHEN I GET TOO QUICK, MY RIGHT KNEE COMES OUT AND THE BALL'S GOING EVERYWHERE. BUT UH . NO, I JUST UM .
IT'S MORE OR LESS SOMETHING THAT JUST KIND OF HAPPENED NATURALLY GROWING UP, THE SWING BEING THAT LONG. AND UH, THE TIMING'S ALWAYS BEEN PRETTY GOOD.
WHEN WE SEE YOU HIT A MIDDLE IRON, FOR EXAMPLE, IT STILL SEEMS LIKE YOU'RE TAKING AS BIG A SWING. BUT YOU'VE GOT TO BE ABLE TO HIT PARTIAL SHOTS AND KNOCK-DOWN SHOTS TO BE THE KIND OF PLAYER YOU'VE BEEN.
WHAT DO YOU DO TO SWINGS TO THROTTLE IT DOWN A LITTLE BIT SO THAT YOU GET THE DISTANCE CONTROL RIGHT?
WELL, I'VE ALWAYS HAD TO CHOKE DOWN ON . PRETTY MUCH IF I HIT LIKE A . SAY, A - A . A SHORT - LET'S SAY LIKE A KNOCK-DOWN SHOT WITH A 7-IRON, I WOULD - I HAVE TO CHOKE DOWN. AND THAT'S - AND I DON'T CHANGE ANY SWING THOUGHTS.
I MEAN, I'M STILL - THE CLUB'S STILL GONNA GET WAY BACK THERE. BUT UM, I ALWAYS LIKE TO GRIP MY LEFT HAD A LITTLE TIGHTER WHEN I HIT KNOCK-DOWN SHOTS.
AND - AND THAT GETS ME KIND OF GOING THROUGH THE BALL BETTER. BUT THAT'S ABOUT THE ONLY KEYS I HAVE ON A . ON A KNOCK-DOWN SHOT.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT RHYTHM AND TEMPO AND STAYING IN A KIND OF A RHYTHM THAT WILL WORK THROUGHOUT THE DAY AS OPPOSED TO CONSTANTLY 'GRIP IT AND RIP IT'?
WELL FOR ME, MY TIMING IS - IS THE IMPORTANT THING 'CAUSE MY SWING'S SO LONG. AND UM, IT'S BASICALLY THE ONLY WAY THAT I CAN UM .
YOU CAN HIT A SHOT FOR US WITH THAT CLUB.
YOU SURE? (LAUGH)
YEAH, AS LONG AS YOU'RE AIMING AT THE NET.
AND YOU DON'T SHANK IT.
WELL . I . I . MY TIMING GETS OFF - WHEN MY TIMING'S OFF, IT'S BAD. I MEAN, THAT'S . ANYBODY THAT HAS A LONG SWING, IF . IF YOUR TIMING'S OFF, IT - IT CAN GO ANYWHERE, ESPECIALLY IF YOU HIT IT SOMEWHAT FAR.
IT'S GREAT WHEN IT GOES DOWN THE MIDDLE OF THE FAIRWAY. BUT MAN, WHEN I MISS SOME TEE SHOTS, THEY CAN GO ANYWHERE. AND THAT'S ALL TIMING AND RHYTHM. AND .
ALL I DO IS I'VE ALWAYS JUST THOUGHT ABOUT JUST TAKING IT BACK LOW AND SLOW. AND . (HITS GOLF BALL)
JUST KIND OF HIT IT AS HARD AS YOU CAN IF YOU WANT AND . AND I ALWAYS TRY AND GET TO MY LEFT SIDE. BUT I DON'T HAVE ANY MAJOR MECHANICAL SWING THOUGHTS. I'D GO CRAZY IF I TRY TO DO THAT.
PULL OUT A - A WEDGE AND TELL US WHAT SOME OF THE THOUGHTS THAT YOU HAVE WITH THAT ARE. PEOPLE DON'T APPRECIATE, I THINK, GENERALLY, WHAT A GOOD SHORT GAME PLAYER YOU'VE BEEN AND HOW MUCH THAT'S CONTRIBUTED TO YOUR SUCCESS.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON HITTING WEDGE SHOTS?
UH, I - I'M - ALWAYS BEEN A FLOP . PRETTY MUCH A UM, A LOFTED UH . A FLOP SHOT IS ALL I SEEMED TO LIKE TO HIT. AND YOU'LL SEE A LOT OF GUYS ON TOUR,
THEY'LL . LIKE AROUND THE FRINGE, THEY'LL HIT 7-IRONS AND 5-IRONS. AND SOMETIMES YOU SEE A LOT OF PLAYERS NOW TAKE THE 3-WOOD AND SORT OF PUTT IT.
BUT I JUST GREW UP UH HITTING L-WEDGES AND SAND WEDGES PRETTY MUCH AROUND THE GREENS. AND THE THING I'VE ALWAYS DONE IS I'VE ALWAYS . WHEN THINGS - WHEN I'M NOT CHIPPING VERY GOOD, I'VE ALWAYS JUST .
I'D GET ON THE RANGE AND JUST SIT HERE AND . (HITS THE BALL) JUST KIND OF HIT ONE-HANDED SHOTS.
UM, I'VE ALWAYS . ONE THING ABOUT CHIPPING OR HITTING SHOTS IS THIS SHOULDN'T BREAK DOWN. YOUR LEFT SIDE SHOULDN'T BREAK DOWN . IN MY CASE ANYWAY. AND THAT'S PRETTY MUCH IT ON THE CHIP SHOTS AND STUFF.
WHEN YOU FIND YOURSELF WORKING INTO CONTENTION, WHICH YOU HAVEN'T BEEN IN AS OFTEN AS YOU'D LIKE THE LAST FEW YEARS, DO YOU .
FOREVER (LAUGH) .
IT'S BEEN FOREVER.
(CHUCKLE) DO YOU FIND YOURSELF GETTING NERVOUS WHERE YOU WEREN'T NERVOUS BEFORE? AND WHAT HAPPENS OVER THE GOLF BALL IF, IN FACT, THERE ARE NERVES THAT PLAY THAT YOU'RE NOT GENERALLY ACCUSTOMED TO?
WELL, IT'S BEEN A LONG TIME SINCE I HAVE BEEN IN CONTENTION, BUT WHEN YOU ARE, YOU REALLY DON'T THINK ABOUT THAT. I'VE ALWAYS THOUGHT IF I'M IN - IF I'M PLAYING REALLY WELL, YOU DON'T - I REALLY DON'T THINK ABOUT ANYTHING.
UM, I JUST KIND OF GO WITH THE FLOW 'CAUSE EVERYTHING'S WORKING SO GOOD. UM, YEAH, THE NERVES ARE THERE AND EVERYTHING, BUT I JUST SAY THERE, 'YOU'VE BEEN SWINGING GREAT FOR 3 DAYS. YOU KNOW, JUST KEEP DOING WHAT YOU'RE DOING.'
AND UM, THAT'S BEEN SO LONG SINCE THAT'S HAPPENED. AT THE BRITISH OPEN UH WHEN I WON, IT WAS JUST EVERYTHING WAS CLICKING. I WAS HITTING THE DRIVER PERFECT.
UH, YOU DIDN'T HAVE TO MAKE A TON OF BIRDIES. YOU DIDN'T HAVE TO MAKE A TON OF PUTTS, THE WAY THE WIND WAS BLOWING. SO IT WASN'T WHERE I WAS ATTACKING THE PINS. AND I COULD JUST, YOU KNOW, HIT .
I'D - SOMETIMES AT ST. ANDREWS YOU ALMOST WANT A 30-FOOTER INSTEAD OF A 10-FOOTER, DEPENDING ON THE WAY THE WIND'S BLOWING AND STUFF. BUT UH, THAT'S THE THING I REMEMBER ABOUT BEING IN CONTENTION, PETER.
IT'S BEEN SO LONG. BUT UH, I JUST KIND OF GO WITH THE FLOW AND JUST THINK ABOUT 'HEY, YOU - YOU KNOW, YOU DID THIS ON THURSDAY. YOU DID THIS ON FRIDAY. YOU'RE SWINGING GOOD ' . AND DON'T - DON'T THINK TOO MUCH .
FOR ME, WHEN I'M IN CONTENTION BECAUSE THEN I'LL GO CRAZY. I'LL GET NEGATIVE AND START THINKING TOO MUCH AND HITTING BAD SHOTS.
WHEN YOU PUTT, IT SEEMS LIKE - EVEN WHEN YOU'RE PUTTING WELL, YOU PUTT VERY QUICKLY, ALMOST AS IF YOU'RE ROUTINE IS 'LOOK, TRUST, GO.' IS THAT A FAIR WAY TO ASSESS THE WAY THAT .
YOU LOOK AT THAT PART OF YOUR GAME?
PRETTY MUCH . PRETTY MUCH. AND LATELY, IT'S BEEN 'LOOK, DON'T TRUST, HIT IT.' (BOTH LAUGH)
I MEAN . BUT UH, YEAH, I'M - I'M A - I'VE ALWAYS BEEN A VERY QUICK PUTTER. UH, I'M TRYING TO SLOW DOWN, UM, BY JUST TRYING TO WALK AND LOOK AT THE . I USED TO NEVER GO BEHIND THE HOLE AND LOOK AT THE PUTT AND THE BREAK. UH .
IT'S KIND OF - IT'S STARTING TO HELP ME ON SHORTER PUTTS. I'VE ALWAYS BEEN A GUY THAT, IF I SEE THAT LINE, IT'S HARD FOR ME TO CHANGE MY MIND. AND I SEE IT SO FAST THAT, YOU KNOW, I HAVE TO .
WELL, NOW I'M JUST TRYING TO SAY 'WAIT A MINUTE. LET'S JUST GO AROUND THE HOLE AND SEE IF IT MIGHT DO ANYTHING.' AND YOU KNOW, BERMUDA GREENS HAVE BEEN, UM, VERY TOUGH 'CAUSE OF THE GRAIN AND STUFF.
SO I REALLY NEVER HAVE PAID ATTENTION TO THAT UNTIL I GOT ON TOUR. AND SO NOW I JUST TRY AND TAKE A LITTLE BIT MORE TIME WHEN I PUTT. ALTHOUGH YESTERDAY, THAT PROBABLY WAS ONE OF MY FASTER PUTTING ROUNDS I'VE EVER PUTTED IN MY LIFE. BUT UM .
JUST SORT OF LIKE THAT, JUST . IT'S - IT'S HARD FOR ME SLOW DOWN, WHETHER I'M PLAYING GOOD OR BAD. I HAVE A VERY, VERY TOUGH TIME SLOWING DOWN. AND WHEN I'M ON, IT'S GREAT. PLAY AS FAST AS YOU WANT WHEN YOU'RE PLAYING GOOD.
BUT . IT'S LIKE RONNY HAS TALKED TO ME ABOUT WHEN YOU'RE NOT PLAYING SO GOOD, SET LITTLE GOALS FOR YOURSELF OR SOMETHING. YOU KNOW, SAY YOU WANT TO PLAY THESE 4 OR 5 HOLES IN EVEN PAR OR 1-UNDER AND JUST ...
THAT'S SOMETHING THAT'S NEVER CLICKED IN MY MIND, UH, WHEN IT'S NOT GOING GOOD. JUST SIT THERE AND THINK ABOUT THIS HOLE, TRY AND SET A GOAL OVER THE NEXT 4 OR 5 HOLES AT PLAYING 1-UNDER.
AND THAT'S SOMETHING THAT I REALLY NEED TO START WORKING ON.
YOU KNOW, BOBBY JONES, WHO ALSO WON THE BRITISH OPEN AT ST. ANDREWS SAID HE COULDN'T SEE MORE IN 5 MINUTES LOOKING OVER THE LINE OF A PUTT THAN HE COULD SEE IN 5 SECONDS. AND HE WOULD TRUST THAT 5 SECONDS. SO .
JONES AND DALY, SAME KIND OF ROUTINE. WE'LL BE BACK IN JUST A MOMENT. AND AS WE LEAVE YOU, WE'LL TAKE A LOOK AT A DRIVE FROM BIG JOHN FROM THE '95 BELLSOUTH ON THE 14TH HOLE, PAR-4. REMEMBER THIS SHOT, JOHN?
YEAH, I DO.
UH, IT WAS UH, ABOUT 340 YARDS, LIKE YOU SAID. AND UH, IT WAS JUST ONE OF THOSE GOOD SHOTS. I MEAN, I JUST CRUSHED IT AND I GOT A GOOD KICK THERE. AND UM .
YOU KNOW, IT WOULD'VE BEEN COOL IF I'D HAVE MADE THE PUTT. I KIND OF PUSHED IT RIGHT. BUT UH, I MISS THAT GOLF COURSE. YOU KNOW, I MISS THE BELLSOUTH BEING PLAYED THERE.
WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK WITH BIG JOHN DALY.
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.
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.