Golf Talk Live - Lanny Wadkins Transcript Segment 6
HERE'S THE QUESTION THAT WAS POSTED ON OUR WEB SITE FOR LANNY .
'IF YOU WERE THE CZAR OF GOLF FOR ONE DAY, WHAT CHANGES WOULD YOU MAKE IN EQUIPMENT, PLAYING CONDITIONS, ETC.?' FROM STEVE DAVIS IN FLORIDA. THANKS, STEVE.
UH, FIRST THING I'D LIKE TO DO IS MAKE SURE THAT THE GOLF BALL IS CONSISTENT, THAT THE TESTING IS SOMETHING WHERE ALL THE GOLF BALLS BASICALLY ARE THE . ARE THE SAME.
I THINK THAT . I DON'T KNOW THAT I'M FOR A STANDARD BALL. BUT I WOULD LIKE TO SEE THE PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENTS SO THAT THEY'RE ALL BASICALLY THE SAME SO THAT,
YOU KNOW, I DON'T WANT TO EVER HAVE A NEW BALL COME OUT AND SAY THIS BALL GOES 10 YARDS FURTHER. THAT'S NOT RIGHT. UH, I'D LIKE TO SEE THAT, YOU KNOW, CHANGE WHERE THAT DOESN'T HAPPEN.
UM, THE OTHER THING IS I'D LIKE TO UM, SEE IT WHERE PEOPLE DON'T HAVE TO WEAR SOFT SPIKES ALL THE TIME. I'M TIRED OF GOING TO EVERY OTHER CLUB EXCEPT A TOUR EVENT AND SLIPPING.
TELL ME ABOUT YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR BOYS AND SPORTS AND WHAT THEY THINK OF YOU.
UM . WELL, I'M JUST DAD. I DON'T THINK THEY HAVE UH . MAY CHANGE A LITTLE BIT HERE SINCE I'VE, YOU KNOW, WON, YOU KNOW, YESTERDAY. MAYBE THEY'LL HAVE - NOW UNDERSTAND WHAT I DO.
THEY SOMETIMES WALK IN MY OFFICE AND SEE SOME OF THE - THE TROPHIES AND THE THINGS AND THE RYDER CUP PICTURES. AND YOU KNOW, IT'S ALWAYS, YOU KNOW, 'WHERE DO THEY COME FROM?' AND 'WHEN DID YOU DO THIS?' AND THAT KIND OF THING. SO UH,
I LOVE TO PLAY SPORTS WITH THEM. UM . UH, LAST TIME I WAS HOME, WE WERE OUT THERE PLAYING 2 ON 1 BASKETBALL. AND I WENT IN. I THOUGHT I HAD, YOU KNOW, PULLED MY GROIN AND I WAS SORE. AND I MEAN, THEY BEAT ME UP PRETTY GOOD.
BUT I LOVE TO PLAY WITH THEM AND JUST SPEND TIME WITH THEM. I JUST UH . YOU KNOW, THAT'S ONE OF THE THINGS THAT'S TOUGH FOR ME, YOU KNOW, ON THE SENIOR TOUR IS, YOU KNOW, I'VE GOT 12 AND 7 YEAR OLD BOYS.
I CAN'T SPEND 30 WEEKS ON THE ROAD LIKE SOME OF THE GUYS DO, UH, WHEN THEIR FAMILIES ARE . YOU KNOW, THEY'RE 'EMPTY NESTERS' I GUESS YOU'D SAY. SO UH,
IT'S - IT'S GONNA BE DIFFERENT. BUT UM, IT'S - IT'S TOUGH BEING AWAY FROM THEM, BUT I - AND I . I STAY IN TOUCH AND . AND WHEN I'M HOME, IF THEY'VE GOT A SPORTING EVENT, I'M THERE.
DO THEY HAVE GOLF SWINGS?
YEAH UH, TRAVIS IS PLAYING MORE AND MORE. HE'S GOT A GOOD FULL SWING UH, POPS IT UP THERE PRETTY GOOD. HE NEEDS TO WORK A LITTLE HARDER. UH, I THINK THAT UH . UH .
HE'S, YOU KNOW, HE WANTS IT TO COME EASY AND IT'S GONNA TAKE A LOT OF WORK. GOLF JUST ISN'T EASY. IT TAKES A LOT OF WORK FROM - FROM DAY ONE. I WORKED HARD AS A KID AND PRACTICED ALL THE TIME.
AND UH, HOPEFULLY THIS SPRING HE'S REALLY GETTING INTO IT AND - AND HE'LL SEE THE IMPROVEMENT HE WANTS TO SEE BECAUSE HE'S REALLY GOT SOME ABILITY. AND MY - MY LITTLE GUY, TUCKER, HAS A .
HAS A GREAT LITTLE SWING. HE HITS IT DEAD SOLID. AND UH, HE GOT A LESSON FROM DAVID PRICE, PRO AT BENT TREE. AND DAVID SAID TUCKER WAS AMAZING `CAUSE EVERY TIME I CHANGED SOMETHING ON HIM, HE STILL HIT IT DEAD SOLID.
I CHANGED HIS GRIP AND CHANGED HIS STANCE. AND SO, HE'S GOT A GOOD LITTLE SWING AND - AND TUCKER'S GOT A GOOD WORK ETHIC. SO UH, IT'LL BE INTERESTING TO SEE WHAT THEY DO. UM,
YOU KNOW, I DON'T WANT TO PUSH EITHER ONE OF THEM ONE WAY OR THE OTHER. I'D LIKE TO - LIKE THEM TO DO IT ON THEIR OWN AND - AND BE HAPPY WITH - WITH THEIR CHOICES IN SPORTS.
UH, THEY BOTH LOVE SPORTS, YOU KNOW, AS ALL KIDS DO AT THAT AGE. AND UH, THEY'RE TALENTED. AND I JUST - I JUST LOVE HAVING A CHANCE TO SPEND TIME WITH THEM AND WATCHING THEM DOING WHAT THEY - WHAT THEY LIKE TO DO.
ARE THEY FEISTY AND COMPETITIVE LIKE YOU?
UM . SOMEWHAT. I THINK - I THINK THEY'RE DIFFERENT PERSONALITIES. UM,
TUCKER MIGHT BE MORE FEISTY. I THINK TRAVIS HAS A QUIET FEISTINESS ABOUT HIM. HE LIKES TO UH .
IT'S THERE. I SEE IT IN HIS EYES EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE THAT HE - HE REALLY WANTS TO COMPETE. HE DOESN'T WANT TO LOSE UM . UH .
AND - AND TUCKER JUST LIKES TO COMPETE. HE'S - HE JUST, YOU KNOW, I THINK COMPETING IS A BIG DEAL FOR HIM, PLAYING . PLAYING THE GAME, SO TO SPEAK. BUT UH .
UH, I SEE SOME FIRE FROM BOTH OF THEM. AND THAT'S - THAT'S NEAT.
LET'S SEE WHAT ROB IN VIRGINIA WANTS TO KICK AROUND. HOW ARE YOU, ROB?
ROB FROM VIRGINIA:
DOING VERY WELL, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. JUST REALLY WANTED TO QUICKLY SAY CONGRATULATIONS FROM ALL OF US HERE AT THE GOLDEN HORSESHOE GOLF CLUB IN WILLIAMSBURG, VIRGINIA.
BUT WHAT WAS YOUR VIEW ON JUSTIN'S LEONARD'S PUTT AT THE '99 CUP - RYDER CUP? AND WHERE DO YOU SEE THE RYDER CUP GOING IN THE FUTURE? THANK YOU.
HMM, INTERESTING QUESTION THERE. UM . UH, I THOUGHT IT WAS A GREAT PUTT. I MEAN, THE AMAZING THING WAS UH .I GUESS THE INTESTINAL FORTITUDE THAT JUSTIN HAD TO COME BACK FROM BEING 3 - 4 DOWN AND - AND JUST HANG IN THERE AND UH, COME BACK AND ACTUALLY TIE THIS MATCH AGAINST A GREAT COMPETITOR LIKE UH JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL. BUT UH .
AND WHEN PUTTS LIKE THAT GO IN, IT'S ALMOST DESTINY. I MEAN, I THOUGHT - I JUST THOUGHT HE WAS . HE WAS GREAT. AND UM, I THINK THAT, IN RETROSPECT, SOME OF THE PLAYERS WISH THEY HAD CONTROLLED THEIR EMOTIONS OFF TO THE SIDE A LITTLE BIT MORE. IT'S UH .
I THINK THE RYDER CUP ITSELF WILL GO AHEAD ON AND BE FINE. I THINK THAT UH, THE NEXT CAPTAINS HAVE TO HANDLE THAT SITUATION. YOU KNOW, HOPEFULLY IT WILL BE OKAY. BUT UM, IT'S - IT'S JUST ONE OF THOSE THINGS. I THINK IT WAS A SPUR OF THE MOMENT REACTION. UM, YOU KNOW, THE MATCHES WEREN'T OVER.
THAT'S THE THING. THE MATCHES WEREN'T OVER AT THAT POINT IN TIME. AND I THINK THAT'S WHAT YOU'VE GOT TO, YOU KNOW, WHAT YOU GOT TO STAY IN FOCUS IS ON WHAT'S GOING ON.
AND THE OTHER MAN HAD YET TO PUTT.
YEAH. BUT UH, CONTRARY TO SOME THINGS, THERE WASN'T ANY DAMAGE EVER DONE TO HIS LINE. NOBODY WAS EVER NEAR HIS LINE AFFECTING ANYTHING. IT WAS MORE CELEBRATION THAN PROBABLY SHOULD HAVE BEEN.
I THINK IF THEY ALL HAD IT TO DO OVER, THEY WOULD, YOU KNOW, HAVE DONE IT DIFFERENTLY. BUT, YOU KNOW UH . WE ALL DO THINGS THE SPUR OF THE MOMENT. AND - AND WHEN YOU GET INVOLVED IN A RYDER CUP, AND AS BIG A COMEBACK AS THAT WAS, UH, IT'S - IT'S UNDERSTANDABLE.
WE'RE GONNA SPEND A COUPLE MORE MINUTES WITH LANNY WADKINS RIGHT AFTER THIS.
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.