Golf Talk Live - Tom Watson Transcript Segment 1
JAN. 29, 2001 - TOM WATSON
TOM WATSON PLAYED HIS BEST GOLF AT A TIME WHEN NICKLAUS, TREVINO, MILLER AND BALLESTEROS WERE PLAYING THEIR BEST GOLF AND FROM 1975 THROUGH TO 1983 NO ONE PLAYED BETTER OR MORE INSPIRATIONAL GOLF THAN TOM WATSON. MEET HIM NOW ON GOLF TALK LIVE.
TOM WATSON HAD TO PROVE HIS GREATNESS AT A TIME WHEN OTHER GREAT PLAYERS WERE PROVING THEIRS. JACK NICKLAUS, LEE TREVINO, SEVE BALLESTEROS, RAY FLOYD, JOHNNY MILLER, HALE IRWIN, TOM WEISKOPF.
HIS LOVE FOR THE GAME RADIATED IN HIS WALK, IN HIS SMILE, IN HIS DETERMINATION, IN HIS PURSUIT OF THE PERFECT SWING. HE WAS THE ONLY PLAYER OTHER THAN LEE TREVINO WHO COULD BEAT NICKLAUS IN THE MAJORS WHEN THE STAKES WERE HIGHEST AND THE PRESSURE MOST INTENSE.
THE INCREDIBLE 72ND HOLE BIRDIE AND ENSUING PLAY OFF WIN OVER JACK BEATEN FOR THE OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP IN KARNOUSTIE IN 1975, BEGAN THE MAJOR COLLECTION OF GOLF'S GREATEST PRIZES, BEATING JACK AT AUGUSTA IN THE SPRING OF 1977. BEATING JACK AT TURNBURY FOR HIS SECOND OPEN IN THE SUMMER OF 1977. THE OPEN AT MUIRFIELD IN '80.
THE MASTERS OVER JACK, AGAIN, IN 1981. THE U.S. OPEN AT PEBBLE AT JACK'S EXPENSE IN 1982. THE FORTH AND FIFTH OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPS IN 1982 AND '83. HIS SWING IS PERHAPS BETTER THAN EVER.
DETERMINATION TO WIN IS EVIDENCED STILL AND THE JOY OF PLAYING IS AS OBVIOUS TODAY AS IT WAS 30 YEARS AGO, WHEN WE WONDERED WHO HE WAS, AND WHO HE MIGHT TURN OUT TO BE. THINGS WE DON'T WONDER ABOUT ANYMORE.
WELCOME TO GOLF TALK LIVE, I'M PETER KESSLER. GREAT PLEASURE TO INTRODUCE YOU TO OUR GUEST, THE BEST PLAYER OF HIS GENERATION, ONE OF THE GREATEST OF ALL TIME, TOM WATSON. GREAT TO HAVE YOU HERE.
THANKS PETER. ALWAYS A PLEASURE.
THANK YOU, SIR. WHAT'S THE MOST IMPORTANT THING DO YOU SUPPOSE YOU EVER DISCOVERED ABOUT THE GOLF SWING?
MMM... LET'S SEE I'VE UH, LET'S SEE, TODAY I WAS WORKING WITH DAVID LEADBETTER. I GUESS MAYBE THE MOST IMPORTANT THING WAS NOT TO CROSS THE LINE AT THE TOP (LAUGHS) LIKE I'VE BEEN DOING, BUT NO THERE'S, I THINK, I THINK THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS HAVING A CERTAIN RHYTHM, A CERTAIN, UH A CERTAIN RHYTHM
YOU CAN GO BY. WHEN YOU HAVE, WHEN THE CHIPS ARE DOWN, WHEN YOU, WHEN YOU'RE IN COMPETITION YOU HAVE TO, YOU KNOW, YOU, SOMETIMES THE SWING'S NOT FEELING THAT, THAT WELL, AND YOU HAVE TO GO TO SOME, SOMETHING TO SAY, ALRIGHT, CALM DOWN, AND USUALLY IT'S JUST THE RHYTHM, JUST THE, JUST THE MOVE RIGHT OFF THE BALL AND SOMETIMES IT GETS REAL QUICK WITH ME AND IT, I JUST
HAVE TO, IN MY PARTICULAR CASE, I JUST HAVE TO MAKE SURE IT'S DELIBERATE. JUST, JUST, JUST, JUST A HEART BEAT SLOWER.
IF YOU GET IT STARTED RIGHT DOES THE REST SORT OF TAKE CARE OF ITSELF IF YOU'VE BEEN WORKING ON YOUR GAME?
YEAH. IT, IT UH, THAT'S WHAT I'VE NORMALLY WORKED ON IS JUST THE, JUST THAT TAKE AWAY AND JUST TO SET THE CLUB AT A PARTICULAR POSITION, BUT USUALLY IT'S JUST THE TAKE AWAY.
DO YOU STILL FEEL LIKE SUCCESSFULLY SHAPING SHOTS IS THE ESSENCE OF THE GAME?
OH I DO, I, I'VE ALWAYS FELT, THAT'S THE WAY I WAS TAUGHT. I MEAN, THE, WHEN YOU, WHEN UH, WHEN I WAS UH, WHEN I WAS JUST A KID, I MEAN AT 6 YEARS OLD MY DAD SAID, ALRIGHT, HERE'S HOW TO GRIP THE CLUB AND HERE'S HOW TO STAND UP TO IT. WHEN YOU WANT TO DRAW THE BALL, YOU PULL
YOUR RIGHT FOOT BACK, IF YOU WANT TO FADE, IF YOU WANT TO SLICE THE BALL YOU PUT THE RIGHT FOOT RIGHT HERE AND YOU TAKE IT OUTSIDE, AND THAT WAS, THOSE, AND HE, HE, HE JUST, HE LOVED TO SEE ME GO AHEAD AND, AND SHAPE THE SHOT WHEN I WAS A 6 YEARS OLD, 6 YEAR OLD KID. COULDN'T HIT IT VERY FAR BUT I MEAN I
COULD AT LEAST MAKE THE BALL MOVE AND I ALWAYS UH, I, YOU KNOW, ALWAYS FELT THAT THAT'S THE WAY TO DO IT. A GOOD FRIEND OF MINE, AND HE PASSED AWAY THREE OR FOUR YEARS AGO, HERMAN SHERLOW. HE'S A GOLF PRO AT OAKWOOD IN
KANSAS CITY. HE, HE SAYS THERE'S ONLY 4 THINGS YOU CAN DO WITH A GOLF BALL. YOU CAN HIT IT HIGH, YOU CAN HIT IT LOW, YOU COULD HIT A SLICE, YOU COULD HIT A HOOK AND THE COMBINATIONS OF ALL OF THOSE, BUT IF YOU KNOW HOW TO HIT THOSE
FOUR, THOSE FOUR ELEMENTS OF THE, OF THE GOLF BALL, MAKE THE BALL FLY THAT WAY, YOU GOT IT LICKED.
AND THAT WAS THE TEST YOUR DAD GAVE YOU TOO, RIGHT? HE'D SAY, HIT A HIGH ONE IN THERE FOR ME, HIT A LOW DRAW. HE WANTED TO SEE YOU MIX IT UP AND HIT THE RIGHT SHOT AT THE RIGHT MOMENT.
THAT'S RIGHT. I NEVER COULD HIT THE BALL VERY LOW. I, I, I TRY TO GET MY GOLF SWING, AND IT, YOU KNOW, ARNOLD PALMER WAS MY HERO GROWING UP AND THEN JACK NICKLAUS AND THE WAY JACK SWUNG THE
GOLF CLUB VERY UPRIGHT AND WITH A HIGH FADE, I, I SAID IF JACK DOES IT THIS WAY, I'M GOING TO, I'M GOING TO TRY TO EMULATE JACK AND, AND I'VE HIT THE BALL VERY HIGH. I HAVE A VERY HARD TIME HITTING THE BALL LOW. ONLY LATER IN MY CAREER COULD I GET THE BALL DOWN AND, AND, AND PLAY SOME GOOD LOW SHOTS, BUT
I GUESS ONE THING ABOUT THE WAY I SWUNG THE GOLF CLUB, I USUALLY HIT THE BALL PRETTY SOLID AND WHEN YOU HIT THE BALL SOLID IT GOES THROUGH THE AIR AND IT DOESN'T MATTER WHETHER IT'S LOW OR HIGH, YOU CAN PRETTY MUCH JUDGE WHAT
IT'S GOING TO DO WHEN YOU HIT THE BALL SOLID, IN THE WIND. SO I THINK THAT, THAT, THAT WAS, THAT WAS MY STRENGTH, BUT, I, I LOVED TO WATCH, I LOVE TO WATCH SHOT MAKERS, ESPECIALLY LIKE LEE TREVINO. TREVINO TO ME, IS THE ULTIMATE SHOT MAKER. TO BE ABLE TO DO THINGS WITH THE
GOLF BALL THAT MOST PEOPLE CAN'T DO. HE CAN, HE CAN SNAP HOOK A SAND WEDGE. HE CAN HIT A, HE CAN HIT ABOUT A 40 YARD HOOK WITH A SAND WEDGE WHICH I'VE TRIED ALL MY LIFE, I CAN'T DO THAT, BUT, YOU KNOW, WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO USE THAT? BUT STILL, HE HAS THE MASTERY OF, OF DOING THINGS LIKE THAT. CHI CHI
RODRIGUEZ, AGAIN, WAS, WAS A GREAT SHOT MAKER. HE PROBABLY CONCENTRATED TOO MUCH ON SHOT MAKING IN, IN THE SENSE THAT HE, HE WAS TRYING TO HIT MAYBE TOO
CUTE A SHOT IN THERE, RATHER THAN GOING WITH A SHOT THAT CALLED FOR THE SAFETY PLAY OR THE, OR, TOOK THE TROUBLE OUT OF PLAY AND DIDN'T WIN MAYBE AS MUCH ON THE REGULAR, REGULAR TOUR AS HE SHOULD HAVE BUT I'VE ALWAYS ENJOYED WATCHING THE PEOPLE, AND, AND I THINK ALL THE GREAT PLAYERS HAVE BEEN ABLE
TO HIT THE SHOTS THAT THEY HAD TO MANEUVER THE BALL ONE WAY OR THE OTHER AND MAKE IT WORK THAT, MAKE IT WORK FOR THEM, AND THAT'S, TO ME THAT'S, THAT'S THE BEAUTY, THAT'S THE GRACE OF THE GAME.
HOW MANY YEARS DID IT TAKE YOU, AFTER YOU TURNED PRO, WHICH WAS 30 YEARS AGO, TO TAKE
THAT LONG AGO, HUH?
AND STILL LOOK THE SAME
IT IS...YEAH IT IS.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE BEFORE YOU FINALLY FIGURED OUT THAT YOUR GAME DIDN'T HAVE TO BE IN PERFECT WORKING ORDER FOR YOU TO BE ABLE TO WIN?
OH I, I THINK WATCHING, YOU KNOW WATCHING JACK NICKLAUS WAS A CASE IN POINT OF HOW YOU DON'T HAVE TO PLAY YOUR BEST, BUT YOU HAVE TO, YOU HAVE
TO PLAY TO YOUR, YOUR STRENGTHS AND TRY TO ELIMINATE YOUR WEAKNESSES. A PARTICULAR DAY IN MIND WAS WHEN I PLAYED WITH HIM IN THE FINAL ROUND OF
THE HAWAIIAN OPEN BACK IN THE MID 70'S. HE HAD A 2 OR 3 SHOT LEAD GOING IN THE LAST ROUND. I WAS 4 OR 5 SHOTS BEHIND. I DIDN'T MAKE MUCH OF A MOVE,
BUT I WATCHED HIM PLAY A ROUND OF GOLF. HE DIDN'T PLAY VERY WELL. I MEAN HE HIT THE BALL IN THE ROUGH, HE MISSED SOME GREENS, AND HE CAME TO THE 17TH HOLE, AND I MENTION THIS STORY A LOT, THE 17TH HOLE IS A PAR 3, THE PIN'S BACK LEFT, THERE'S A BIG BUNKER HERE. OVER THE
GREEN'S DEAD. LEFT IS WATER, BUT THE, BUT THERE'S A BIG KIND OF A, A BANANA SHAPE GREEN LIKE THIS, AND THE SHOT WAS A 5 IRON AND I, I COULD SEE HIM TAKE A 6 IRON OUT OF HIS BAG. A 6 IRON. YOU KNOW
HE CAN'T GET TO THE PIN WITH A 6 IRON. HE PLAYS TO THE RIGHT OF THE PIN. HE PLAYS TO THIS PART OF THE GREEN, HE LEAVES HIMSELF ABOUT A 50 FOOT PUTT, JUST THE WAY HE WANTED TO, AND HE, HE ALMOST MAKES THE PUTT. HE TWO PUTTS FROM ABOUT 50 FEET. MAKES A SAFE PAR. NO WORSE THAN A BOGIE. HE HAD A TWO
SHOT LEAD, AND IT GOES IN AND WINS THE, WINS THE GOLF TOURNAMENT SHOOTING ONE UNDER PAR THAT ROUND, AND, YOU KNOW THAT, THAT SAID SOMETHING ABOUT HIM. I ALSO FOLLOWED HIM AT HARBOR TOWN ONE TIME WHEN HE PLAYED IN THE FINAL ROUND. HE WON THE TOURNAMENT AND I FOLLOWED
HIM ALL 18 HOLES. I WAS PLAYING THE SEA PINES OPEN, A TOURNAMENT PLAYED AT THE SAME TIME. FINISHED MY ROUND, WENT OUT TO WATCH HIM PLAY AND JUST WATCHED HIM PLAY THAT GOLF COURSE, WHICH IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE GOLF COURSES IN THE
WORLD, HARBOR TOWN GOLF LINKS AND WATCHED HIM PLAY AN EXCELLENT ROUND OF GOLF, WINNING A GOLF TOURNAMENT THERE, BUT, I WANTED TO WATCH HOW HE PLAYED A GOLF COURSE. SHAPED HIS SHOTS, PLAYED, PLAYED TO THE GREENS AND IT,
OBVIOUSLY WHEN YOU'RE PLAYING YOUR BEST YOU CAN TAKE MORE RISK, BUT ON THE OTHER HAND, WHEN YOU'RE PLAYING YOUR BEST YOU CAN ALSO TOTALLY ELIMINATE THE TROUBLE AND THAT, THAT'S WHAT JACK'S STRENGTH HAS ALWAYS BEEN AND I LEARNED A GREAT DEAL FROM THAT AND,
AS A RESULT I LEARNED HOW TO PLAY TO, AND JUST TAKE ALL THE TROUBLE OUT OF A SHOT. ALL THE RISK OUT OF THE SHOT AND PLAY TO, TO THE RIGHT OF THE HOLE RATHER THAN AT THE PIN UNDERSTANDING THAT YOU, YOU JUST CAN'T PLAY AT THE PIN
A NUMBER OF TIMES, AND THAT'S, THAT WAS THE LEARNING PROCESS FOR, FOR ME IN THE, IN THE, IN THE EARLY MIDDLE 70'S I WAS, I WAS TRYING TO LEARN HOW TO WIN, BUT I WAS WATCHING THE BEST AND I THINK I, I THINK I LEARNED A LOT FROM HIM.
WE'LL TAKE A SHORT BREAK. WE'LL BE BACK WITH TOM WATSON.
Korda happy to finally be free of jaw pain
PHOENIX – Jessica Korda isn’t as surprised as everyone else that she is playing so well, so quickly, upon her return from a complex and painful offseason surgery.
She is inspired finally getting to play without recurring headaches.
“I’d been in pain for three years,” she said after posting a 4-under-par 68 Friday to move two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.
Korda had her upper jaw broken in three places and her low jaw broken in two places in December in a procedure that fixed the alignment of her jaw.
Korda, 25, said the headaches caused by her overbite even affected her personality.
“Affects your moods,” Korda said. “I think I was pretty snappy back then as well.”
She was pretty pleased Friday to give herself a weekend chance at her sixth LPGA title, her second in her last three starts. She won the Honda LPGA Thailand three weeks ago in her first start after returning from surgery.
“I'm much happier now,” Korda said. “Much calmer.”
Even if she still can’t eat the things she would really like to eat. She’s still recuperating. She said the lower part of her face remains numb, and it’s painful to chew crunchy things.
“Chips are totally out of question,” Korda said.
She can eat most things she likes, but she has to cut them into tiny pieces. She can’t wait to be able to eat a steak.
“They broke my palate, so I can't feel anything, even heat,” Korda said. “So that's a bit difficult, because I can't feel any heat on my lip or palate. I don't know how hot things are going in until they hit my throat.”
Korda has 27 screws in her skull holding the realignment together. She needed her family to feed her, bathe her and dress her while she recovered. The procedure changed the way she looks.
While Korda’s ordeal and all that went into her recovery has helped fans relate to her, she said it’s the desire to move on that motivates her.
“Because I was so drugged up, I don't remember a lot of it,” Korda said. “I try to forget a lot of it. I don't think of it like I went through a lot. I just think of it as I'm pain-free. So, yeah, people are like, `Oh, you're so brave, you overcame this and that.’ For me, I'm just going forward.”
Finally adapted to short putter, Martin near lead
PHOENIX – Mo Martin loved her long putter.
In fact, she named her “Mona.”
For 10 years, Martin didn’t putt with anything else. She grew up with long putters, from the time she started playing when she was 5.
While Martin won the Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2014, about nine months after giving up Mona for a short putter, she said it’s taken until today to feel totally comfortable with one.
And that has her excited about this year.
Well, that and having a healthy back again.
“I've had a feeling that this year was going to be a good one,” Martin said. “My game is in a special place.”
Martin was beaming after a 6-under-par 66 Friday moved her two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.
“Just a beautiful day,” Martin said. “I was able to play my game, make my putts.”
Martin hit all 14 fairways in the second round, hit 15 greens in regulation and took just 27 putts. After struggling with nagging back pain last year, she’s pain free again.
She’s happy to “just to get back to a place now where my ball striking is where it has been the last few years.”
Martin, by the way, says Mona remains preserved in a special place, “a shrine” in her home.
Clanton rides hole-out eagle to lead at Founders
PHOENIX - Cydney Clanton holed out from the fairway for eagle on the par-4 13th and closed with a birdie Friday to take the second-round lead in the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.
Clanton shot a 5-under 67, playing the back nine at Desert Ridge in 5-under 31 to reach 9-under 135.
Clanton's wedge on the 13th flew into the cup on the first bounce. She also birdied the par-5 11th and 15th and the par-4 18th. The 28-year-old former Auburn player is winless on the LPGA.
Ariya Jutanugarn, Marina Alex, Karine Icher and Mariajo Uribe were a stroke back on a calmer day after wind made scoring more difficult Thursday.
Jessica Korda and Mo Martin were 7 under, and Michelle Wie topped the group at 6 under.
Ko's struggles continue with Founders MC
PHOENIX – Lydia Ko loves the Bank of Hope Founders Cup and its celebration of the game’s pioneers, and that made missing the cut Friday sting a little more.
With a 1-over-par 73 following Thursday’s 74, Ko missed the cut by four shots.
After tying for 10th at the HSBC Women’s World Championship in her last start, Ko looked to be turning a corner in her quest to find her best form again, but she heads to next week’s Kia Classic with more work to do.
“I just have to stay patient,” Ko said. “I just have to keep my head high.”
It was just the fifth missed cut in Ko’s 120 career LPGA starts, but her fourth in her last 26 starts.
Ko’s ball striking has been erratic this year, but her putting has been carrying her. She said her putting let her down Friday.
“It seemed like I couldn’t hole a single putt,” she said. “When I missed greens, I just wasn’t getting up and down. When I got a birdie opportunity, I wasn’t able to hole it.”
Ko came to Phoenix ranked 112th in driving distance, 121st in driving accuracy and 83rd in greens in regulation. She was sixth in putting average.
Cristie Kerr saw the struggle playing two rounds with Ko.
“Her game’s not in good shape,” Kerr said. “She seemed a little lost.”
Ko, 20, made those sweeping changes last year, starting 2017 with a new coach (Gary Gilchrist), a new caddie (Peter Godfrey) and new equipment (PXG). She made more changes at this year’s start, with another new coach (Ted Oh) and new caddie (Jonnie Scott).
Ko doesn’t have to look further than Michelle Wie to see how a player’s game can totally turn around.
“It always takes time to get used to things,” Ko said. “By the end of last year, I was playing solid. I’m hoping it won’t take as much time this year.”
Ko had Oh fly to Asia to work with her in her two starts before the Founders Cup, with their work showing up in her play at the HSBC in Singapore. She said she would be talking to Oh again before heading to the Kia Classic next week and then the ANA Inspiration. She has won both of those events and will be looking to pull some good vibes from that.
“This is my favorite stretch of events,” she said. “And I love the Founders Cup, how it celebrates all the generations that have walked through women’s golf. And I love the West Coast swing. Hopefully, I’ll make more putts next week.”
Ko, whose run of 85 consecutive weeks at Rolex world No. 1 ended last summer, slipped to No. 12 this week.