Golf Talk Live - Payne Stewart Transcript Segment 2
DO YOU REMEMBER THIS DAY PAYNE?
YEAH, THIS IS A THIS LOOKS LIKE THE 16TH HOLE, BIRDIE PUTT, IT HAD A BIG LEFT TO RIGHT BREAKER THAT WAS, THAT WAS A SPECIAL DAY, THAT WAS A GOOD DAY, THAT WAS A GOOD DAY. THAT ONE WILL ALWAYS, I'LL ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT ONE.
YOU KNOW AT THE TIME. AND FOR A WHILE AFTER PEOPLE SAID, OH HE BACKED INTO IT BUT YOU KNOW THE FURTHER WE GET AWAY FROM IT. JUST LIKE THE
FURTHER WE GET AWAY FROM FALDO, AND NORMAN AT THE MASTERS IN 96, THE MORE THAT YOU COME TO REALIZE THAT THE MAN WHO PUTS TOGETHER THE BEST 72 HOLE SCORE DIDN'T BACK INTO THE CHAMPIONSHIP, FALDO ENDED UP WINNING BY 5 SHOTS THAT DAY. BUT YET
FOR A WHILE IT WAS NORMAN LOST THE GOLF TOURNAMENT. WHEN WE LOOK BACK AT THE 89 PGA CHAMPIONSHIP, MIKE REED WHO YOU CAUGHT AND PASSED EXCEPT FOR 1 DAY, HIS SCORES WENT UP EVERY DAY AND YOU DID JUST THE OPPOSITE EXCEPT FOR ONE DAY, EVERY DAY YOUR SCORES WENT DOWN. DO YOU FEEL NOW THAT YOU WON THE CHAMPIONSHIP?
WELL PETER I'VE ALWAYS BELIEVED THAT I'VE WON THE CHAMPIONSHIP. IT WAS YOU KNOW THE MEDIA AND THE PEOPLE THAT I DON'T KNOW MAYBE ARE JEALOUS. WHENEVER ANYBODY TALKS BAD ABOUT SOMEBODY ELSE, IT'S ALWAYS BECAUSE THEY MIGHT ME A LITTLE JEALOUS OF WHAT THEY'VE ACCOMPLISHED. AND YOU
KNOW WHEN THEY SAID THAT I BACKED INTO THE PGA, WELL FAIR ENOUGH BUT I STILL WON THE GOLF TOURNAMENT, I STILL PLAYED 72 HOLES BETTER THAN ANYBODY ELSE. AND THAT'S THE BOTTOM LINE IN GOLF. IF I COULD OF PLAYED 63 HOLES AT THE UNITED STATES OPEN THIS YEAR HEY I'D A WON A SECOND US OPEN
BUT YOU GOT TO PLAY 72 HOLES, IN EVERY TOURNAMENT AND SOMETIMES 90 HOLES
WHICH THE 91 OPEN, WHICH WAS PROBABLY MORE SATISFYING THEN THE PGA FOR THE FACT THAT I LEAD EVERY DAY, OR WAS TIED FOR THE LEAD. AND THEY COULDN'T SAY THAT I BACKED INTO THAT TOURNAMENT NOW WHAT DID THEY SAY. THEY SAID, DID YOU SEE THOSE
SCORES THEY SHOT ON MONDAY, 75, 77 WHAT'S THAT. THEY HAD NO IDEA, HOW WHAT THAT GOLF COURSE WAS PLAYING LIKE. YOU KNOW, YOUR ACTUALLY OUT THERE YOUR PLAYING FOR SCORE BUT YOUR ALSO PLAYING ONE INDIVIDUAL, SCOTT SIMPSON AND IT WAS A TOUGH DAY, BUT MY SCORE AT THE END OF THE
DAY WAS LOWER THAN HIS AND THAT MEANS I WON THE CHAMPIONSHIP AND THEY'LL NEVER BE ABLE TO TAKE THAT AWAY FROM ME.
IF SOMEBODY HAD SAID TO YOU AT HE BEGINNING OF THAT WEEK. YOUR GOING TO WIN THE US OPEN THIS WEEK AND THERE FOR TO FOLLOW, WINS WILL COME IN BUNCHES YOU WOULD OF BELIEVED THAT ABSOLUTELY, RIGHT?
WELL I WOULD OF, I WOULD OF BELIEVED THAT I WAS PREPARED ENOUGH AND MY GAME WAS READY ENOUGH TO WIN THE US OPEN THAT WEEK. NOW THE BUNCHES AFTERWARDS YOU'D LIKE TO THINK THAT, WINNING A US OPEN WOULD CONTINUE TO, YOU'D JUST BUILD ON IT. YEAH, YOU'D LIKE TO BELIEVE THAT, IT REALLY HADN'T HAPPEN IN THAT MANNER THOUGH.
GIVE, WERE GOING TO GIVE SOME OF OUR VIEWERS A CHANCE TO ASK YOU QUESTIONS WERE GOING TO START WITH ED IN PENNSYLVANIA. HOW ARE YOU TONIGHT ED?
CALLER-ED IN PENNSYLVANIA
ALL RIGHT, THANK YOU.
CALLER-ED IN PENNSYLVANIA
HOW ARE YA?
CALLER-ED IN PENNSYLVANIA
ALL RIGHT, UM MR. STEWART.
CALLER-ED IN PENNSYLVANIA
I WAS WONDERING HOW IS YOUR DAD STILL INFLUENCING YOUR GAME THESE DAYS. I KNOW HE JUST RECENTLY PASSED AWAY NOT TOO LONG AGO, RIGHT.
WELL ABOUT 13, 14 YEARS AGO
CALLER-ED IN PENNSYLVANIA
OH, OH OKAY MY INFORMATION WAS WRONG I'M SORRY BUT, HOW IS HE STILL INFLUENCING YOUR GAME?
WELL A ED A LOT OF THE THINGS THAT I LEARNED FROM HIM AND ACTUALLY I WAS DOWN IN MY GOLF ROOM THE OTHER DAY AND I'VE GOT A LESSON THAT HE'D GIVEN MY WIFE A HAND WRITTEN LESSON FOR WHAT MY WIFE WAS SUPPOSE TO LOOK FOR IN MY GOLF SWINGS AND I READ OVER
IT THE OTHER DAY. I JUST, I JUST KEEP GOING BACK TO PROBABLY THE FACT THE
COMPETITIVENESS THAT HE INSTILLED IN ME WAS PROBABLY THE SINGLE MOST FACTOR THAT, THAT HE TAUGHT ME. HE TAUGHT ME HOW TO COMPETE. HE TAUGHT ME HOW TO TRY ON ALL, AND EVERYTHING I EVER DID. EVEN NOW WHEN I COMPETE WITH MY KIDS, I DON'T
LET THEM WIN IF THEY BEAT ME THAT'S GREAT AND I'LL SHAKE THEIR HAND AND SAY CONGRATULATIONS BUT I'M NOT GOING TO LET THEM WIN. BUT THAT'S WHAT HE TAUGHT ME HOW TO DO, HE TAUGHT ME HOW TO COMPETE AND HE CAN STICK THE NEEDLE IN ME DEEPER
THAN ANYBODY I'VE EVER BEEN AROUND AND TURN IT QUICKER TOO. HE'D GET ME SO MAD ON THE GOLF COURSE IT WAS SCARY AND THEN HE KNEW HE HAD ME SO AND THEN I'D END UP HAVING TO PAY A
A COUPLE BUCKS AT THE END OF THE DAY, AND THAT HURT WORSE THAN ANYTHING.
HOW OFTEN DO YOU THINK ABOUT, THE LAST CONVERSATION THAT YOU HAD WITH HIM. WHEN HE WAS ASLEEP IN HIS CHAIR AND YOU WENT IN TO TELL HIM THAT YOU WERE GOING TO BE A DADDY.
YOUR TRYING TO MAKE THIS NIGHT TOUGH ON ME AREN'T YOU.
A LITTLE BIT
UM, THAT'S ALWAYS A ONE OF MY MOST SPECIAL CONVERSATIONS I EVER HAD WITH MY FATHER. TELLING HIM THAT, THAT TRACY AND I WERE EXPECTING CHELSEA AND THAT WAS SPECIAL. IT WAS A, YOU KNOW I ALWAYS LOOK BACK ON THAT AND I, I MISS HIM A LOT. I WISH HE WAS, I KNOW HE'S STILL WATCHING BUT I WISH I COULD HUG HIM WHEN I WIN OR
WHATEVER, AND TALK TO HIM PERSONALLY, IT WOULD BE SPECIAL.
FREDDY COUPLES WAS WITH US NOT TOO LONG AGO AND OF COURSE HIS FATHER PASTED AWAY LAST YEAR AND OF COURSE
IT WAS MUCH MORE RECENT BUT HE WAS SAYING THERE WERE DAYS WHEN HE GOES TO THE PHONE TO PICK IT UP AND DIAL THE NUMBER. YOU STILL FEEL THAT SOMETIMES A LITTLE BIT?
I, YES I STILL TALK TO HIM FREQUENTLY. I'LL DRIVING IN THE CAR GOING TO GET THE KIDS AT SCHOOL OR SOMETHING. I'LL SAY YOU KNOW DAD , YOU KNOW SEE HOW I SCREWED UP VANCOUVER THIS YEAR ON THE LAST 9 HOLES I GOT TO GET OVER THAT, AND HE'LL SAY YEAH YOU
KNOW YOU GOT TO KEEP FINISHING HIGH, AND YOU KNOW KEEP YOUR HEAD STILL AND STAY BEHIND AND.
RIGHT FOOT UP, LEFT FOOT BACK
THAT'S RIGHT, THAT'S RIGHT
I GOT IT, WE'LL TAKE A SHORT BREAK WE WILL BE RIGHT BACK, DON'T GO AWAY.
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.