Golf Talk Live - Freddie Haas Transcript Segment 2
IN THE 1930'S, BEN HOGAN WAS PROFESSIONAL FOR TEN YEARS BEFORE HE ACTUALLY WON HIS FIRST TOUR EVENT IN NORTH AND SOUTH AT PINEHURST IN 1940. WHAT WAS HIS SWING LIKE AND WHAT WAS HIS PERSONALITY LIKE BEFORE HE WAS THE WINNING BEN HOGAN?
WELL BEN ALWAYS WAS, YOU COULDN'T SAY HE WAS A LONER BECAUSE HE REALLY WASN'T. HE TALKED TO YOU IF YOU WANTED TO BUT NOT TOO MUCH, BUT
DON'T ASK HIM TOO MANY QUESTIONS, BUT WHEN HE CAME OUT ON THE TOUR SAM SNEAD WAS DOMINATING THE TOUR AND HE WAS FINISHING SECOND AND I ASKED THE PEOPLE IN NEW ORLEANS, I SAID, WE GOING TO PLAY THE NEW ORLEANS OPEN? YEAH HOW 'BOUT LETTING ME
PLAY WITH BEN HOGAN. I'D LIKE TO SEE WHY HE'S FINISHING SECOND AND I SAW IT ON THE FIRST TEE. WE GOT UP THERE AND HE HIT A LOW DUCKING RUNNING HOOK THAT WENT ABOUT 155 YARDS... IN THE ROUGH.
SO, HE CAN'T REACH THE GREEN SO HE TAKES OUT AN IRON AND HE HITS THE SAME TYPE OF A SHOT. HE'S STILL IN THE ROUGH. WELL NOW HE'S ABOUT 150
YARDS FROM THE GREEN AND, WITHOUT CHOOSING ANOTHER CLUB HE JUST HITS THAT CLUB, TOPS THE BALL, RUNS UP THERE 25 FEET FROM THE CUP AND HE HOLED THE PUTT FOR A FOUR.
NOW WHEN YOU LOOK AT THAT FOUR THAT HE MADE AND THE ONE THAT HENRY PICKET (?) AND SAM SNEAD MADE LOOKS THE SAME DOESN'T IT?
ON THE CARD.
BUT FOR SOME REASON OR ANOTHER YOU CAN'T PLAY GOLF THAT WAY AND I DIDN'T SEE BEN FOR BETWEEN NINE MONTHS AND MAYBE A YEAR AND WHEN I SAW HIM HE HAD A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT SWING
AND I SAID TO BEN, I SAID BEN YOU'VE CHANGED YOUR SWING. OH YEAH HE SAID. I SAID WHY? HE SAID I JUST DECIDED THAT YOU WOULD NEVER WIN A NATIONAL OPEN MAJOR CHAMPIONSHIP HITTING A DUCK HOOK. HE SAID I HAVE CHANGED SO THAT I'M COMING IN THIS
WAY. HE SAID I DON'T WANT ANYMORE OF THIS. HE SAID, YOU SAW WHAT HAPPENED TO ME WHEN I PLAYED WITH YOU IN NEW ORLEANS. I SAID YEAH BUT I'M LOOKING AT YOU NOW AND YOU LOOK
LIKE A DIFFERENT MAN TO ME. HE SAID WELL I HOPE SO.
AFTER THE WAR WAS OVER OR CERTAINLY WINDING DOWN IN THE PACIFIC IN THE SUMMER OF '45, THE SUMMER OF THE NELSON STREAK, THE ONE THAT YOU BROKE BY WINNING IN MEMPHIS, THERE'S
BEEN CRITICISM THAT NELSON IN THAT YEAR THAT HE WON ELEVEN IN A ROW AND EIGHTEEN OUT OF THE THIRTY EVENTS THAT HE PLAYED IN INCLUDING SEVEN SECOND PLACE FINISHES
THAT THERE WASN'T ANYBODY THERE FOR HIM TO BEAT. COULD YOU SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT ON THAT?
WELL ALL I KNOW IS THE SCORES THAT HE SHOT WERE JUST PHENOMENAL. AND I KNOW THAT HE HAD TO PLAY 36 HOLES TO BEAT SNEAD IN CHARLOTTE (?) IN ONE OF THE TOURNAMENTS THAT HE WON. I DON'T KNOW WHETHER IT'S SECOND, THIRD, FORTH, OF FIFTH. DIDN'T MATTER.
BUT HE HAD SHOT SUCH PHENOMENALLY LOW SCORES. I PLAYED WITH HIM MANY TIMES AND HE WOULD SHOOT 65 OR 66 AND HOW WOULD HE SHOOT IT? SOME OF THEM WERE DIFFICULT AND SOME OF
THEM WERE EASY. HE WOULD HIT EITHER THREE OR FOUR PAR 5'S IN TWO. THAT'S THREE TO FOUR UNDER PAR. I HAVE NEVER PLAYED A ROUND OF GOLF WITH BYRON NELSON WHEN HE DIDN'T HIT TWO
SHOTS LIKE THIS, NOW YOU'RE FIVE OR SIX UNDER PAR. THE NEXT TIME YOU SEE HIM HE'S PEPPERING THIS THING AROUND TEN, TWELVE, NO MORE THAN FIFTEEN FEET FROM THE HOLE AND HE'D MAKE ONE OR TWO AND THAT 65 OR 66. I WOULD SAY
THAT THAT'S A RATHER GOOD ROUND OF GOLF.
WHEN HE WON THE FIRST OF HIS ELEVEN IN A ROW, THAT WAS A BEST BALL EVENT WITH JUG MCSPADEN AS HIS PARTNER.
AND A LOT OF PEOPLE SAY WELL HOW CAN YOU COUNT THAT TEAM WIN IN THE STREAK? DO YOU COUNT IT?
OH ABSOLUTELY BECAUSE THEY, THEY PLAYED SOME PRETTY TOUGH CUSTOMERS BACK THERE AND THEY HAD NO CINCH TO WIN AND NELSON ACTUALLY, HE WAS (LAUGHS) HE WAS A LITTLE BETTER THAN,
THAN MCSPADEN BUT DON'T THINK MCSPADEN COULDN'T PLAY AND MCSPADEN THROW AN EAGLE AT YOU HERE AND THERE AND EVERYWHERE
BECAUSE HE COULD WOP THAT BALL OUT THERE A LONG WAY AND IT WAS A VERY GOOD TEAM BUT THEY HAD SOME VERY GOOD MATCHES AND THEY PLAYED SOME
VERY GOOD PLAYERS.
NOW OF COURSE IN THAT YEAR, SNEAD ENDED UP PLAYING 26 TIMES, HOGAN PLAYED 18 TIMES, HOGAN SET THE SCORING RECORD AT 261 THAT YEAR.
THAT NELSON ENDED UP BREAKING JUST A COUPLE OF WEEKS LATER BY SHOOTING 259 FOR 72 HOLES. WHEN THE WAR ENDED ON AUGUST 14TH OF 1945 AS JAPAN SURRENDERED, THE FIRST POST WAR TIME PROFESSIONAL TOURNAMENT WAS THE
ONE THAT YOU WON THAT WEEK IN MEMPHIS. HOW AWARE WERE YOU AS YOU WENT INTO THE FINAL ROUND WITH A BIG LEAD AND BEING PAIRED WITH NELSON OF A SENSE OF PRESSURE TO WIN THE GOLF TOURNAMENT.
(LAUGHS) I SAID TO MYSELF, WHAT AM I GOING TO HAVE TO SHOOT TO WIN THIS TOURNAMENT? I'M LEADING NELSON BY FOUR STROKES AND MY REASONING WAS
THIS. I BELIEVE THAT IF I KEEP MY HEAD ABOUT ME I MIGHT BE ABLE TO MAKE 18
STRAIGHT PARS. THAT MEANS HE'S GOT TO SHOOT 5 UNDER PAR TO BEAT ME. I SAID I KNOW HE CAN DO THAT BUT I SAID THAT'S MY GOAL. SO I PLAYED THE FIRST
FIVE HOLES IN EVEN PAR AND I'VE LOST TWO STROKES. WELL I CAN ASSURE YOU, TWO STROKES IS NOT ENOUGH TO BE PLAYING BYRON NELSON WHEN HE WAS PLAYING AS HE WAS. AND HE GOT THE TOUGHEST BREAK I'VE EVER HEARD OF,
ON THE 6TH HOLE. IT WAS A HOLE, HE'D HIT A 7 IRON AND HE HIT THIS BALL WAY UP IN THE AIR AND IT'S GOING IN THE HOLE. JUST SURE AND SHOOTING IT'S GOING IN THE HOLE, BUT IT HITS THE FLAG ABOUT THIS FAR ABOVE THE CUP AND THAT BALL
SHWOOT! OFF THE GREEN. ALL THE WAY OFF THE GREEN. A GOOD 40 OR 50 FEET. HOO! I SAID HE DIDN'T MAKE A HOLE IN ONE, LET'S SEE WHAT I CAN DO.
I CAUGHT A SIX IRON UP THERE. HAD IT, GOT IT ABOUT SIX FEET. NOW HE'S GOT TO CHIP THE BALL FROM SHORT OF THE GREEN AND HE HITS THE RIM OF THE CUP AND IT GOES FIVE FEET BY AND NOW HE'S
HIT THE CUP TWICE AND HE'S LYING THREE AND I'VE GOT A SIX FOOT PUTT FROM ME TO YOU AND I DON'T KNOW HOW THE BALL WENT IN BUT IT DID, AND THEN HE LIPPED OUT AGAIN AND HE MAKES FOUR, NOW I'VE PICKED UP TWO STROKES
I'M FOUR STROKES UP AND SOME HOW OR ANOTHER, THE GAME GOT A LITTLE EASIER AND I WENT ON TO SHOOT 68 WHICH I THOUGHT WAS A PRETTY DECENT ROUND.
NOW, BEING AN AMATEUR AT THE TIME, YOU COULD WEAR SHORTS ALL FOUR DAYS AND DID, RIGHT?
AND THE PROS COULDN'T
I HAD A BIG ADVANTAGE.
SO BYRON GOT BEAT BY A GUY WEARING BERMUDA SHORTS.
YEAH, THAT'S RIGHT
WE'LL TAKE A SHORT BREAK. WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK AND KEEP THIS GOING.
"The Men In Blazers" Hosting Nightly Show From The Open, July 18-22 on NBCSN
Show to Include Off-beat Interviews, Unique Features and Men In Blazers Distinctive Takes on The Open
Culminating in France’s thrilling win on Sunday, NBC Sports’ critically-acclaimed The Men In Blazers – Roger Bennett and Michael Davies – have spent the past month breaking down all of the action surrounding the FIFA World Cup. However, there will be no rest for the duo as they leave behind their Panic Room studio in the “crap part of SoHo” in Manhattan to host a nightly show in conjunction with The 147TH Open. The show will feature the pair’s signature, unconventional style in providing unique takes on golf’s original championship while “sporting an arsenal of the finest golf sweaters that could be found on eBay.” Originating from Carnoustie Golf Links in Scotland, Men In Blazers will air nightly on NBCSN Wednesday, July 18 through Sunday, July 22.
In addition to delivering a series of features for NBC Sports’ coverage surrounding The Open, the nightly Men In Blazers show on NBCSN will offer expanded highlights following each round; off-beat interviews, special guests and cameos; along with non-traditional stories highlighting cultural elements relevant to Carnoustie and The Open.
“Both Davo and I grew up with The Open being the heartbeat of our sporting year,” said Bennett. “To cover it from that beautiful monster that is Carnoustie is the honor of a lifetime. We look forward to savoring every attempt to tame Hogan’s Alley, the futile battle between man and nature, and all those ‘subtle’ Ian Poulter wardrobe changes, in equal measure.”
Dedicated features being showcased over the duration of the week include: a retrospect on past Opens having been staged at Carnoustie; an in-depth recollection of the unforgettable 1999 Open; an introduction to the second-oldest golf shop in the world; a history lesson on Carnoustie and its influence on golf around the world; and an examination of Carnoustie’s local delicacy known as “bridies”.
MEN IN BLAZERS AIRTMES FOR THE 147TH OPEN WEEK (All Times EST)
Wednesday, July 18 11-11:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
Thursday, July 19 11-11:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
Friday, July 20 1-1:30 a.m. (NBCSN, Saturday overnight)
Saturday, July 21 11:30 p.m.-Midnight (NBCSN)
Sunday, July 22 10-10:30 p.m. (NBCSN)
Woods delofts 2-iron to use off Carnoustie tees
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods has been effective this season hitting a 2-iron off many tees, reverting to a version of the stinger shot he made so popular.
This week at baked out and brown Carnoustie he went to the next level, adding a new 2-iron to his bag that he bent to 17 degrees, down from his normal 20-degree version.
“I took a few degrees off of it, just trying to be able to have the ability to chase one down there,” he explained on Tuesday.
Woods said he still carries the club about the same distance, from 245 to 250 yards, but “it gets to its final destination much differently [on the ground].”
“Obviously, it rolls out whereas mine back home, I've generally liked having it 20 degrees because I can hit the ball into the par 5s as an option,” he said. “This one's not really designed for hitting the ball in the air to par 5s as an option. It's more of a driving club.”
After playing two practice rounds, Woods said he wasn’t sure how much he would use the new 2-iron given the dry conditions which have led to ridiculously long tee shots, and he said he might adjust the club more if the course doesn’t slow down.
“If it softens up, it could be a good club,” he said. “If it doesn't soften up, then I might just add a degree to it and keep it a little softer and not have it so hot.”
The Open is the second consecutive event where Woods has added to his bag. At The National earlier this month, he went with a new mallet-headed putter that he plans to continue to use this week.
Europeans out to end the recent American dominance
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – In golf’s biggest events, the Americans have left the rest of the world feeling red, white and mostly blue.
If you’re wondering whether the U.S. currently holds a meaningful title, the answer is probably yes.
Golf’s four majors? Yep.
The Ryder Cup? Indeed.
The No. 1 player in the world? Absolutely.
The Presidents, Solheim, Walker, Palmer and Curtis Cups? Uh-huh.
It’s been a popular talking point at the men’s majors, as Europe’s finest players have been peppered about why they’ve all seemingly fallen under Uncle Sam’s spell.
After all, the Americans haven’t ripped off five major wins in a row like this since 1981-82 – when Justin Rose was still in diapers.
“I don’t know what I’d put it to down to,” the Englishman said Tuesday, “other than the American boys in the world rankings and on the golf course are performing really, really well. The top end of American golf right now is incredibly strong.”
Since 2000, the Americans have taken titles at eight of the nine courses on the modern Open rota. The only one they’ve yet to conquer is Carnoustie, and that’s probably because they’ve only had one crack at it, in 2007, when an Irishman, Padraig Harrington, prevailed in a playoff.
Not since Tom Watson in 1975 has a U.S. player survived Carnoustie, arguably the most difficult links on the planet. But Americans ranging from Dustin Johnson to Tiger Woods comprise six of the oddsmakers' top 10 favorites, all listed at 25/1 or better.
“America, there’s no doubt about it, and there’s no other way to put it, other than they have an exceptional bunch of players at the moment,” Tommy Fleetwood said. “It just so happens that it has been a run of American golfers that have won majors, but at the same time, they’ve generally been the best players in the world at the time that they’ve won them.
“You don’t really look at them as a nationality. You just look at them as players and people, and you can understand why they’re the ones winning the majors.”
Indeed, there’s not a fluke among them.
Since this American run began last summer at Erin Hills, Brooks Koepka (twice), Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Patrick Reed have hoisted trophies. All were inside the top 25 in the world when they won. All were multiple-time winners on the world stage before that major. And all, most ominously for Europe, were 29 or younger.
“There’s a bit of camaraderie amongst all of them,” Rose said. “I know Brooks and Dustin are incredibly close, and you’ve got Rickie (Fowler) and Justin Thomas and Jordan as a group are all really close. It’s working really well for them. They’re spurring each other on.”
That’s why there’s even more anticipation than usual for the Ryder Cup. The Americans haven’t won on foreign soil in a quarter century, but this band of brothers is better and closer than those who have tried and failed before them. Couple that with a few aging stars on the European side, and there’s a growing sense that the Americans could be on the verge of a dominant stretch.
That should sound familiar.
During an eight-major span in 2010-11, the most common refrain was: What’s Wrong with American Golf? International players captured seven consecutive majors, including six in a row at one point. They took over the top spot in the world rankings. They turned the Ryder Cup into a foregone conclusion. In the fall of 2010, Colin Montgomerie pounded his chest and declared that there’d been a “changing of the guard over to Europe,” and it was hard to find fault in his reasoning.
“European golf was very healthy a few years ago for a long time,” McIlroy said. “It seemed like every major someone from the island of Ireland turned up to, we were winning it. It doesn’t seem that long ago.”
Because it wasn’t.
So even though it’s been more than a year since an International player held any title of consequence, these types of runs are cyclical, and Europe in particular has no shortage of contenders.
Major drought or not, McIlroy is a threat every time he tees it up. Rose turns 38 in two weeks, but he’s playing arguably the best golf of his career, recording a top-10 finish in a ridiculous 17 of his past 21 starts. Fleetwood is fresh off a runner-up finish at the U.S. Open, where he closed with 63. Jon Rahm is a top-5 machine. Alex Noren just won on the Ryder Cup course in France.
“I think Tommy, clearly, showed how close the Europeans are to challenging that dominance as well,” Rose said. “So it’s not like we’re a mile behind. It’s just that they’re on a great run right now, and there’s no reason why a European player shouldn’t come through this week.”
Links to the past: Tiger's return revives Open memories
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tiger Woods rekindles his love affair with links golf this week at Carnoustie, which seems about right considering his introduction to the ancient ways of the game began here on the Angus coast.
It was here on the most brutal of the Open Championship rota courses that a 19-year-old Tiger first played links golf at the 1995 Scottish Open, an eye-opening and enlightening experience.
“I remember my dad on the range with me, saying, ‘Are you ever going to hit the ball past the 100 yard sign?’” Woods recalled on Tuesday at Carnoustie, his first start at The Open since 2015. “I said, ‘No, I'm just enjoying this. Are you kidding me? This is the best.’”
During this most recent comeback, Tiger has been all smiles. A new, relaxed version of his former self made calm and approachable by age and the somber influence of injury. But this week has been different.
During a practice round with Justin Thomas on Monday he laughed his way all the way around the brown and bouncy seaside layout. Much of that had to do with his return to the unique ways of links golf, the creative left side of his brain taking the wheel from the normally measured right side for one glorious week.
He talked of game plans and strategic advantages on a parched pitch that has seen drives rolling out over 400 yards. At his core, Tiger is a golf nerd for all the right reasons and this kind of cerebral test brings out the best of that off-the-charts golf IQ.
Although there are no shortages of defining moments in Tiger’s career and one can make all sorts of arguments for what would be his seminal moment – from the 1997 Masters to the 2008 U.S. Open –the 2006 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool stands out, based on near-perfect execution.
In ’06 at Liverpool, which played to a similar shade of dusty yellow as Carnoustie will this week, Tiger hit just a single driver, opting instead for a steady diet of long irons off tees. For the week he hit 48 of 56 fairways, 58 of 72 greens and rolled the field for a two-stroke victory and his third, and most recent, claret jug.
This Open has all the makings of a similar tactical tour de force. For this championship he’s put a new 2-iron into play that’s more like a strong 1-iron (17 degrees) and imagines, given the conditions, a similar low, running menu.
“It could be that way,” Woods said when asked the similarities between this week’s conditions and the ’06 championship. “I'm not going to hit that many long clubs off the tees, just because I hit a 3-iron on Monday, down 18, I went 333 [yards]. It can get quick out here.”
If Tiger ever needed a major championship confidence boost the Carnoustie Open would be it, an inspiring walk down memory lane to a time when he was the undisputed king of golf.
“[The ’06 Open] is the closest you can compare to this,” David Duval said. “But I struggle to remember that golf course being as fast as this one. It was close, but this one is something else.”
Ernie Els had a slightly different take, albeit one that was no less ominous to the rest of the field this week.
“Liverpool is on a sand hill, this has a bit more run to it,” Els said. “But it’s got the same feel. It’s almost like St. Andrews was in 2000. Very, very fast.”
It’s worth noting that Tiger also won that ’00 Open at the Home of Golf with an even more dominant performance. It is the unique challenges of the links test that make many, even Tiger, consider the Open Championship his best chance to continue his pursuit of Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors.
More than any other Grand Slam gathering, The Open is blind to age and the notion of players competing past their prime. In 2008 at Royal Birkdale, then-53-year-old Greg Norman flirted with the lead until the very end, finishing tied for third; a year later at Turnberry, Tom Watson came within one hole of history at 59 years young.
“It certainly can be done,” Woods said. “You get to places like Augusta National, where it's just a big ballpark, and the golf course outgrows you, unfortunately. That's just the way it goes. But links-style golf courses, you can roll the ball. Even if I get a little bit older, I can still chase some wood or long club down there and hit the ball the same distance.”
Whether this is the week Tiger gets back into the Grand Slam game depends on his ability to replicate those performances from years past on a similarly springy course. As he exited the media center bound for the practice putting green on Tuesday he seemed renewed by the cool sea breeze and the unique challenges of playing the game’s oldest championship.
Coming back to Carnoustie is more than a reintroduction to links golf; for Tiger it’s starting to feel like a bona fide restart to his major career.