Golf Talk Live - Karrie Webb Transcript Segment 2
ARE YOU GETTING MORE COMFORTABLE WITH THIS WHOLE IDEA THAT THEY WANT YOU TO BE MORE OF A SALES AND MARKETING PERSON IN ADDITION TO BEING THE BEST PLAYER ON THE TOUR?
UM, WELL I THINK UH, YOU KNOW, BEING ONE OF THE TOP PLAYERS ON THE TOUR, YOU KNOW, THAT IS ONE OF THE RESPONSIBILITIES. AND UH, JUST LIKE DEALING WITH THE MEDIA, IT'S UM DEFINITELY BEEN ANOTHER LEARNING EXPERIENCE FOR ME.
AND UM, YOU KNOW, I THINK I - I GET MORE AND MORE COMFORTABLE WITH IT, THE - THE MORE I DO COMMERCIALS LIKE I DID WITH UH, WITH ANNIKA A COUPLE YEARS AGO.
DO FEEL LIKE YOU GOT UNFAIRLY SINGLED OUT ABOUT THIS? I MEAN, NOBODY EVER SAID ABOUT NICK FALDO, YOU KNOW, 'IF HE ONLY HAD A PERSONALITY, WE WOULD BE MORE INTERESTED IN HIM.' WE WERE INTERESTED IN HIM BECAUSE OF THE QUALITY OF HIS GOLF.
WHEN JACK FIRST CAME OUT, WE DIDN'T KNOW IF HE DID OR DID NOT HAVE A PERSONALITY. WE KNEW ARNOLD HAD ONE, BUT NOBODY SAID ANYTHING. AND NOBODY EVER DEMANDED THAT OF BEN HOGAN.
IS IT REASONABLE FOR THEM TO DEMAND OF YOU TO PUT ON A FACE THAT YOU'RE PROBABLY NOT GONNA BE COMFORTABLE PUTTING ON?
UM, I THINK UH . YOU KNOW UH, WHAT'S BEING ASKED OF ME IS DEFINITELY NOT MY PERSONALITY. I THINK UM, I THINK PEOPLE THAT KNOW ME OFF THE GOLF COURSE KNOW THAT I DO HAVE A GOOD - GOOD PERSONALITY, A GOOD SENSE OF HUMOR, AND I'M - I'M PRETTY LAID BACK.
BUT, YOU KNOW, ON THE GOLF COURSE UM, YOU KNOW, THE FACES THAT YOU SEE OUT THERE, THAT'S JUST THE WAY I KNOW HOW TO GET THE JOB DONE. AND UM, MY FIRST REACTION SOMETIMES WHEN I MAKE A PUTT FOR BIRDIE IS NOT NECESSARILY A BIG CHEESY SMILE.
IT'S 'YES', YOU KNOW, 'GOOD', YOU KNOW, 'I MADE A BIRDIE. LET'S GO TO THE NEXT HOLE'. AND I'M ALREADY THINKING ABOUT THE NEXT HOLE. UM, AND YOU KNOW UM,
HONESTLY, IN THE LAST YEAR UM, IT'S ALWAYS IN THE BACK OF MY MIND. UM, ONCE I MAKE A PUTT, YOU KNOW UH, YOU KNOW, I'VE GOT TO - GOT TO SMILE, GOT TO SHOW SOME REACTION. AND FOR A WHILE THERE, IT - IT DID - IT DID BOTHER ME A LITTLE BIT.
BUT UM, YOU KNOW, I - I'M JUST GONNA BE MYSELF. AND UH, YOU KNOW UH, ON THE GOLF COURSE I MIGHT NOT BE UM, I MIGHT NOT HAVE THE - THE BIGGEST SMILE ON MY FACE, BUT I'M - I'M ENJOYING MYSELF OUT THERE. AND IF I'M HOLDING THE TROPHY UP ON SUNDAY, YOU'LL SEE A BIG SMILE.
AND DON'T YOU RUN THE RISK, IF YOU EVEN THINK ABOUT CHANGING YOUR GAME FACE, THEN DON'T YOU, IN EFFECT, CHANGE YOUR GAME AS WELL, AND PROBABLY NOT FOR THE BETTER?
YEAH, I THINK SO. I THINK UM, YOU KNOW, AS I SAID, I THINK UM, THIS IS THE WAY I GOT THE JOB DONE. AND I THINK IF THINGS WEREN'T GOING TOO WELL FOR ME, I'D THINK ABOUT CHANGING IT.
BUT, YOU KNOW UH, THESE PAST FOUR YEARS - FOUR YEARS HAVE BEEN PRETTY GOOD TO ME. SO UH, I THINK I'M GONNA STICK WITH THE WAY THINGS ARE GOING.
LET'S CHECK IN WITH DEBBIE FROM MICHIGAN AND SEE WHAT SHE WANTS TO ASK YOU. GO AHEAD, DEBBIE.
DEBBIE, CALLER FROM MICHIGAN
HI KARRIE. I HAVE TWO QUESTIONS FOR YOU.
DEBBIE, CALLER FROM MICHIGAN
UH, THE FIRST ONE IS: WHEN YOU GO THROUGH YOUR PRE-SHOT ROUTINE, YOU HAVE UM, SORT OF LIKE UH . WHEN YOU'RE UP TO THE BALL, YOU SORT OF HAVE A HITCH IN YOUR UM, SWING, YOUR BACKSWING,
AND THEN YOU COME FORWARD AND YOU STOP, THEN YOU, YOU KNOW, YOU GO INTO YOUR SWING. DOES THAT SORT OF RELAX YOU?
UH, DEBBIE, WHAT THAT - THAT STARTED OFF AS WAS UH, MY COACH AND I, UM KELVIN HALLER, BACK UH IN AYR, UH, WHEN I WAS A TEENAGER UM, I - I HAD TROUBLE WITH MY TAKEAWAY.
AND I STILL DO, UH THAT'S WHY I STILL DO IT. BUT UM, YOU KNOW, I WANTED TO GET MY TAKEAWAY BACK ON THE RIGHT PATH. AND UH, AND THAT WAS JUST SOMETHING HITTING BALLS EVERY DAY AND - AND DOING THAT BEFORE I HIT WAS SOMETHING THAT
DEVELOPED INTO WHAT NOW IS PRETTY MUCH A - A SWING TRIGGER. UM, I PRETTY MUCH CAN'T STAND UP TO A BALL ON ANY SHOT AND - AND NOT DO THAT WITHOUT FEELING REALLY UNCOMFORTABLE.
DEBBIE, CALLER FROM MICHIGAN
OKAY. AND ALSO UM, HOW WELL DO YOU GET ALONG WITH ANNIKA? I SEE THAT COMMERCIAL ALL THE TIME AND, YOU KNOW, IT'S A COMMERCIAL AND EVERYTHING LIKE THAT.
BUT, YOU KNOW, DO YOU REALLY GET ALONG WITH UH, ANNIKA AND MOST OF THE OTHER WOMEN?
OH UM, I THINK UH, I DO GET ALONG WITH ANNIKA. I HAVE THE UTMOST RESPECT FOR HER GAME AND - AND THE PERSON THAT SHE IS. UM, I CAN'T HONESTLY SAY THAT WE DO A LOT OFF THE GOLF COURSE TOGETHER BUT UM, I DO ENJOY GETTING PAIRED WITH HER
JUST BECAUSE OF THE COMPETITOR SHE IS AND - AND THE PERSON SHE IS. UM, I KNOW WHEN I GO OUT THERE AND - AND PLAY HEAD TO HEAD WITH HER THAT I'M GONNA HAVE TO PLAY THE BEST GOLF THAT - THAT I KNOW HOW TO PLAY.
A LOT OF THE GUYS ON THE MEN'S TOUR WILL SAY TO OTHER PLAYERS ON THE TOUR, 'STOP SAYING SUCH GREAT THINGS ABOUT TIGER. STOP SAYING THAT AFTER THE FIRST ROUND WITH HIM IN GOOD SHAPE THAT THE TOURNAMENT'S OVER AND HE'S GOING TO WIN.'
HOW - HOW DOES IT WORK ON THE LPGA TOUR WITH THE FACT THAT YOU'RE CLEARLY DOMINATING, YOU'VE BEEN THE MOST CONSISTENT PLAYER, YOU SEEM TO BE DOING EVERYTHING BETTER THAN EVERYBODY ELSE FROM TEE THROUGH GREEN,
WHAT'S THE SENSE YOU GET FROM THE OTHER PLAYERS ABOUT HOW DOMINANT YOU ARE AND HOW CAREFUL THEY MIGHT BE ABOUT TELLING YOU WHAT THEY THINK OF YOUR GAME?
(CHUCKLE) WELL, I THINK UM, CAREFUL UH IS THE WORD. I THINK, UH . I DON'T - I GUESS I JUST DON'T GET INVOLVED IN THOSE CONVERSATIONS WITH PEOPLE. UM, YOU KNOW, I KNOW THAT UM, MOST OF THE GIRLS, PROBABLY ALL THE GIRLS, HAVE A LOT OF RESPECT UM FOR MY GAME OUT THERE.
AND UM, YOU KNOW, I THINK THAT'S - THAT'S ALWAYS A GREAT FEELING THAT UM, PEOPLE HAVE RESPECT FOR - FOR YOUR GAME. THEY KNOW YOU CAN PLAY WELL AND ARE PLAYING WELL.
AND UH, YOU KNOW, I JUST - I DON'T THINK I'VE EVER REALLY UM, YOU KNOW, SAT AND TALKED TO THEM OR . I - I TEND TO BE PRETTY SHY WHEN I GET COMPLIMENTS SO I'D RATHER TEND TO - TO UM,
HEAR THEM BUT NOT HAVE ANY RESPONSE TO THEM. I MEAN, I DO APPRECIATE THEM BUT UM, YOU KNOW, I - I THINK UH, YOU KNOW, YOU CAN GET TOO FULL OF YOURSELF A LITTLE - SOME - SOMETIMES. ESPECIALLY WITH THIS GAME, IT CAN CREEP UP ON YOU. AND THE MORE YOU THINK THAT YOU NEED TO IMPROVE UH, THE BETTER YOU ARE.
WELL, IF YOU START TO THINK THAT YOU'RE TOO GREAT, YOU JUST HANG OUT WITH YOUR FRIENDS AND THEY BRING YOU RIGHT BACK DOWN TO EARTH, RIGHT?
WE'LL TAKE A LITTLE BREAK. WE'LL COME BACK AND WE'LL TAKE A LOOK AT THAT GOLF SWING AND THAT PUTTING STROKE IN JUST A MOMENT.
(KARRIE ON THE COVER OF LPGA MEDIA GUIDE 2000 SHOWN)
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.