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Golf Talk Live - Lanny Wadkins Transcript Segment 2

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PETER KESSLER
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?

LANNY WADKINS
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 .

PETER KESSLER
THAT WAS THE SECOND REASON.

LANNY WADKINS
THAT WAS PROBABLY THE SECOND REASON, YEAH.

PETER KESSLER
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.

LANNY WADKINS
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.

PETER KESSLER
WHAT WAS THE SHAPE OF THE SHOT THAT YOUR IDOL, SAM SNEAD, USED TO HIT OFF THE TEE?

LANNY WADKINS
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.

PETER KESSLER
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?

LANNY WADKINS
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.

PETER KESSLER
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.

LANNY WADKINS
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)

PETER KESSLER
WHAT WAS IT ABOUT HIS SWING OR HIS ACTION THAT YOU THINK MADE HIM SO EFFECTIVE AT THE TIME?

LANNY WADKINS
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.

PETER KESSLER
WERE YOU SURPRISED THAT HE LEFT THE SCENE SO SOON THAT HE HAD DONE SO SPECTACULARLY ON?

LANNY WADKINS
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.

PETER KESSLER
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.

LANNY WADKINS
OH, THIS COULD BE SCARY.

PETER KESSLER
A LITTLE SCARY.

(LANNY LAUGHS)

(BREAK)

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