Golf Talk Live - Bruce Lietzke Transcript Segment 6
ALRIGHT, HERE'S A QUESTION SUBMITTED TO OUR WEB SITE TODAY FOR YOU, BRUCE. AND IT IS, 'HOW LONG DO YOU THINK IT WILL TAKE YOU TO GET BORED ON THE SENIOR PGA TOUR? '. STEVE FISHER WANTS TO KNOW.
HOW LONG DO YOU THINK IT WILL TAKE YOU TO GET BORED ON THE SENIOR PGA TOUR? STEVE FISHER, DALLAS, TX )
BOY, BORED? UM, I'M - I'M NOWHERE NEAR BURNOUT. HE'S ASKING ABOUT BORED. UH, I ... BURNOUT IS NOT A FACTOR IN MY LIFE, AS LITTLE GOLF AS I'VE PLAYED. UH, LIKE I SAID, I PLAN ON PLAYING 10 YEARS.
AND THE ONE THING I, I KIND OF - I FIND MYSELF FOCUSING ON IS, THERE'S A ... THE CHARLES SCHWAB COMPANY HAS STEPPED ON THE SENIOR TOUR AND PROVIDED A LITTLE BONUS MONEY. MUCH LIKE MY FRIENDS IN NASCAR IN DRAG RACING HAVE A YEAR LONG BONUS PROGRAM THAT THEY STRIVE FOR,
UH, I HAVE FOUND MYSELF, MORE AND MORE, LOOKING ON TO THAT BONUS, UH, YEAR END, UH, POOL. AND I ... AGAIN, I'M, I'VE BEEN RETIRED, AS YOU SAID, PETER, FOR A LONG TIME NOW. UH, I'M VERY ANXIOUS TO GET OUT AND PLAY SOME GOLF.
UH, I STILL LOVE TO PLAY GOLF, NEVER DID LOSE MY LOVE TO PLAY GOLF. AND I'VE BEEN KIND OF CHOMPING AT THE BIT FOR ABOUT 15 OR 16 YEARS NOW. AND I DON'T SEE MYSELF GETTING BORED. AND I REALLY BELIEVE, ESPECIALLY WITH THAT, UH, THAT BONUS MONEY,
I'M GONNA FEEL LIKE A NASCAR GUY OUT THERE, YOU KNOW, DASHING TO THE END, PUTTING FRESH TIRES ON AND UH, AND - AND GOING TO THE END OF THE YEAR, UH, FOR ABOUT 10 YEARS. AND UH, I DON'T SEE MYSELF BEING BORED. I - I'VE NEVER REALLY BEEN BORED.
I'VE UH, I'VE BEEN DISTRACTED FOR THE LAST FEW YEARS WITH FAMILY UH OBLIGATIONS BUT UH, NEVER BORED.
WHAT'S SO GREAT ABOUT BEING HOME FOR YOU?
WELL, THOSE ARE MY VACATIONS. UH, TOUR PLAYERS ARE VERY STRANGE PEOPLE. UH, MOST PEOPLE, YOU KNOW, WORK AND WHEN THEY GO ON VACATION, THEY GO 2 WEEKS TO ORLANDO OR VACATION. UH, WHEN FULLTIME TOUR PLAYERS GO ON VACATION,
THEY WANT TO GO HOME AND STAY AROUND THE HOUSE. UM, MY, MY CARS AROUND THE HOUSE UH KEEP MY MIND OCCUPIED BECAUSE I DON'T PLAY ANY GOLF WHEN I'M HOME. UM, MY, MY FAMILY DUTIES ... MY KIDS ARE OLDER, THEY'RE DRIVING.
THEY, THEY'RE BRANCHING OUT A WHOLE LOT MORE ON THEIR OWN. IT GIVES ME A LOT OF TIME DURING THE DAY WHEN THEY'RE IN SCHOOL. CARS KEEP ME VERY OCCUPIED AND THAT MAKES MY HOME VERY ATTRACTIVE.
AND I HAVE A VERY ATTRACTIVE WIFE WHICH MAKES MY HOME VERY ATTRACTIVE, AND I ENJOY CHASING HER AROUND THE HOUSE EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE. AND UH, THAT'S - THAT'S UH ...
AND THIS CAR YOU SEE RIGHT HERE, THAT - UH, IT TOOK ME 2 YEARS. THAT'S A KIT CAR AND I BUILT IT FROM SCRATCH. UH, I'VE DONE THAT FOR THE LAST 2 YEARS. SO THOSE ARE THE THINGS THAT KEEP ME AROUND THE HOUSE,
THOSE KIDS, UH, CARS AND 3 DOGS, 3 CATS, ALL THE, ALL THOSE TRAPPINGS.
WHAT ARE THE TRAPPINGS OF SUCCESS THAT BOTHER YOU?
UH, (SIGH) ...
BOY, THAT'S A GOOD QUESTION. UH ...
UH, PROBABLY THE - THE ... UH, GOING BACK A LITTLE BIT TO BEING IN FRONT OF THE CROWDS AND ALL THAT. AND I, I HAVE A TOUGH TIME FEELING, FEELING LIKE I'M ON DISPLAY. AND I GUESS THAT'S THAT, THAT WHOLE BEING UNCOMFORTABLE, UH, IN CROWDS OR UNFAMILIAR SITUATIONS.
UH, BUT THAT'S - THOSE HAVE BEEN PART OF MY DUTIES AS A PGA TOUR PLAYER. WE, WE ARE IN THE ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS. AND A LOT OF TIMES, I PROBABLY HAVEN'T REALIZED THAT OR HAVEN'T LIVED UP TO THAT UH, UH,
THAT OBLIGATION. AND THE SENIOR TOUR, EVEN TO A, UH, A MORE OF A DEGREE, WE ARE IN THE ENTERTAINMENT BUSINESS, IN THE 2 DAY PRO-AMS AND ALL THAT. AND I'M GONNA HAVE TO LEARN TO BE A LITTLE MORE OUTGOING AND HAVE A LITTLE MORE FUN ON THE GOLF COURSE. UH ...
UH, THOSE ARE SOME GOALS THAT I NEED TO HAVE. BUT IT IS UNCOMFORTABLE. AND THOSE ARE SOME OF THE TRAPPINGS OF, OF UH, OF BEING IN A VERY PUBLIC, UH, DOMAIN. ESPECIALLY THE POPULARITY OF GOLF NOW, IT'S SO DIFFERENT THAN IT WAS 25 YEARS AGO.
GOLF WAS, PRO GOLF WAS JUST A QUIET LITTLE SPORT, AND WE WOULD JUST SLIP INTO TOWN AND SLIP ON OUT. AND BOY,
NO MORE SLIPPING.
PRO - THE PRO TOUR DOES NOT ... UH, GO LIKE THAT. UH, I DON'T KNOW IF THE SENIORS DO THAT OR NOT. I KNOW THE PGA TOUR DOES NOT. AND UH, UH, I'M GONNA TRY AND BE A LITTLE MORE FAMILIAR AND LITTLE MORE AT EASE, UH, DURING THOSE WEEKS THAT I'M PLAYING SENIOR GOLF,
UH, AND TRY TO STAY AWAY FROM THE THINGS THAT MAKE ME UNCOMFORTABLE THAT - THAT ARE PART OF THOSE TRAPPINGS, I GUESS.
WE HAVE SENIOR PGA TOUR WINNER, DOUG TEWELL, WHO WOULD LIKE TO TELL YOU ABOUT THOSE FUN THINGS, RIGHT DOUG?
DOUG TEWELL, CALLER/SENIOR PGA TOUR PLAYER (MALE):
YEAH, THAT'S RIGHT, PETER. BRUCE, I JUST - I REALLY JUST THINK IT'S IMPORTANT THAT YOU STAY HOME WITH THOSE KIDS FOR A COUPLE MORE YEARS 'CAUSE I HAVEN'T QUITE GOT MY SATCHEL FULL.
YOU THINK SO, DOUG? MAYBE EVEN THROUGH THOSE COLLEGE YEARS, SO MAYBE I SHOULD JUST STAY AT HOME THROUGH THOSE COLLEGE YEARS ALSO?
DOUG TEWELL, CALLER/PGA TOUR PLAYER (MALE):
I THINK SO. 'CAUSE BY THEN, I THINK I'LL BE ABOUT 57 AND BE READY TO JUST GO TO GRAND LAKE AND DO A LITTLE FISHING MYSELF.
YEAH. WELL, I'LL TELL YOU WHAT, DOUG, UH, I CONSIDERED IT AND NO. I'M COMING OUT, IN FACT, I'M COMING OUT MY VERY FIRST ELIGIBLE WEEK, WHICH IS IN CHICAGO. AND I WILL UH, UH, MEET YOU AND GREET YOU THERE AND GO BACK TO THE THING WE'VE BEEN DOING FOR ... ALL THE WAY BACK THROUGH COLLEGE.
UH, AND I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO, TO GETTING BACK OUT. ALL - BUT WITH ALL THE FRIENDS I HAVE OUT THERE AND UH, UH, PUSHING YOU GUYS A LITTLE BIT, THAT'S MY, THAT'S MY PLAN. I'M GONNA PUSH YOU UH, AS FAR AS I CAN.
DOUG TEWELL, CALLER/PGA TOUR PLAYER (MALE):
WELL, WE'RE EXCITED TO HAVE YOU COMING OUT. AND I'LL TELL YOU WHAT, IT'S GONNA BE FUN. IT'S NICE TO HAVE ANOTHER FADER COMING OUT, YOU KNOW. 'CAUSE YOU KNOW HOW I WORK THAT BALL LEFT TO RIGHT, AND UH ...
BUT I WON'T SEE YOU CHICAGO. I'LL GIVE YOU A BREAK. I'M GONNA TAKE THAT WEEK OFF. AND THEN I'LL, I'LL GET TO GO HEAD TO HEAD WITH YOU THE FOLLOWING WEEK.
I FIGURE I NEED TO GO TALK TO THOSE TOUR OFFICIALS OUT THERE. AND THE ONES THAT DON'T LIKE TO PUT THOSE BACK RIGHT PIN PLACEMENTS, IF I CAN OFFER MONEY, WHATEVER IT IS, FISHING TRIPS, I WANT ALL BACK RIGHT PIN PLACEMENTS. AND YOU AND I WILL DO JUST FINE.
DOUG TEWELL, CALLER/PGA TOUR PLAYER (MALE):
WELL, I DID THAT EARLIER THIS YEAR AS A TRADITION. I BRIBED THEM VERY MUCH AND IT WORKED. I CAN TELL YOU, YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT WANTING THAT BIG LEAD COMING DOWN THE STRETCH, IT WAS A LOT OF FUN.
YOU LET ME KNOW WHICH GUYS YOU TALKED TO AND I'LL, I'LL BE READY TO TAKE CARE OF THEM.
YEAH, JUST ...
DOUG TEWELL, CALLER/PGA TOUR PLAYER (MALE):
WELL, WE WISH YOU A LOT OF LUCK AND WE'RE LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING AND PLAYING AGAINST BUCK DOWN THERE AT THE LEGENDS.
DON'T FORGET, DOUG, HE'S THOUGHT ABOUT IT AND THE ANSWER IS 'NO.'
DOUG TEWELL, CALLER/PGA TOUR PLAYER (MALE):
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. AS WE LEAVE FOR JUST A MINUTE, HERE ARE YOU AND SCOTT MCCARRON ON YOUR WAY TO JUST ANOTHER ONE OF THOSE 59'S AT THE SHARK SHOOTOUT.
YOU MAKE EVERYTHING - HOW DO YOU MAKE PUTTS WITH THAT THING?
OH THIS, I - I DID, I DID THIS WEEK. UH, I HAD A PARTNER THAT COULD FLY THE BALL ABOUT 320 OFF THE TEE AND I HAD A PUTTER THAT WAS REALLY WORKING ON THOSE GREENS AT SHERWOOD.
AND, AND AGAIN, A FELLOW FADER, UH, HE LIKES TO FADE THE BALL. AND BOY, HE DRIVES IT A MILE. AND UH, WE HAD A GREAT TIME THAT WEEK. WE HAD COME CLOSE THE YEAR BEFORE AND WE FINALLY DID IT THERE.
YOU COULD WIN WITH YOUR GRANDMOTHER. WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.
Rose tries to ignore scenarios, focus on winning
ATLANTA – No one has more to play for than Justin Rose on Sunday at the Tour Championship.
The Englishman will begin the day three strokes behind front-runner Tiger Woods after a third-round 68 that could have been much worse after he began his day with back-to-back bogeys.
Winning the tournament will be Rose’s top priority, but there’s also the lingering question of the FedExCup and the $10 million bonus, which he is currently projected to claim.
“The way I look at tomorrow is that I have many scenarios in play. I have the FedExCup in play. I have all of that to distract me,” Rose said. “But yet, I'm three back. I think that's my objective tomorrow is to come out and play good, positive golf and try and chase down the leader and win this golf tournament. I think in some ways that'll help my other task of trying to win the FedExCup. It'll keep me on the front foot and playing positive golf.”
Although there are many scenarios for Rose to win the season-long title, if Woods wins the Tour Championship, Rose would need to finish fifth or better to claim the cup.
There’s also the top spot in the Official World Golf Ranking to consider. Rose overtook Dustin Johnson for No. 1 in the world with his runner-up finish at the BMW Championship two weeks ago. He will retain the top spot unless Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka or Johnson win the finale and he falls down the leaderboard on Sunday.
McIlroy needs putter to heat up to catch Woods
ATLANTA – Although Rory McIlroy is three strokes behind Tiger Woods at the Tour Championship and tied for second place he had the look of a man with a secret when he left East Lake on Saturday.
Trying to play catch up against Woods is never ideal, but McIlroy’s confidence stemmed from a tee-to-green game that has been unrivaled for three days.
“I definitely think today and the first day were similar,” said McIlroy, whose 66 included birdies at two of his final three holes. “I gave myself plenty of chances, and I think the biggest thing today was only just that one bogey. Got to put your ball in the fairway, put yourself in position, and for the most part, I did that today.”
For the week McIlroy ranks first in strokes gained: off the tee, third in strokes gained: approach to the green and second in greens in regulation. But to catch Woods, who he will be paired with, he’ll need a much better day on the greens.
The Northern Irishman needed 30 putts on Day 2 and ranks 23rd, out of 30 players, in strokes gained: putting.
McIlroy skipped the first playoff event, opting instead for an extra week at home to work on his swing and the move has paid off.
“I hit the ball well. My wedge play has been really good,” he said. “I've done a lot of work on it the last few weeks, and it seems to have paid off.”
Glover trails Straka at Web.com Tour Championship
ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – Sepp Straka moved into position Saturday to earn a PGA Tour card in the Web.com Tour Championship, shooting a 7-under 64 to take the third-round lead.
With the top 25 earners in the four-event Web.com Tour Finals getting PGA Tour cards Sunday, Straka birdied the final three holes to reach 18-under 195 - a stroke ahead of Curtis Luck, Lucas Glover and Denny McCarthy at Atlantic Beach Country Club.
''It's always good to get an extra birdie in late. I got three of them to finish, which was nice,'' Straka said. ''It's very bunched up there, so you can't really take off, you've got to keep the pedal down and see where you end up at the end.''
Straka entered the week tied for 80th in the card race with $2,744. The 25-year-old former Georgia player from Austria won the KC Golf Classic in August for his first Web.com Tour title. He finished 31st on the money list to advance to the four-tournament series.
''My ball-striking is really good,'' Straka said. ''It's been good all week. It's been really solid. I really haven't gotten in a whole lot of trouble and have been able to capitalize on a good number of chances with the putter. Hit a couple of bad putts today, but some really good ones to make up for it.''
Luck also shot 64. The 22-year-old Australian went into the week 16th with $41,587.
''Obviously, it just comes down to keeping that momentum going and trying not to change anything,'' Luck said. ''That's the really important thing and I felt like I did that really well. I played really aggressive on the back nine, still went after a lot of shots and I hit it close a lot out there.''
Glover had a 68. The 2009 U.S. Open champion entered the week 40th with $17,212.
McCarthy shot 67. He already has wrapped up a card, earning $75,793 in the first three events to get to 11th in the standings.
The series features the top 75 players from the Web.com regular-season money list, Nos. 126-200 in the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup standings, and non-members with enough money to have placed in the top 200. The top-25 finishers on the Web.com regular-season money list are competing against each other for tour priority, with regular-season earnings counting in their totals. The other players are fighting for the 25 cards based on series earnings.
Woods' dominance evokes an old, familiar feeling
ATLANTA – It felt so familiar – the roars, the fist pumps, the frenzied scramble to keep up with a leaderboard that was quickly tilting in Tiger Woods’ direction.
For the handful of players who were around when Woods made a mysterious and maddening game seem simple, it was like old times, times that weren’t necessarily good for anyone not named Tiger.
“I’m kind of nostalgic,” admitted Paul Casey, who turned pro in 2000, when Woods won the U.S. Open by 15 strokes, one of his nine PGA Tour victories that year.
Casey’s 66 on Day 3 at the Tour Championship vaulted him into a tie for sixth place, but as the Englishman quickly vetted the math he knew those numbers were nothing more than window dressing.
“Sixty-four is my best on a Sunday which puts me at 11 [under], so if he’s 12 I need to shoot my career best in the final round and he needs to do something very un-Tiger-like,” Casey laughed. “I think I’m just posturing for position.”
Casey wasn’t giving up. In fact, given that he outdueled Woods earlier this year to win the Valspar Championship he could have hedged his comments and left the door cracked however slightly. But he’s seen, and heard, this too many times to allow competitive necessity to cloud reality.
On Saturday at East Lake, Tiger Woods was his best version. Throughout this most recent comeback he’s offered glimpses of the old guy, the guy whose name atop a leaderboard echoed through locker rooms for the better part of two decades. After starting the day tied for the lead with Justin Rose, Tiger quickly separated himself from the pack with a birdie at the first.
He added another at the third and by the time he birdied the seventh hole, his sixth birdie of the day, he’d extended that lead to five shots and was sending an unmistakable message that reached well beyond the steamy confines of East Lake.
This was what so many had waited for. This was the Tiger that Casey and others grew up dreading, a machine that never misses iron shots and makes clutch putts look like tap-ins.
“The crowds were electric,” said Rose, who was paired with Woods. “He was running the tables there. He was hitting good shots and making the conversion putts.”
Woods did come back to earth after his blistering start, playing his final 10 holes in 1 over par, but that did little to change the mood as the season moved to within 18 holes of the finish line.
He would finish with a round-of-the-day 65 for a three-stroke lead over Rose and Rory McIlroy. The next closest players were a dozen strokes back, including Casey at 5 under par who didn’t need to be reminded of Woods’ 54-hole conversion rate.
There are no guarantees in sports but Tiger with a 54-hole lead has been about as close to a lock as one will find this side of Las Vegas. He’s 42-for-44 when going into the final round with the outright lead and the last time he blew a 54-hole lead was at the 2009 PGA Championship.
Of course, he hasn’t had a 54-hole lead since the 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. Truth is, he hasn’t had much of anything since ’13 when his dominance was sidetracked by an ailing back. As intimidating as Woods’ play has been this week there was an unmistakable sense of, let’s call it curiosity.
Asked if Woods’ lead felt different than it may have a decade ago, Rose’s response was telling. “Maybe,” he allowed after a pause. “It's a little more unknown now. Obviously his history, his statistics from this point are impeccable. They're incredible. But he's human, and there's a lot on it for him tomorrow, as well as the rest of us.”
Rose wasn’t trying to trick himself into thinking the impossible was possible, although many have when they’ve found themselves in similar positions, it was simply the truth. Woods has had multiple chances this season to complete the comeback and he’s come up short each time.
It was a poor iron shot off the 72nd tee at the Valspar Championship and an even worse drive a week later at Bay Hill’s 16th hole. It was a misplayed chip late on the back nine at The Open and a collection of missed putts at the PGA Championship, although in his defense it’s unlikely anyone could have caught Brooks Koepka at Bellerive.
Nor was Rose being disrespectful. It’s simple math, really, and Woods’ body of work to this point, although wildly impressive considering how far he’s come in 12 months both physically and competitively, paints a clear picture. Given multiple chances to break through the victory ceiling he’s failed to deliver the way he did before injury and multiple back procedures.
“I've felt very comfortable when I got into the mix there at Tampa even though it was very early in my start to this year. And because of that, I felt comfortable when I got to Bay Hill, (and) when I grabbed the lead at The Open Championship,” Woods said. “Things that didn't really feel abnormal, even though it's been years, literally years, since I've been in those spots, but I think I've been in those spots enough times that muscle memory, I guess I remembered it, and I felt comfortable in those spots.”
In many ways the script couldn’t have been written any better for Woods. It’s the bottom of the ninth, two outs and the bases are loaded for the 14-time major champion. Hero time, his time.
He’s been here so many times in his career and succeeded more times than not, and this new, reimagined version has the ultimate chance to complete what would arguably be the greatest comeback in sports history.
The ultimate test still remains, but for 18 holes on Saturday it felt so familiar.