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Golf Talk Live - Lanny Wadkins Transcript Segment 5

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(CLIP OF 1977 PGA CHAMPIONSHIP SHOWN)

PETER KESSLER
WHEN YOU THINK BACK TO THIS, WHAT GOES THROUGH YOUR HEAD TODAY?

LANNY WADKINS
OH, THE JUST EXCITEMENT OF THE WHOLE THING. UH, IT WAS . THAT WAS ACTUALLY THE FIRST MAJOR CHAMPIONSHIP EVER DECIDED AT SUDDEN DEATH.

SO UM, GENE AND I WERE OUT THERE. THE PGA DIDN'T . I DON'T THINK THEY WERE READY FOR IT. WE WENT TO THE FIRST HOLE.

UM, LIT' (LITTLER) WASN'T EVEN AWARE THERE WAS A PLAYOFF. HE THOUGHT IT WAS AN 18-HOLE PLAYOFF THE NEXT DAY WHEN IT FIRST HAPPENED.

UM, WE GOT OUT THERE AND GOT READY TO PLAY. AND UH, THEY HAD NO GALLERY ROPES. THE GALLERIES CAME DOWN THE EIGHT - DOWN THE FIRST FAIRWAY, THE SECOND FAIRWAY, YOU KNOW, AT PEBBLE BEACH BEHIND US.

UH, THEY SWAMPED US. IT WAS OUT OF CONTROL, JUST KIND OF LIKE THE 18TH HOLE AT THE BRITISH OPEN WHERE EVERYBODY COMES IN. YOU - GUYS POPPED THROUGH. WE DID THAT ON THE SECOND HOLE

UH, SO IT WAS - IT WAS A LITTLE HAIRY A COUPLE TIMES. BUT UH, THERE WERE A LOT OF PEOPLE WATCHING IT. UH, I LIKE - I LIKE THE LITTLE DEAL THAT I SAW.

A PICTURE OF MY CADDY THERE, RALPH COFFEY (SPELLING-???), WHO UH HAD CADDIED FOR DEANE BEMAN FOR A WHILE, AND RALPH WAS CADDYING FOR ME AT THE TIME. WE GOT ON THE FIRST HOLE IN THE PLAYOFF. AND UH,

RALPH TENDED TO GET EXCITED AND NOT GET OUT WHAT HE WANTED TO SAY. SO I SAID, 'WHAT WE GOT HERE, RALPH, ON THE SECOND SHOT?' AND HE STARTED STUTTERING AND I SAID, 'JUST WRITE IT DOWN, RALPH.' (CHUCKLE)

PETER KESSLER
WHAT DID YOUR DAD THINK WHEN YOU WON?

LANNY WADKINS
OH, HE WAS EXCITED. UH, MY DAD WAS MY BIGGEST FAN. AND UM, I REMEMBER WHEN I MADE THE PUTT TO WIN THE U.S. AMATEUR, HE - MY MOTHER SAID HE JUMPED OVER THE COFFEE TABLE IN THE - IN THE LIVING ROOM. SO UM .

I'M - I'M SURE THAT THEY WERE GOING CRAZY AT THIS POINT IN TIME WATCHING THIS. IT WAS UH . UM, JUST AN AMAZING TIME FOR ME. I WAS ACTUALLY A NON-EXEMPT PLAYER WHEN I - WHEN I WON THE PGA.

I HAD UH . HAD SOME SURGERIES IN '74 AND SOME PROBLEMS AND I WAS NON-EXEMPT IN '77. I HAD MADE ENOUGH MONEY BY PLAYING WELL THAT YEAR TO GET IN THE PGA

AND THEN ACTUALLY STARTED THE LAST ROUND WITH THE GOAL TO FINISH IN THE TOP-8 TO GET BACK IN THE MASTERS, WAS MY GOAL LAST ROUND. AND AS THINGS GOT CLOSER AND CLOSER, I UH . I REALIZED I HAD A CHANCE.

AND ONCE I . YOU KNOW, SAW I HAD A CHANCE, I HIT SOME GREAT SHOTS AT 17 AND 18.

PETER KESSLER
SOME PEOPLE SAY THAT WHEN YOU BECOME FAMOUS THAT YOU DON'T CHANGE, BUT THE PEOPLE AROUND YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS DO. DO YOU FIND THAT TO BE TRUE?

LANNY WADKINS
HMM, YES AND NO. UH, MY FRIENDS HAVE BEEN GREAT. UH, ONE THING THAT UH MY CAREER HAS AFFORDED ME, BECAUSE OF ITS UPS AND DOWNS, IS I FIND OUT WHO MY TRUE FRIENDS ARE.

I'VE GOT GUYS THAT HAVE STAYED MY FRIEND THROUGH THICK AND THIN THAT UH . I MEAN, I'VE GOT UH FRIENDS THAT CALL ME NOT WHEN I'M PLAYING GOOD BUT WHEN I'M PLAYING BAD TO MAKE SURE I'M OKAY.

UM, I KNEW A LOT OF PEOPLE THAT WERE MY - WERE BACK SLAPPING BUDDIES IN MY FIRST 2 YEARS ON TOUR, THEN I HAD A FEW BAD YEARS, I'D WALK BY AND SAY `HI' AND THEY DIDN'T KNOW WHO I WAS. SO UM,

THE ONE THING I DO HAVE IS A MEMORY LIKE AN ELEPHANT SO I REMEMBER WHO THOSE PEOPLE WERE. SO UM, I CAN, YOU KNOW, TURN THE TABLES PRETTY QUICK.

BUT I DO REMEMBER WHO MY FRIENDS ARE AND THEY MEAN A LOT TO ME, AN AWFUL LOT. I'VE GOT A LOT OF GUYS THAT LIKE TO COME WATCH ME PLAY AND I - AND I CAN'T TELL YOU HOW IMPORTANT THAT IS ME THAT THEY .

THEY WORRY MORE ABOUT MY GOLF GAME THAN I DO SOMETIMES.

PETER KESSLER
I'M SURE THAT'S TRUE. MICHAEL IN WISCONSIN, WHAT'S YOUR QUESTION TONIGHT FOR LANNY?

MICHAEL FROM WISCONSIN
MR. KESSLER, MR. WADKINS . UH, GOOD EVENING.

PETER KESSLER
GOOD EVENING, MICHAEL.

LANNY WADKINS
GOOD EVENING.

MICHAEL FROM WISCONSIN
I ENJOY YOU VERY, VERY MUCH, MR. KESSLER. JUST WANTED TO LET YOU KNOW YOU'RE TOP SHELF MAN.

PETER KESSLER
THANK YOU.

MICHAEL FROM WISCONSIN
MR. WADKINS, ARE . CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR WIN. UH, THE QUESTION IS: GOOD PLAYERS HAVE A VARIETY OF UH SWING TEMPOS . ELS, COUPLES, SLOWER TEMPOS, AND THEN WHEN THEY TALK ABOUT QUICKER TEMPOS, PRICE, OLAZABAL AND YOURSELF SEEM TO UH COME INTO DISCUSSION THERE.

QUESTION IS, MR. WADKINS, IN YOUR OPINION, HOW DOES ONE FIND THEIR BEST INTERNAL SWING TEMPO? THANK YOU.

LANNY WADKINS
I THINK JUST SWING WITH WHAT'S COMFORTABLE. UM, I DON'T THINK YOU GO AND TRY AND DEVELOP A TEMPO. I THINK IT'S JUST SOMETHING THAT'S NATURAL THAT YOU DO.

I UH . I MEAN, I'M NOT TRYING TO SWING FAST. I'M NOT TRYING TO SWING SLOW. I'M JUST SWINGING WHATEVER'S ME. UH, I MEAN, IF YOU WATCH A GUY LIKE HALE IRWIN, HE WALKS FAST. HIS TEMPO'S FAST.

I MEAN, YOU KNOW, HE SWINGS THE WAY HE DOES EVERYTHING ELSE. I MEAN, MY SWING UH . IS FAST AT TIMES, SLOWER AT TIMES. I THINK IT DEPENDS ON, YOU KNOW, THE SITUATION.

IT'S - IT'S ALWAYS BEEN A LITTLE QUICK, BUT THE MAIN THING IS TO KEEP THE CLUB ACCELERATING.

PETER KESSLER
TELL US - YOU KNOW, HALE IRWIN IS ONE OF THE GREAT, GREAT COMPETITORS, 3 U.S. OPENS, 20 TOUR WINS, IF I'M NOT MISTAKEN. YOU WOULD PROBABLY KNOW THAT NUMBER BETTER THAN I DO. I BET YOU KEEP TABS ON EVERYBODY JUST ABOVE .

LANNY WADKINS
YOU'RE PRETTY GOOD OF A GUY. YOU'RE PRETTY MUCH RIGHT ON THERE. (CHUCKLE)

PETER KESSLER
ABOVE AND BELOW, RIGHT? BUT TELL US THE STORY ABOUT, THE 2 STORIES, ABOUT YOU AND HALE AS PARTNERS IN THE RYDER CUP AND HE WASN'T SO SURE HE WANTED TO HIT THE FIRST TEE SHOT ON THE FIRST HOLE.

LANNY WADKINS
OH MY GOODNESS, OH YEAH. WELL, I HOPE HALE'S NOT WATCHING RIGHT NOW BUT . YEAH, THIS WAS UH, THE FIRST TIME WE WERE PAIRED TOGETHER WAS 1977 AT UH,

LYTHAM, ST. ANNES. IT WAS MY FIRST RYDER CUP AND FIRST HOLE'S A PAR-3. AND UH, WE WALKED ON THE FIRST TEE. AND WHEN YOU PLAY AN ALTERNATE SHOT, YOU DECIDE WHO'S GONNA HIT OFF ONE `CAUSE IF YOU HIT OFF ONE, YOU HIT ON ALL THE ODD HOLES.

AND THE OTHER GUY HITS ON THE EVEN HOLES. AND . I WAS GONNA HIT ON THE ODD HOLES - ON THE EVEN HOLES AND HALE ON THE ODD HOLES SO HE WAS GONNA TEE OFF FIRST ON . AT LYTHAM.

SO WE WALKED ON THE FIRST TEE. WE'RE THE FIRST MATCH OUT. UM . HE GETS ON THE FIRST TEE, DOESN'T LIKE THE LOOK OF SOMETHING, AND SAYS 'YOU HIT HERE.'

I SAID, 'WELL.' WE'D, YOU KNOW, PLANNED TO DO SOMETHING THE OTHER WAY SO 'OKAY, I'LL HIT HERE'. SO I HIT . I HIT THERE. AND I MEAN, WE GOT ON LIKE THE THIRD OR FOURTH HOLE. IT WAS A TIGHT PAR-4 WITH RAILROAD TRACKS TO THE RIGHT. AND UH,

I PULL OUT DRIVER TO TEE OFF ON THIS HOLE AND HALE SAYS, YOU KNOW, 'WHAT ARE YOU DOING?' I SAID, 'I'M HITTING DRIVER.' HE SAYS, 'WHAT ABOUT THOSE RAILROAD TRACKS TO THE RIGHT?' I SAID, 'HADN'T NOTICED THEM.'

BUT I GOT THERE AND PUT HIM RIGHT IN THE RAILROAD TRACKS. SO, I MEAN, IT WAS KIND OF ONE OF THOSE DAYS. BUT WE ENDED UP UH WINNING OUR MATCH. WE BEAT BERNARD GALLACHER AND BRIAN BARNES.

IT WAS MY FIRST RYDER CUP MATCH UH, BEAT THEM 2 AND 1. WELL, HALE AND I PLAYED ON SOME RYDER CUP TEAMS TOGETHER BETWEEN '77 AND '91. WE DON'T PLAY TOGETHER, YOU KNOW, AS PARTNERS.

UH, WE WON A MATCH THAT WEEK IN '91. STOCKTON HAD US GOING OUT FIRST AS HIS FIRST GROUP. HE WANTED A TOUGH GROUP, AND I GUESS HALE AND I FIT THAT BILL. SO WE'RE PLAYING UH FIRST OFF THE FIRST DAY.

AND HERE AGAIN, WE'D DECIDED HE WAS GONNA TEE OFF FIRST ON THE FIRST HOLE. AND UH, I WAS GONNA HIT ON THE EVEN HOLES. SO WE WALK TO THE FIRST TEE AND .

I MEAN, THE CONDITIONS, YOU KNOW, ON HALE'S BEHALF, THE CONDITIONS HAD CHANGED DRASTICALLY FROM PRACTICE. SO THE WIND WAS NOW BLOWING INTO US FROM THE LEFT PRETTY HARD.

IT'S ABOUT 55 DEGREES AND COLD AND NOT A NICE DAY. AND UH, WE GET ON THE FIRST TEE. I'M KIND OVER THERE TALKING TO MY CADDIE AND THE OFFICIALS `CAUSE I'M .

YOU KNOW, I HAVEN'T GOT TO DO ANYTHING EXCEPT JUST WATCH HALE HIT IT HERE. AND HE SAYS, 'WHY DON'T YOU HIT HERE. I DON'T LIKE THE WIND'S . I DON'T LIKE THE WAY THE WIND'S BLOWING. I - THERE'S NO WAY I CAN PUT IT IN THE FAIRWAY HERE.'

NOT WHAT YOU WANT TO HEAR YOUR PARTNER SAY. SO I . I SAID, 'THIS A LITTLE `DE JA VU' ALL OVER AGAIN, HALE?' SO .

PETER KESSLER
14 YEARS LATER.

LANNY WADKINS
14 YEARS LATER SO . BUT, I MEAN . HE MUST BE BRILLIANT `CAUSE IT WORKED PERFECTLY. I GOT UP THERE AND RIPPED IT DOWN THE MIDDLE. WE BIRDIE THE FIRST 3 HOLES. WE SHOT 5-UNDER ALTERNATE SHOT ON THE FRONT-9 AT KIAWAH, WHICH WAS UNHEARD OF

AND WON UH THAT DAY. AND WE PLAYED TOGETHER THE NEXT MORNING AND WON AGAIN. SO UM, I LOVE HAVING HALE AS A PARTNER. HE IS ONE HECK OF A COMPETITOR. AND UM, I'LL TAKE HIM ANY TIME.

PETER KESSLER
ESPECIALLY WHEN HE MAKES YOU HIT FIRST. WE'LL TAKE A SHORT BREAK.

LANNY WADKINS
YEAH, LET HIM HIT THE IRONS TOO.

PETER KESSLER
WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.

(BREAK)

NEXT SEGMENT