Golf Talk Live - David Duval Transcript Segment 1

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 1998, 5:00 pm
TEASE
SOME SAID THAT HE'D NEVER WIN ON THE PGA TOUR. YEAH, RIGHT.

SOME STILL SUGGEST DAVID DUVAL MIGHT NOT HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO WIN A MAJOR. YOU WONDER IF THEY'VE BEEN PAYING ATTENTION.

JUST BE PATIENT LIKE DUVAL AND THINGS OUTTA WORK THEMSELVES OUT JUST FINE.

SPEND AN HOUR WITH DAVID DUVAL, ONE OF GOLF'S PREMIER TALENTS NEXT ON GOLF TALK LIVE.

( MUSIC BEGINS)

IS DAVID DUVAL THE BEST PLAYER IN THE WORLD? THAT ALL DEPENDS ON WHO YOU ASK. DUVAL, HIMSELF, WILL TELL YOU 'NO' THOUGH HIS ACTIONS SUGGEST OTHERWISE. HIS PEERS SAY NO ONE MAKES THE GAME LOOK ANY EASIER.

IT'S IRONIC REALLY. JUST A LITTLE MORE THAN A YEAR AGO A DIFFERENT QUESTION ENTIRELY WAS BEING ASKED OF DAVID DUVAL BY THE VERY SAME PEOPLE: 'DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO WIN ON THE PGA TOUR?'

HE ANSWERED THAT QUESTION AFFIRMATIVELY AND IN RESOUNDING FASHION AND HAS WON MORE IN THE PAST 13 MONTHS THAN ANY OTHER PLAYER ON THE PGA TOUR.

1998 CERTAINLY HAD ITS PEAKS INCLUDING THE PGA TOUR'S MONEY TITLE, THE VARDON TROPHY AND 4 TOUR EVENTS.

LIKE ANY YEAR, IT HAD ITS VALLEYS AS WELL, AS HE SAW A GREEN JACKET PULLED FROM HIS GRASP AT THE LAST MOMENT BY MARK O'MEARA, AND MISSED THE CUT AT SAHALEE IN THE PGA CHAMPIONSHIP.

HIS DEMEANOR THROUGHOUT WHETHER WINNING OR LOSING RARELY CHANGES. HIS FACE NEVER REFLECTING THE JOY OR DESPAIR WE MIGHT ASSOCIATE WITH THE HIGHS AND LOWS.

THIS LEADS SOME TO CONCLUDE THAT HE IS DEVOID OF EMOTION. BUT THAT'S FAR FROM THE CASE.

THE SIMPLE EXPLANATION FOR THE ICY STARE: DAVID DUVAL UNDERSTANDS THAT GOLF, AS GREAT AS IT IS, IS NOT THE END-ALL DEAL. IF YOU SEE IT HIS WAY, GREAT. IF YOU DON'T, THAT'S YOUR PROBLEM.

AND THAT'S ALL IT'S EVER BEEN REALLY. OUR PROBLEM WITH HIS PAST INABILITY TO CLOSE A TOURNAMENT. FOR HIS SHY NATURE, SOME MISTAKE FOR ARROGANCE.

DUVAL HAS ALWAYS BEEN COMFORTABLE WITH HIMSELF AND WHAT HE IS TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH ON HIS TIME TABLE. FOR NOW HE IS CONTENT TO SPEAK SOFTLY AND CARRY THAT VERY BIG STICK.

THERE'S ONLY ONE THING LEFT THAT MAKES HIM SQUIRM ANYMORE AND IT'S NOT THE 72ND HOLE. IT'S THAT QUESTION, 'SO DAVID DUVAL, ARE YOU THE BEST PLAYER IN THE WORLD?'

SCOTT VAN PELT
GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO GOLF TALK LIVE. I'M SCOTT VAN PELT. IT IS OUR PLEASURE TO WELCOME BACK TO THE STUDIO DAVID DUVAL. DAVID, GLAD YOU COULD BE WITH US.

DAVID DUVAL
THANK YOU, I APPRECIATE IT. YOU KNOW, I TRY TO HELP YOU AS LITTLE, I MEAN, AS MUCH AS I CAN.

SCOTT VAN PELT
UH WELL, DAVID THOUGHT IT'D BE REAL CUTE TODAY TO CALL UP ABOUT 5, 6 O'CLOCK AND SAY HE WAS STILL IN JACKSONVILLE, WASN'T GOING TO BE HERE UNTIL 8:30 'CAUSE THEY WERE STUCK ON A, UH, AN OYSTER BED.

THAT WASN'T THE CASE. HE WAS UP THE ROAD EATING DINNER. BUT, WE ARE CERTAINLY VERY GLAD, AS I SAY,

DAVID DUVAL
THANK YOU.

SCOTT VAN PELT
IN ALL HONESTY, THAT YOU'RE HERE.

DAVID DUVAL
I'M EXCITED.

SCOTT VAN PELT
UH, YOU'VE HAD A FEW WEEKS SINCE THE TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP TO SORT OF UNWIND, TO REST, TO RELAX, TO REFLECT, IF YOU CHOSE TO, ON WHAT WAS REALLY AN AMAZING AND REMARKABLE YEAR. I'M CURIOUS HAVE YOU DONE THAT, SORT OF TAKEN INVENTORY OF THE ALL THE HIGHS AND THOSE FEW LOWS THAT YOU HAD THIS YEAR?

DAVID DUVAL
UM, NOT SO MUCH OF THAT AS MUCH AS ANYTHING, UH, I'VE TRIED TO PREPARE MYSELF MENTALLY FOR NEXT YEAR. UM,

IF I CAN FURTHER EXPLAIN, UH, BECAUSE WHAT HAPPENED THIS YEAR ISN'T GOING TO HAPPEN EVERY YEAR.

SCOTT VAN PELT
UH-HUH.

DAVID DUVAL
AND SO I'VE TRIED TO REALIZE AND GET MYSELF READY. YOU KNOW, IF I FINISH 10TH ON THE MONEY LIST NEXT YEAR, OR 15TH, OR WHEREVER IT MAY BE, YOU GOTTA REMEMBER THAT'S STILL A GREAT YEAR, UM, AND NOT TO COMPARE.

SCOTT VAN PELT
SORT OF WHAT HAPPENED TO TIGER.

DAVID DUVAL
YEAH.

SCOTT VAN PELT
SORT OF WHAT HAPPENED TO TIGER THIS YEAR.

DAVID DUVAL
ABSOLUTELY. NOT COMPARE IT TO WHAT HAPPENED THIS YEAR.

SCOTT VAN PELT
SO, YOU REALLY CAN'T EVEN GIVE YOURSELF A DAY OR AN AFTERNOON TO SORT OF AS THE SUN IS SETTING THERE IN JACKSONVILLE TO SORT OF SAY 'WOW, THIS WAS GREAT' AND JUST LET YOURSELF ENJOY THAT. YOU'RE ALREADY FOCUSING ON WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO NEXT YEAR?

DAVID DUVAL
YEAH, A BIT. BUT, YOU KNOW UH, I SAW ON THE, IN THE LEAD IN, THE PUTT I MADE ON 18TH ON THE 72ND HOLE ON EASTLAKE AND UM, I CAN PROMISE YOU THAT I WAS ENJOYING THAT, WATCHING THAT GO IN, 'CAUSE I KNEW, UH, I KNEW THE MONEY TITLE WAS LOCKED UP. I KNEW THAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN A PUTT I NEEDED TO WIN THE VARDON.

UM, AND I WAS VERY EXCITED AT THAT POINT. BUT UH, SINCE THEN I -- I'VE ENJOYED IT CERTAINLY. UM, LAST FRIDAY WAS THE AWARD CEREMONY. IT WAS A WONDERFUL AFTERNOON. UM,

YOU KNOW, BUT I HAVE A BIG TOURNAMENT COMING UP IN SOUTH AFRICA AND THEN FROM THERE TO THE , UH, PRESIDENT'S CUP SO NOT A WHOLE LOT OF DOWN TIME.

SCOTT VAN PELT
SURE AND THE YEAR'S NOT DONE. I GUESS AT EASTLAKE ACTUALLY, THERE'S A LOT I WANT TO DISCUSS ABOUT '98 THAT EASTLAKE GIVES US A GOOD STARTING POINT BECAUSE YOU DIDN'T -- YOU DIDN'T GET OFF TO THE KIND OF THE BEGINNING THAT YOU WOULD HAVE LIKED THERE. I BELIEVE 75.

BUT THEN THE LAST 3 ROUNDS THERE, YOU WERE THE ONLY MAN UNDER PAR EACH AND EVERY ROUND. AND YOU WERE REALLY GRINDING COMING HOME ON SUNDAY BECAUSE YOU KNEW WHAT WAS STAKE.

DAVID DUVAL
YEAH, APPARENTLY UH, SOME FRIENDS OF MINE WHO WERE OVER THERE WATCHING, THEY -- I DIDN'T SEE IT IN THE PAPER SUNDAY NORM -- SUNDAY MORNING BUT APPARENTLY IT WAS PRINTED THAT I, UH, I NEEDED TO BEAT, UH, TIGER BY, I BELIEVE IT WAS, 4 SHOTS OR MORE TO WIN THE VARDON. AND UH,

I THINK IT -- WHEN I MADE THE TURN I WAS LIKE, EVEN, LIKE 4 SHOTS AHEAD OR MAYBE ONLY 3. UM, AND I WASN'T AS CONCERNED AT THAT POINT ABOUT THAT AS I WAS UH - IT, IT LOOKED LIKE JIM FURYK HAD A REALLY GOOD CHANCE

SCOTT VAN PELT
SURE.. SURE

DAVID DUVAL
TO WIN THE GOLF TOURNAMENT. AND UH, AND ALTHOUGH I HAD CLIMBED WAY, WAY UP AS OPPOSED TO WHERE I WAS ON UH FRIDAY, I WAS ACTUALLY I THINK 2 SHOTS IN LAST PLACE AT ONE POINT ON FRIDAY.

UM, I JUST KIND'A UH GOT IT ALL TOGETHER AND I PLAYED WELL. AND - AND I DID PLAY BEAUTIFUL THE LAST 3 DAYS. I ACTUALLY DID PLAY PRETTY GOOD THE 1ST DAY. UM, BUT I GOT EASTLAKED. YOU KNOW, I JUST ...

SCOTT VAN PELT
THE ROUGH WAS A LITTLE DICEY THERE.

DAVID DUVAL
I JUST MISSED IT BY -- I MISSED BY A FOOT HERE, A FOOT THERE AND, AND JUST HAD NO SHOTS.

SCOTT VAN PELT
IT'S DIFFICULT, PERHAPS IMPOSSIBLE, TO LOOK BACK ON A YEAR LIKE THIS WHERE YOU HAD SO MANY MOMENTS: THE 4 WINS, THE MONEY TITLE, THE VARDON TROPHY AND PICK ONE MOMENT THAT YOU FELT LIKE 'THAT WAS IT, THAT WAS THE BEST MOMENT FOR ME IN THE YEAR'.

BUT IT, COULD YOU TRY TO DO THAT RIGHT NOW? IS IT -- TO LOOK BACK AND SAY 'THAT WAS THE ONE MOMENT WHERE EVERYTHING WAS AS GOOD AS IT COULD BE ON THE GOLF COURSE.'

DAVID DUVAL
WELL UM, I DON'T KNOW ABOUT PICKING OUT THAT MOMENT. BUT, I WAS ASKED A SIMILAR QUESTION. UM, 'CAN I THINK OF A POINT AT WHICH THE YEAR REALLY GOT STARTED?' AND UH,

I HAVE A VERY SPECIFIC SHOT ACTUALLY. UM, YOU KNOW, I PLAYED WELL STARTING OUT THE YEAR. I THINK I FINISHED IN THE TOP 5 OR 6 FIRST COUPLE EVENTS.

UM, GOT TO TUCSON. I WAS 7 CLEAR OF THE FIELD STARTING THE FINAL ROUND. WE WERE STANDING ON 16, I WAS TIED. UM,

YOU KNOW, SO I HAD GIVEN AWAY 7 SHOTS. AND, I CHIPPED IN.

SCOTT VAN PELT
YOU'LL WANNA BRING IT UP.

DAVID DUVAL
YEAH, I CHIPPED IN AND UM, THAT'S WHAT REALLY TURNED IT ALL AROUND. IT WAS A, IT WAS A SITUATION WHERE I THINK IT WOULD HAVE BEEN THE LARGEST LEAD EVER LOST IN A PGA TOUR EVENT AND UH, I ENDED UP WINNING BY 4.

SCOTT VAN PELT
AND THEN IN SPITE OF ALL THAT YOU HAD DONE, THOSE QUESTIONS ABOUT BEING ABLE TO CLOSE WOULD HAVE COME UP AGAIN AND

YOU'D HAVE TO ANSWER THEM ALL OVER AGAIN.

DAVID DUVAL
OH ABSOLUTELY, IT'D HAVE BEEN GREAT.

SCOTT VAN PELT
PROBABLY NOT.

DAVID DUVAL
(LAUGH)

SCOTT VAN PELT
NOW, UH, THAT WAS A GREAT MOMENT WE -- IN THE LEAD-IN -- WE SAW A LITTLE BIT ABOUT AUGUSTA. AND I'M CURIOUS IF THAT WAS NOT NECESSARILY THE LOW POINT BECAUSE YOU PLAYED BEAUTIFULLY. YOU SHOOT 67 ON THE FINAL ROUND AND WERE RIGHT THERE, COULD HAVE PERHAPS WON THE GREEN JACKET.

BUT WHEN, WHEN O'MEARA MADE THAT PUTT, WAS IT, SOMETHING THAT I BELIEVE THAT YOU'RE QUOTED AS SAYING LIKE, SOMETHING LATER ON IN THE AFTERNOON IT'S LIKE BEING KICKED IN THE STOMACH A LITTLE BIT, WHEN YOU REALIZE

DAVID DUVAL
OH YEAH.

SCOTT VAN PELT
JUST HOW CLOSE YOU WERE. WAS THAT AWFULLY TOUGH TO DEAL WITH?

DAVID DUVAL
WELL, IT WAS. IT WAS VERY HARD TO DEAL WITH. UM,

YOU KNOW, I UH, YOU LOOK AT DAVIS LOVE WHO WON THE PGA IN '97 AND HAD A GREAT CHANCE ACTUALLY TO WIN THE OPEN IN '96 I BELIEVE. UH, YOU KNOW, AND -- AND I WILL ALWAYS LOOK AT, NO MATTER HOW I FINISHED IT, THERE WAS ALWAYS ONE THAT PROBABLY, MIGHT HAVE GOTTEN AWAY FROM ME.

YOU KNOW, I UH, IT WAS, I, AT THAT POINT I REALIZED THE DIFFERENCE FROM REGULAR EVENTS TO THE MAJORS.

UM, YOU KNOW, IT CERTAINLY DOESN'T FEEL GOOD WHEN YOU LOSE A GOLF TOURNAMENT AT ANY POINT. BUT, I WAS, I WAS NEVER AS DEFLATED AS I WAS AT THAT POINT. I UH, I SHOULD, I TOOK OFF THE NEXT COUPLE WEEKS.

SCOTT VAN PELT
YOU HAD SAID AFTER THAT TOURNAMENT, UH, AFTER THE MASTERS CONCLUDED, THAT YOU HAD BEEN WILLING TO GO DOWN IN FLAMES IN THE PURSUIT OF THE GREEN JACKET. IN OTHER WORDS, TAKE CHANCES, DO WHATEVER, WHATEVER IT TOOK TO WIN.

AND REALLY THAT'S NOT WHAT HAPPENED. I MEAN, YOU KIND OF GOT, ON 16 IT SLIDES OUT A LITTLE BIT, ENDS UP ON TOP OF THE HILL AND YOU WERE LEFT WITH A PUTT.

AND TWO PUTTING FROM THERE WAS ALMOST AN IMPOSSIBILITY SO YOU -- IT'S NOT LIKE YOU REALLY MADE HUGE MISTAKES. YOU GOT PERHAPS A BIT UNLUCKY THERE.

DAVID DUVAL
YEAH UM, 16'S, AS MOST GOLF FANS ARE FAMILIAR, IS A, IT'S ALWAYS THAT BACK LEFT. ON UM, ON SUNDAY AND IT'S A, IT'S A VERY DIFFCULT SHOT.

AND MY - MY SHOT, YOU CAN ARGUE, IT WAS A FOOT FROM BEING DOWN NEXT TO THE HOLE OR IT WAS 6 FEET. BUT IT WAS JUST, IT WAS A MATTER OF A FEW FEET.

AND THEN FROM WHERE I AM, UM, YOU REALIZE THAT UM, TO TWO PUTT YOU GONNA HAVE TO MAKE A 10 FOOT BACK PUTT COMING BACK.

SCOTT VAN PELT
'CAUSE THERE'S NO WAY TO STOP UNLESS YOU HIT THE HOLE.

DAVID DUVAL
NO. NO, I MEAN, YOU SEE I JUST GOT THE BALL OVER THE CREST OF THE HILL THERE AND IT WENT DOWN THERE AND UH,

YOU KNOW IT'S FUNNY, IT'S CUT, UH, YOU KNOW MY BALL IT WAS CUT A TOUCH LONGER CAUSE THE LITTLE INDENTIONS THROUGH THERE THE MOWERS DON'T GET THROUGH 'EM. THE BALL JUST DIDN'T QUITE GET THROUGH ON THE 2ND PUTT AND IT CAME UP, YOU KNOW, RIGHT, RIGHT JUST A LITTLE BIT SHORT.

SCOTT VAN PELT
17 AND 18, YOU HAD PUTTS THAT, FOR ALL THE WORLD LOOKED AS IF THEY MIGHT FIND THE BOTTOM.

DAVID DUVAL
UH-HUH.

SCOTT VAN PELT
NOW, THIS IS THE PUTT HERE OF COURSE ON 16

DAVID DUVAL
UH-HUH.

SCOTT VAN PELT
THAT JUST COMES UP A TOUCH SHORT AS YOU WERE JUST DESCRIBING. AND THEN, ON THE LAST 2 HOLES, REALLY HAD, HAD DECENT LOOKS AT BIRDIE THAT, AS I WAS SAYING FOR ALL THE WORLD, LOOKED LIKE THEY COULD GO IN.

DAVID DUVAL
YEAH.

SCOTT VAN PELT
YOUR REACTIONS, I THINK, TOLD IT ALL. IT LOOKED LIKE YOU THOUGHT PERHAPS YOU MADE THEM.

DAVID DUVAL
WELL YEAH. AND, AND EVEN MORE SO ON AN EAGLE PUTT I HAD ON 15.

IF I WAS TO WIN THAT GOLF TOURNAMENT, THE PUTTS ON 15 AND 17 CERTAINLY WOULD HAVE FALLEN. THIS PUTT, I MEAN, IT LOOKS IN THE HOLE RIGHT ALL THE WHOLE, THE WHOLE WAY.

SCOTT VAN PELT
THAT'S 17.

DAVID DUVAL
I MEAN, IT'S JUST (LAUGH), YOU KNOW, I MEAN, HOW DOES IT NOT GO IN? AND THOSE ARE THE TYPES OF PUTTS THAT FALL WHEN YOU WIN.

SCOTT VAN PELT
YOU AND JIM FURYK BOTH HAD LOOKS ON 18 AT SIMILAR PUTTS. JIM'S WAS ALONG THE SAME LINE.

DAVID DUVAL
YEAH.

SCOTT VAN PELT
THEY ARE ABOUT THE SAME LENGTH AND THEN MARK 'EM. YOU, YOU BOTH MISS JUST LEFT.

AND NOW HERE COMES MARK O'MEARA

DAVID DUVAL
UH-HUH.

SCOTT VAN PELT
WITH BASICALLY THE SAME PUTT, PERHAPS A BIT CLOSER. YOU KNEW WHAT HAD, WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN, UH, IN TERMS OF IT MAYBE MOVING A LITTLE TO THE LEFT.

DID IT SHOCK YOU WHEN HE MADE THAT PUTT. DID YOU THINK, 'I CAN'T BELIEVE HE JUST MADE THAT!'

DAVID DUVAL
(LAUGH) YOU KNOW, IT, IN ALL HONESTY, IT, I GUESS IT'S WISHFUL THINKING, UM, IT'S SELFISH BUT IT'S WISHFUL THINKING THAT, YOU KNOW, I GOTTA A REAL GOOD CHANCE OF BEING IN A PLAYOFF THERE. UM,

BUT AT THE SAME TIME, MARK WAS MY PARTNER AT THE PRESIDENT'S CUP AND, AND HE AND I WERE BOTH PLAYING BEAUTIFUL THAT WEEK.

AND I WAS REALLY STRIKING THE BALL WELL AND HE JUST KEPT TELLING ME 'JUST KEEP HITTIN' IT ON THE GREENS AND I'LL MAKE IT. AND I JUST KEPT HITTIN' IT 6 FEET, 10 FEET, 12 FEET, THROUGH AND HE MADE THEM ALL.

AND, I UH, I WAS NOT SURPRISED AT ALL TO SEE THAT PUTT GO IN.

SCOTT VAN PELT
WELL THAT IS SOMETHING WE'RE GONNA TALK ABOUT A LITTLE MORE. AND I DON'T THINK THAT ANYONE SHOULD FEEL TOO BADLY FOR YOU

DAVID DUVAL
NO, NOT AT ALL.

SCOTT VAN PELT
ABOUT NOT BEING PLAYER OF THE YEAR AND ABOUT NOT WINNING THE MASTERS. THERE'S PLENTY OF MORE MASTERS FOR YOU.

WE'RE GONNA TAKE A VERY SHORT BREAK. PLENTY OF MORE GOLF TALK LIVE RIGHT AFTER THIS WITH DAVID DUVAL. STAY WITH US, WON'T YOU.

(BREAK)

NEXT SEGMENT
Getty Images

USC's Gaston leaves to become head coach at A&M

By Ryan LavnerJune 19, 2018, 11:00 pm

In a major shakeup in the women’s college golf world, USC coach Andrea Gaston has accepted an offer to become the new head coach at Texas A&M.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Gaston, who informed her players of her decision Monday night, has been one of the most successful coaches over the past two decades, leading the Trojans to three NCAA titles and producing five NCAA individual champions during her 22-year reign. They have finished in the top 5 at nationals in an NCAA-record 13 consecutive seasons.

This year was arguably Gaston’s most impressive coaching job. She returned last fall after undergoing treatment for uterine cancer, but a promising season was seemingly derailed after losing two stars to the pro ranks at the halfway point. Instead, she guided a team with four freshmen and a sophomore to the third seed in stroke play and a NCAA semifinals appearance. Of the four years that match play has been used in the women’s game, USC has advanced to the semifinals three times.  

Texas A&M could use a coach with Gaston’s track record.

Last month the Aggies fired coach Trelle McCombs after 11 seasons following a third consecutive NCAA regional exit. A&M had won conference titles as recently as 2010 (Big 10) and 2015 (SEC), but this year the team finished 13th at SECs.

The head-coaching job at Southern Cal is one of the most sought-after in the country and will have no shortage of outside interest. If the Trojans look to promote internally, men’s assistant Justin Silverstein spent four years under Gaston and helped the team win the 2013 NCAA title.  

Getty Images

Spieth 'blacked out' after Travelers holeout

By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 9:44 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – It was perhaps the most-replayed shot (and celebration) of the year.

Jordan Spieth’s bunker holeout to win the Travelers Championship last year in a playoff over Daniel Berger nearly broke the Internet, as fans relived that raucous chest bump between Spieth and caddie Michael Greller after Spieth threw his wedge and Greller threw his rake.

Back in Connecticut to defend his title, Spieth admitted that he has watched replays of the scene dozens of times – even if, in the heat of the moment, he wasn’t exactly choreographing every move.


Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


“Just that celebration in general, I blacked out,” Spieth said. “It drops and you just react. For me, I’ve had a few instances where I’ve been able to celebrate or react on a 72nd, 73rd hole, 74th hole, whatever it may be, and it just shows how much it means to us.”

Spieth and Greller’s celebration was so memorable that tournament officials later shipped the rake to Greller as a keepsake. It’s a memory that still draws a smile from the defending champ, whose split-second decision to go for a chest bump over another form of celebration provided an appropriate cap to a high-energy sequence of events.

“There’s been a lot of pretty bad celebrations on the PGA Tour. There’s been a lot of missed high-fives,” Spieth said. “I’ve been part of plenty of them. Pretty hard to miss when I’m going into Michael for a chest bump.”

Getty Images

Pregnant Lewis playing final events before break

By Randall MellJune 19, 2018, 9:27 pm

Stacy Lewis will be looking to make the most of her last three starts of 2018 in her annual return to her collegiate roots this week.

Lewis, due to give birth to her first child on Nov. 3, will tee it up in Friday’s start to the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas. She won the NCAA individual women’s national title in 2007 while playing at the University of Arkansas. She is planning to play the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship next week and then the Marathon Classic two weeks after that before taking the rest of the year off to get ready for her baby’s arrival.

Lewis, 33, said she is beginning to feel the effects of being with child.

“Things have definitely gotten harder, I would say, over the last week or so, the heat of the summer and all that,” Lewis said Tuesday. “I'm actually excited. I'm looking forward to the break and being able to decorate the baby's room and do all that kind of stuff and to be a mom - just super excited.”

Lewis says she is managing her energy levels, but she is eager to compete.

“Taking a few more naps and resting a little bit more,” she said. “Other than that, the game's been pretty good.”

Lewis won the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in 2014, and she was credited with an unofficial title in ’07, while still a senior at Arkansas. That event was reduced to 18 holes because of multiple rain delays. Lewis is a popular alumni still actively involved with the university.

Getty Images

Just like last year, Spieth in desperate need of a spark

By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 8:38 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Jordan Spieth has arrived at the Travelers Championship in need of a turnaround. Again.

Spieth’s playoff victory last year over Daniel Berger, complete with a bunker hole-out and raucous celebration, went down as one of the most electrifying moments of 2017. It also propelled Spieth to some more major glory, as he won The Open in his very next start.

So it’s easy to forget the state of Spieth’s game when he first stepped foot on the grounds of TPC River Highlands a year ago. Things were, quite plainly, not going well.

He was struggling on the greens, even going so far as to switch putters at the AT&T Byron Nelson. He then failed to contend at Erin Hills, only netting a T-35 finish thanks to a final-round 69 that came hours before the leaders teed off.

So here we are again, with Spieth in search of a spark after a series of underwhelming performances that included last week’s effort at Shinnecock Hills, where he bogeyed the last two holes of his second round to miss the cut by a shot. Except this time, the climb back to the top may be even steeper than it was a year ago.

“I’m not sure where the state of my game is right now,” Spieth said. “If I strike the ball the way I have been this year, then the results are coming. But the last couple weeks I’ve played Muirfield and then the (U.S.) Open, and I hit the ball really poorly and didn’t give myself that many opportunities to let the putter do the work.”

While many big names play sporadically in the time between the Masters and U.S. Open, Spieth remained as busy as ever thanks to the Tour’s swing through Texas. So even after failing to contend much in the spring outside of a memorable finale in Augusta, and even after struggling for much of his week at TPC Sawgrass, Spieth looked out at his schedule and saw a myriad of possible turning points.

There was the AT&T Byron Nelson, played in his hometown and at a venue on which he was one of only a handful with any experience (T-21). Then a trip across town to Colonial, where he had beaten all but two players in a three-year stretch (T-32).


Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


Throw in the missed cuts at Muirfield Village and Shinnecock Hills, and Spieth has made it to the last leg of a six-event stretch that has included only one off week and, to date, zero chances to contend come Sunday.

“I think here this week, the key for me is just to get out in the first round and try not to do too much,” Spieth said. “I mean, 90-plus percent of the tournaments the last two years I’ve thrown out my chances to win a golf tournament on Thursday. I’ve had too much to do from here on.”

That was certainly the case last week on Long Island, where Spieth’s hopes for a fourth major title evaporated well before course conditions became a focal point over the weekend. He was 4 over through his first two holes and spent much of the next 34 stuck in a fit of frustration. He gave himself a glimmer of hope with four late birdies Friday followed by a pair of bogeys that snuffed it out with equal speed.

Spieth has continued to preach patience throughout the year, but there’s no getting around some eye-popping stats; he's 188th on Tour this year in strokes gained: putting and 93rd in fairways hit. It can foster a pressure to find a cure-all in any given week, especially given how quickly he got a middling summer back on track last year.

“It’s something that you fight, sure,” Spieth said. “It’s been that way just about every tournament except Muirfield, because then you go to the U.S. Open and think you don’t even have to shoot under par to win this golf tournament. So as much as that kind of comes into your head, it’s not bothering me this time. I’m going to try and have fun, and make progress.”

After this week, Spieth will have some down time with family before making the trip overseas to Carnoustie. He plans to have a few private dinners accompanied by the claret jug, one last toast to last year’s success before turning the trophy back over to the R&A.

But even Spieth admitted that as it pertains to his chances to follow in Brooks Koepka’s footsteps by successfully defending a major title, he’ll be greatly aided by working his way into the mix this weekend. It represents the last chance in this early-summer swing to get his name back on the leaderboard, an opportunity to light fire to a pedestrian campaign like he did a year ago.

No pressure.

“It’s your basic stuff that sometimes gets off, that the harder you try to get them back on sometimes, the worse it gets,” Spieth said. “It can be frustrating, or you can just kind of wait for it to come to you. I think I’m OK with where things are, whether it’s the rest of this year or next year. I feel like there are good scores coming.”