Golf Talk Live - Lanny Wadkins Transcript Segment 2
SO WHEN YOU DECIDED NOT TO GO TO WAKE FOREST FOR YOUR FINAL YEAR AND TURNED PRO, ARNIE TURNED OUT TO BE UNHAPPY FOR A COUPLE OF REASONS, RIGHT?
WELL, I WAS ON HIS SCHOLARSHIP AT WAKE. AND UH, I'M SURE HE WOULD LIKED TO HAVE SEEN ME COMPLETE UH MY EDUCATION AT WAKE FOREST. BUT UH,
I HAD SPENT A LOT OF MONEY, WAS IN DEBT FROM PLAYING AMATEUR GOLF. AND UH, I'D GOTTEN MARRIED IN COLLEGE. AND UH . YOU KNOW, WHEN YOU'RE IN DEBT AND MARRIED,
YOU - YOU BETTER GO FIND A WAY TO GO MAKE SOME MONEY. AND THE ONLY WAY I KNEW AT THAT POINT IN TIME WAS PLAYING GOLF SO I - I TURNED PRO. AND IN MY FIRST YEAR ON TOUR UH, I ACTUALLY WON THE SAHARA INVITATIONAL
IN VEGAS AND UH, BEAT ARNOLD BY A SHOT. SO UH .
THAT WAS THE SECOND REASON.
THAT WAS PROBABLY THE SECOND REASON, YEAH.
IN THOSE DAYS, YOU KNOW, ARNIE HAD A REPUTATION OF NOT DRIVING IT VERY STRAIGHT. BUT THE REALITY IS HE MAY HAVE BEEN AS STRAIGHT AND AS LONG A DRIVER AS WAS ON THE TOUR IN THAT DECADE.
YEAH, AND HE HAD A GREAT BALL FLIGHT. I - I LOVED HIS BALL FLIGHT. I'D LIKE TO EMULATE HIS BALL FLIGHT `CAUSE IT WAS A DRIVING FLIGHT. IT WAS IN TURNED OVER. I FELT LIKE IT'D WORK IN ANY CONDITIONS.
I THINK - I'VE ALWAYS FELT THE BEST DRIVERS DIDN'T DRIVE IT UP IN THE AIR. THEY DROVE IT, YOU KNOW, ON A LINE, JUST STAYED UNDER CONTROL. UH, IT WORKS IN WIND. IT WORKS ON WET COURSES. IT WORKS ON DRY COURSES.
AND UH, IT JUST FINDS ITS WAY IN PLAY. I JUST THINK THAT THE MORE THE BALL IS ON THE LINE, THE LESS IT'S GONNA CURVE, AND THUS, IT'S GONNA HIT MORE FAIRWAYS.
WHAT WAS THE SHAPE OF THE SHOT THAT YOUR IDOL, SAM SNEAD, USED TO HIT OFF THE TEE?
HMM, JUST WHATEVER HE WANTED. I MEAN, SAM'S PROBABLY THE MOST UH AMAZING TALENT I'VE EVER SEEN WITH A GOLF CLUB. I - I COULD JUST WATCH HIM PLAY FOREVER. AND UM .
GROWING UP IN VIRGINIA, HE WAS ALWAYS MY IDOL. I JUST PULLED FOR HIM EVERY TOURNAMENT HE PLAYED IN. AND UH, THE CHANCE TO PLAY WITH HIM - I MEAN, I PLAYED WITH SAM ON TOUR.
I MEAN, THAT'S .. YOU KNOW, HOW LONG HE PLAYED AND HOW EFFECTIVE HE WAS STILL PLAYING. UH, I PLAYED WITH HIM. UH, ONE OF THE NEATEST THINGS IS THE '73 U.S. OPEN THAT JOHNNY MILLER WON.
I THINK I FINISHED SIXTH UH . THE FIRST ROUND I WAS ACTUALLY PAIRED WITH UH BEN CRENSHAW AND SAM SNEAD. SO SAM HAD THOSE, YOU KNOW, 2 'FLIPPY WRISTED' COLLEGE KIDS SO IT WAS KIND OF FUN.
WHAT'D SAM SAY TO YOU THE DAY THAT YOU PLAYED WITH GAY BREWER, THE 2 OF YOU IN THE CBS GOLF CLASSIC? AND IF I REMEMBER, YOU SHOT 63. SAM SHOT 66. AND YOU WON 17 OF THE 18 SKINS?
17 SKINS, YEAH, SAM WON ONE AND HE SAID . AND 18, I . I THINK I MADE A - A BIRDIE AT FIRESTONE TO WIN ABOUT THE LAST 4 SKINS. AND HE JUST CALLED ME A 'FLIPPY WRISTED' COLLEGE KID, YOU KNOW. SO IT WAS . IT WAS KIND OF NEAT. BUT UH .
I JUST LOVE PLAYING WITH SAM. HE WAS . WE'VE ALWAYS GOTTEN ALONG GREAT UH . SAME KIND OF - WE LOVE THE SAME JOKES, SAME SENSE OF HUMOR AND UH, MAYBE IT'S THE VIRGINIA UPBRINGING, WHO KNOWS.
BUT WE UH . UH, WE JUST ENJOY EACH OTHER'S COMPANY, ENJOY PLAYING.
LOOKING BACK AT JOHNNY MILLER, YOU MENTIONED HIM IN THE . WINNING THE '73 OPEN, OF COURSE, WITH THAT FINAL ROUND 63. TELL US ABOUT THE QUALITY OF HIS IRON PLAY WHEN HE WAS AT HIS BEST.
WELL, IT WAS THE BEST I'VE SEEN. I THINK JOHNNY, FOR A PERIOD OF YEARS, HE WAS PROBABLY THE BEST BALL STRIKER I EVER SAW. UH .
I MEAN, I NEVER THOUGHT JOHNNY WAS A PARTICULARLY GOOD PUTTER. I MEAN, HE MADE PUTTS BUT HE HAD . HE JUST HIT IT SO MUCH CLOSER THAN EVERYBODY ELSE. HE DIDN'T - HE NEVER REALLY HAD TO PUTT GOOD.
AND I THINK THAT'S ONE THING THAT'S HAPPENED, YOU KNOW, TO HIS PUTTING THESE DAYS. HE, YOU KNOW, HE - HE NEVER REALLY HAD A GOOD STROKE. HE NEVER HAD TO HAVE A GOOD STROKE UH BECAUSE HE HIT IT SO WELL.
AND UM, AND HE WOULD OBVIOUSLY GET IN STREAKS WHERE HE COULD MAKE A LOT OF PUTTS. BUT, I MEAN UH, `THEY WEREN'T VERY LONG.' (CHUCKLE)
WHAT WAS IT ABOUT HIS SWING OR HIS ACTION THAT YOU THINK MADE HIM SO EFFECTIVE AT THE TIME?
I THINK HE JUST SET THE CLUB SO WELL AT THE TOP. AND UH, IT WAS . HE HAD A WEAK GRIP, WEAK LEFT-HAND GRIP, AND JUST RELEASED THE HECK OUT OF IT.
BUT IT WAS RELEASING DOWN THE LINE. SO UH, HE JUST KEPT THE CLUB ON LINE FOR AS LONG AS ANYBODY POSSIBLY COULD. AND I THINK WITH THAT FULL RELEASE UH, HIS NATURAL SHOT WAS A STRAIGHT BALL.
SO HE DIDN'T HAVE TO ALLOW FOR ANYTHING GOING RIGHT OR LEFT. HE JUST FIRED IT RIGHT AT THE PIN AND DIDN'T WORRY.
WERE YOU SURPRISED THAT HE LEFT THE SCENE SO SOON THAT HE HAD DONE SO SPECTACULARLY ON?
YEAH REALLY, I THINK UH . PROBABLY WHAT HAPPENED IS JOHNNY BULKED UP A LITTLE BIT UH WHEN HE - I REMEMBER HE BOUGHT A FARM AND GOT STRONGER, AND ALMOST LIKE HE'D LIFTED WEIGHTS AND GOT, YOU KNOW, BULKED UP.
AND HE REALLY CAME - BECAME OBSESSED WITH TRYING TO HIT THE BALL A LONG WAYS UH, WHICH WAS NOT HIS GAME. BUT HE WAS DETERMINED TO BE A BIG HITTER.
HIS - YOU KNOW, HE ALWAYS WANTED TO HIT HIS AS FAR AS WEISKOPF. AND UH, HE DIDN'T LIKE TO HEAR THAT. BUT THAT'S, YOU KNOW, THAT WAS THE CASE.
HE'D - THAT WAS - BECAME THE MAIN THEME OF HIS GAME. AND I THINK THAT WHEN HE STARTED TRYING TO HIT A LONG WAYS, IT KIND OF MESSED UP THE REST OF HIS GAME A LITTLE BIT.
WE'LL TAKE A SHORT BREAK. WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK. AND AS WE LEAVE YOU, LET'S SEE LANNY DURING HIS WAKE FOREST DAYS.
OH, THIS COULD BE SCARY.
A LITTLE SCARY.
What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm
Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:
Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft
Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft
Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts
Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts
Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red
Ball: TaylorMade TP5x
Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff
Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.
While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.
Watching Andrew Landry and Jon Rahm in playoff. Walking off tee talking to each other. Are you kidding me ? Talking at all. ?— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.
0 words— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
The issue is I don’t want to make you a bit relaxed or comfortable. High pressure, good.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
Did you watch the end of the NFL games yesterday ? Enough said.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
I didn’t say you couldn’t be friends and competitive. But in a playoff, 1 tiny mistake and you lose, and that devastated me. Friends before and after, competitors during play.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
Did you win ? It’s all about surviving the competition to test yourself.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.
Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over
The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.
As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.
Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.
And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.
And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.
McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.
The Ryder Cup topped his list.
Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.
When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.
“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”
McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.
Or similar assertions from TV analysts.
“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”
European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.
And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.
The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.
Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.
And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.
Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.
The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.
The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.
More bulletin board material, too.
Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.
Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions
Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.
The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.
It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.
The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.
“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”
Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.