Talking to Tiger Caddying for Palmer
I really enjoy your In His Own Words segments with Tiger Woods. You have an excellent rapport with him and appear to bring out a playfulness in him that other interviewers seem to miss. How do you prepare to interview someone like Tiger Woods? Does he intimidate you? Keep up the excellent work. ' Jo
Tiger is a rare person and one of the nicest guys youll ever meet. Ive had the privilege of interviewing him now for more than a decade and every opportunity to speak with him is a chance to get to know him a little better. I try to prepare for his interviews with questions to which no one already knows the answer. Sometimes they are obvious and other times, you have to work a little harder. What I have learned over the years is that, outside of his superhuman skills with a golf club and the benefits that may bring him, he is just like you and me. He has a great sense of humor and a deep love for his family and friends. Im glad you enjoy the interviews.
You do such a great job on TV that I think you would be great on one of those network morning shows (like the Today Show). Do you have plans to work in broadcasting beyond golf? ' Mike
Thanks so much for getting in touch. So you think I would be a good addition to the 'Today Show'? Thanks. I appreciate your thoughts but that would require me getting up at 3 a.m. to go to work (she said with a smile). I often wondered how Katie Couric did that every day. Actually, I have thought many times about what it would be like to cover different stories, live in a different city and work different hours. But as interesting as that may seem, I have no real reason to look for a new job because I feel that the sport of golf is very healthy right now. If I ever found myself bored or without challenge, then I would consider a new direction, but I dont feel like my career is getting stale because the GOLF CHANNEL continues to grow and provide new challenges.
I am an avid fan of The Golf Channel and I'm wondering if you tape or tevo (sp) the broadcast and later watch yourself on TV? ' Michael from New Jersey
Thanks for your question. Its a popular one. Because of my schedule on the road, I dont get to watch our primetime re-airs at night but I do have the opportunity to watch the shows on tape when I get home. I like to compare it to a golfer looking at video of his or her own swing. It helps to see it on occasion so that you can better understand how you are coming across, but you shouldnt watch too much because you can become overly critical and lose sight of the big picture. At this point in my career I need to trust the skills that I have honed all the while never losing that hunger to improve on each telecast.
Thanks for watching.
I saw you caddying for Arnold Palmer in the Masters par 3 tournament. How much fun was that? Give him any tips? ' Ann from Ohio
Ill never forget the first time I caddied for Arnold at the 2003 Masters. He also played with Jack and Gary in the Par-3 contest. I didnt think it could get any better than that or that there would be a second opportunity but I was wrong on both counts. The first time I was so overwhelmed that I just tried to stay out of the way. This time, I was much more interactive with the guys and eager to soak up the fun. Being inside the ropes with these icons gives you a true appreciation for how the fans relate to them. You can really feel the love they have for Arnie. When we reached the 9th tee, I had no idea that Jack was going to pull a fast one and ask me to hit a shot in front of all those screaming fans. It was the most nerve racking experience of my life. Thankfully, I made it over the water and my boss was proud of the effort. After I gave Jack an exhilarating high five, I promised him that paybacks would be coming his way. What a day!
Thanks for the question.
What is your favorite tournament to cover and what event have you never done that you want to do? ' Fritz
I dont really have a favorite tournament to cover. I like them all for different reasons but I will say that I have a few favorite cities to visit on the schedule. I like to go to Hawaii because its my one chance all year to surf. I like San Diego because of the weather. I like Chicago because that means hot dogs and baseball games. When youre on the road as much as we are, you tend to drift toward the stops that offer variety. We have a great job here at the GOLF CHANNEL, because we always seem to be chasing the sun.
Email Kelly with your questions for next month's Q&A
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.