Golf Talk Live - Jan Stephenson Transcript Segment 3
LET'S SEE WHAT KEN WANTS TO ASK YOU. HELLO KEN.
KEN FROM FLORIDA
HOW ARE YOU TODAY, SIR?
HOW ARE YOU, SIR?
KEN FROM FLORIDA
JUST FINE. JAN, HOW ARE YOU?
I'M VERY WELL, THANK YOU.
KEN FROM FLORIDA
JAN, WE'RE VERY PROUD OF THE WAY YOU'VE BEEN PLAYING LATELY. WE'RE VERY PROUD OF WHAT A CLASS LADY YOU ARE.
KEN FROM FLORIDA
UH, I WAS WONDERING, WHAT IS THE SINGLE BIGGEST FACTOR IN THE ELEVATION OF YOUR PLAY IN THE LAST YEAR? I THOUGHT I HAD NOTICED THAT YOU HAD CHANGED CADDIES. I'M NOT SURE IF THAT WAS IT.
BUT IS THERE A SINGLE FACTOR UH, THAT CAUSED YOUR PLAY TO ELEVATE SO MUCH?
I GUESS THE SINGLE BIGGEST FACTOR IS PROBABLY THE IMPROVEMENT ON MY PUTTING BECAUSE I WORKED SO HARD UM, WITH MY LONG GAME, AS I SAID, TO CHANGE.
THAT I - I LOOKED AT ALL THE STATISTICS, AND - AND I WAS 156TH AND 151ST ON PUTTING TWO . IN 1970 - 1997 AND 1998. SO I - I'VE REALLY WORKED HARD ON THAT.
WHAT'S BETTER ABOUT IT? WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO MAKE IT BETTER? IS IT RHYTHM? IS IT MECHANICS?
DEFINITELY MECHANICS. I MEAN, I REALLY AM A STUDENT OF THE GAME. I - I'VE ACTUALLY VIDEOTAPED ALL THE TOP PUTTERS FROM TIGER AND KARRIE AND ALL THE TOP PUTTERS.
AND THEN I VIDEOTAPE IT. AND THEN WE SIT DOWN AND WE GO OVER ALL THE COMMON DENOMINATORS. I ACTUALLY CHANGED MY STROKE DRAMATICALLY.
HOW DIFFERENT IS YOUR GAME THAN IT WAS 20 YEARS AGO, SAY? WHAT DO YOU DO DIFFERENTLY ON THE GOLF COURSE? AND WHAT IS THE DISTANCE COMPARISON 20 YEARS AGO VERSUS TODAY?
WELL, I HIT IT LONGER NOW THAN I EVER DID WHEN I WAS WINNING. UM, MY SHORT GAME WAS BETTER, BUT I'M ACTUALLY - TECHNICALLY, I'M BETTER NOW.
I HAVE REALLY, REALLY WORKED HARD. TECHNICALLY, I HAVE, BY FAR, A BETTER GOLF GAME.
WHO'S THE BEST PLAYER THAT YOU'VE SEEN IN THE LAST 25 YEARS, FEMALE, THAT YOU'VE PLAYED WITH?
OH, IT'S NOT EVEN CLOSE. KARRIE'S SO FAR AHEAD. UH, I'VE SEEN - YOU KNOW, MICKEY WRIGHT HAD A BEAUTIFUL SWING. AND NANCY LOPEZ WAS A GREAT PUTTER. AND - AND ANNIKA HAD, YOU KNOW, WAS A WONDERFUL WEDGE PLAYER.
BUT KARRIE HAS IT ALL. I MEAN, SHE'S ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE THAT HAS NO WEAKNESSES. I MEAN, EVERY - EVEN - EVERY TOP PLAYER I'VE EVER SEEN, EVERY HALL OF FAMER, HAD SOME WEAKNESS IN THEIR GAME.
AND KARRIE HAS NONE. I MEAN, SHE'S PRETTY INCREDIBLE.
DOES SHE RESENT IN ANY WAY THE FACT THAT TIGER GETS SO MUCH MORE OF THE PRESS THAN SHE DOES WHEN HER LAST SEASON WAS JUST ABOUT AS IMPRESSIVE AS HIS?
I DON'T THINK SO. I THINK THAT TIGER HAS GONE OUT OF HIS WAY TO BE - I MEAN, HE'S FLAMBOYANT. AND HE - AND HE'S A LITTLE MORE PERSONALITY.
HE'S - HE'S FUN - MUCH MORE FUN TO WATCH THAN KARRIE. SO I THINK THAT HE PROBABLY DESERVES MORE.
DO YOU ENCOURAGE HER, AS HER FRIEND NOW, TO BE MORE FUN TO WATCH? OR IS IT REALLY IMPOSSIBLE FOR HER TO BREAK OUT AND ILL ADVISED TO BREAK OUT OF WHAT SHE'S GOT GOING RIGHT NOW?
I WOULDN'T - I'D TELL HER NOT TO CHANGE A THING. I MEAN, I WOULD LIKE TO . I'D LIKE TO HAVE HER GOLF GAME. I MEAN, IT . IT'S - IT'S PRETTY INCREDIBLE. AND - AND SHE BETTER NOT CHANGE ANYTHING. IT'S PERFECT.
ARE YOU AT ALL CONCERNED, TO UH PICK UP ON WHAT WE TALKED ABOUT A FEW MINUTES AGO, THE FACT THAT KARRIE AND SOME OF THE OTHERS AREN'T DOING SOME OF THE THINGS THAT YOU DID THAT ATTRACT FANS AND SPONSORS AND MORE MONEY?
AT SOME POINT, DOESN'T THERE HAVE TO BE THAT KIND OF A CONTRIBUTION FROM THE TOP PLAYERS TO SUSTAIN WHAT YOU AND THE OTHER PEOPLE OF YOUR GENERATION HAVE DONE TO BUILD THE TOUR?
WELL, SOME PEOPLE LIKE TO DO IT. I MEAN, NANCY AND I, FELT LIKE IT WAS NOT CAVORTING (???) REQUESTS. AND LIKE TO COME DO SOMETHING LIKE THIS IS FUN.
I MEAN, AND I LOVE MY FAN MAIL. I MEAN, I READ IT ALL. AND - AND UH, AND - AND I'LL - AND I GET UPSET IF I DON'T HAVE A BOX FULL OF FAN MAIL AT THE TOURNAMENTS AND - AND ALL THESE REQUESTS.
I MEAN, I GET REALLY UPSET IF I DON'T HAVE PEOPLES TO AUTOGRAPH - I MEAN, THINGS TO AUTOGRAPH. I MEAN, I - I LOVE THAT. I - I LIKE THAT SOMEBODY'S ACKNOWLEDGING THAT I'VE - THAT I'VE DONE A GOOD JOB.
SO IT'S JUST A DIFFERENCE IN PERSONALITY. AND THERE'LL BE SOME GIRLS THAT'LL COME ALONG THAT'LL LIKE IT TOO.
HOW MANY TIMES A WEEK DOES SOMEBODY BRING UP YOUR PIN-UP CALENDAR AND . UH, THAT'S STILL IN PRISTINE MINT CONDITION AND ASK YOU TO SIGN THIS THING THAT'S BEEN IN A SAFETY DEPOSIT BOX?
YOU WOULDN'T BELIEVE HOW MANY.
YES, I WOULD.
YOU KNOW, WHAT'S AMAZING IS THAT . (LAUGH)
BUT THEY DO IT FROM GREEN TO TEE THE NEXT - OR IN THE MIDDLE OF IT. AND UH, YOU KNOW, SOMETIMES IT'S PRETTY FUNNY.
BUT THE - THE FUNNIEST IS ALL - OF ALL IS WHEN YOU GO INTO . YOU KNOW, A LOT - QUITE OFTEN THE WOMEN'S LOCKER ROOMS AREN'T BIG ENOUGH WHEN WE PLAY IN THE TOURNAMENTS. SO WE GET TO HAVE THE MEN'S LOCKER ROOM AT THE TOURNAMENTS.
AND YOU'LL HEAR SOMEONE GO, 'JAN, THERE'S ONE IN THE LOCKER.' AND THERE'LL BE SOME - THERE'LL BE STILL ONE IN SOMEBODY'S LOCKER. AND I'LL HAVE TO COME UP AND WRITE SOMETHING DIRTY ON IT, JUST LET - JUST TO LET THEM KNOW. BUT IT'S SO FUNNY.
AND YOU'VE NEVER SAID 'NO' TO SIGNING ONE OF THOSE.
(CHUCKLE) NO, ACTUALLY I HAVEN'T.
I HAD A FEELING THAT THAT WAS THE CASE. LET'S TALK TO JOYCE IN OHIO.
JOYCE, CALLER IN OHIO (FEMALE):
HI, THANK YOU FOR TAKING MY CALL.
JOYCE FROM OHIO
JAN, WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE A FULL-TIME WOMEN'S SENIOR TOUR FORMED? AND DO YOU THINK IT WILL EVER HAPPEN?
WELL, ACTUALLY WE HAVE A SENIORS TOUR, AND WE FINALLY GOT APPROVAL FROM THE LPGA. WE'RE STARTING OURS AT 43 AND OVER. AND WE'RE ALLOWED TO HAVE IT OPPOSITE LIMITED FIELD EVENTS BECAUSE
IT WAS KIND OF - WE WERE REALLY HAVING TO STRUGGLE. WE HAVE, YOU KNOW, SPONSORS WAITING IN THE WINGS. UM, AND WE WANTED TO - TO LET SOME OF THE OLDER PLAYERS, YOU KNOW, THE KATHY WHITWORTH AND JANE BLALOCK AND - AND JOANNE CARNER .
AND NOT TO MENTION THE GIRLS - THERE'S QUITE A FEW GIRLS THAT HAVE RETIRED BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT EXEMPT ANYMORE. AND THERE'S SO MANY GREAT PLAYERS. AND IT'S HARD TO COMPETE WITH THESE YOUNG KIDS.
I MEAN, I HAVE TO WORK REALLY HARD TO BE ABLE TO COMPETE. BUT THEY - THESE GIRLS STILL HAVE WONDERFUL GAMES. AND IT'S NICE TO BE ABLE TO SEE THEM PLAY. BUT THE PROBLEM IS WE HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO.
NOW, THE LPGA HAVE SAID, 'IF YOU'LL GO 43 AND OVER' `CAUSE THEY - I GUESS, THEY DIDN'T WANT US TO TAKE AN INKSTER OR SOMEBODY AWAY. BUT UM, IT - AND WE'VE - WE ACTUALLY HAVE SOME TOURNAMENTS.
WE HAVE ONE IN GREEN BAY OPPOSITE OF THE WOMEN'S BRITISH OPEN. AND UH, WE HAVE A JUNIOR-SENIOR TOURNAMENT AT SHERWOOD IN NOVEMBER. SO WE HAVE ABOUT 4 EVENTS THIS YEAR
AND UH, AT 500 THOUSAND DOLLAR ADVANCED SET, 50 PLAYERS. AND UM, HOPEFULLY WE'RE GONNA HAVE ABOUT 10 NEXT YEAR. SO I'M SAVING MYSELF FOR THOSE TOO.
YOU JUST MENTIONED THE WOMEN'S BRITISH OPEN WHICH MAKES ME THINK THAT THE DU MAURIER, THE FOURTH MAJOR, BECAUSE OF ANTI-TOBACCO LEGISLATION MAY NOT BE THE FOURTH MAJOR ANYMORE,
THERE'S TALK THAT THEY MIGHT LEAVE IT AT 3. WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THAT OR WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE THEM ADD A FOURTH ONE? AND IF SO, WHAT WOULD PICK TO ADD?
I PROBABLY WOULDN'T PRICK - PICK THE BRITISH. I THINK THAT'S TOUGH. UM, I - I THINK TRAVELING OVERSEAS IS - IS REALLY TOUGH WHEN YOU HAVE TO COME RIGHT BACK AND PLAY.
AND IT'S NOT LIKE THE PGA WHERE THEY CAN HAVE SOME OF THE TOP PLAYERS NOT PLAY AND - AND WEAKEN THE FIELD. I MEAN, WE STILL HAVE TO HAVE OUR TOP PLAYERS THERE EVERY WEEK.
AND SO I THINK THAT UNTIL SOMEONE EMERGES THAT'S, YOU KNOW, A SUPERSTAR SPONSOR OR . I'D LIKE TO HAVE CARROT DANGLING. IF THEY COME WITH A LOT OF MONEY, THERE CAN BE A . UH, YOU KNOW UM,
A BIG MAJOR SPONSOR. SO I THINK IT'S FINE AT 3.
THAT'S A PRETTY ATTRACTIVE CARROT. WE'LL TAKE A LITTLE BREAK. WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK. AND AS WE LEAVE, LET'S TAKE A LOOK AT SOME OF HER ON COURSE HIGHLIGHTS OVER HER CAREER.
2-TIME AUSTRALIAN OPEN WINNER
ONE OF ONLY 5 PLAYERS TO WIN THE LPGA CHAMPIONSHIP, DU MAURIER AND U.S. WOMEN'S OPEN
ONLY AUSTRALIAN TO WIN THE U.S. WOMEN'S OPEN )
Watch: You have to see this golf swing to believe it
Ho-sung Choi is a 44-year-old South Korean touring pro who plays primarily on the Japan Golf Tour. This week he's competing in the Asian Tour's Kolon Korea Open, where he is in second place, two shots off the lead, after three rounds. This is especially significant because the Korea Open is an Open Qualiffying event, meaning he could qualify for this year's Open Championship.
That, however, is not why we're writing about Mr. Choi. The video above is why:
We're with Charlie here: We can't wait for Brandel's take on this swing.
Lopez fires flawless 63 for lead in Arkansas
ROGERS, Ark. – Since its first year on the LPGA Tour in 2007, the crowds at the NW Arkansas Championship have belonged to Stacy Lewis.
Another former University of Arkansas star staked her claim as the hometown favorite Friday when Gaby Lopez shot a career-low 8-under 63 to take the first-round lead at Pinnacle Country Club.
Like Lewis, the two-time winner of the tournament, Lopez starred as a three-time All-American for the Razorbacks before joining the LPGA Tour in 2016. Despite flashes of potential, Lopez had yet to join Lewis among the ranks of the world's best - missing the cut in her last two tournaments and entering this week ranked 136th in the world.
For a day, at least, the Mexican standout felt right at home atop the leaderboard in her adopted home state.
''I feel like home,'' Lopez said. ''I feel so, so comfortable out here, because I feel that everyone and every single person out here is just rooting for us.''
Moriya Jutanugarn was a stroke back along with Minjee Lee, Catriona Matthew, Nasa Hataoka, Lizette Salas, Mirim Lee and Aditi Ashok. Six others finished at 6 under on a day when only 26 of the 144 players finished over par, thanks to some mid-week rain that softened the greens and calm skies throughout the day.
Jutanugarn finished second at the tournament last year and is trying to win for the second time on the LPGA Tour this year. Her younger sister, Ariya, is already a two-time winner this year and shot an opening-round 66.
Lewis, the former world No. 1 who won the event in 2007 in 2014, finished with a 66. She's expecting her first child in early November
Defending champion So Yeon Ryu, coming off a victory Sunday in Michigan, shot a 67.
Friday was Lopez's long-awaited day to standout, though, much to the delight of the pro-Arkansas crowd.
After missing the cut her last two times out, Lopez took some time off and returned home to Mexico City to rest her mind and work on her game. The work paid off with two straight birdies to open her round and a 6-under 30 on her front nine.
Lopez needed only 25 putts and finished two shots off the course record of 61, and she overcame a poor drive on the par-5 18th to finish with a par and keep her place at the top of the leaderboard. Her previous low score was a 64 last year, and she matched her career best by finishing at 8 under.
''(Rest) is a key that no one really truly understands until you're out here,'' Lopez said. ''... Sometimes resting is actually the part you've got to work on.''
Harman rides hot putter to Travelers lead
CROMWELL, Conn. – There are plenty of big names gathered for the Travelers Championship, and through two rounds they’re all chasing Brian Harman.
Harman opened with a 6-under 64, then carded a 66 during Friday’s morning wave to become the only player to finish the first two rounds in double digits under par. The southpaw is currently riding a hot putter, leading the field in strokes gained: putting while rolling in 12 birdies and an eagle through his first 36 holes.
“Putted great today,” said Harman, who ranks 22nd on Tour this season in putting. “Got out of position a couple of times, but I was able to get myself good looks at it. I started hitting the ball really well coming down the stretch and made a few birdies.”
Harman, 31, has won twice on the PGA Tour, most recently at last year’s Wells Fargo Championship. While he doesn’t have a win this year, he started his season in the fall by reeling off five straight finishes of T-8 or better to quickly install himself as one of the leaders in the season-long points race.
Now topping a leaderboard that includes the likes of Jason Day, Bubba Watson and Rory McIlroy, he realizes that he’ll have his work cut out for him if he’s going to leave Connecticut with trophy No. 3.
“The putter has been really good so far, but I’ve been in position a lot. I’ve had a lot of good looks at it,” Harman said. “I’m just able to put a little pressure on the course right now, which is nice.”
10-second rule costs Zach Johnson a stroke
CROMWELL, Conn. – Zach Johnson heads into the weekend one shot back at the Travelers Championship, but he was a matter of seconds away from being tied for the lead.
Johnson had an 18-foot birdie putt on No. 3 at TPC River Highlands, his 12th hole of the day, but left the ball hanging on the lip. As Johnson walked up to tap the ball in, it oscillated on the edge and eventually fell in without being hit.
Was it a birdie, or a par?
According to the Rules of Golf, and much to Johnson’s chagrin, the answer was a par. Players are afforded “reasonable” time to walk to the hole, and after that they are allowed to wait for 10 seconds to see if the ball drops of its own accord. After that, it either becomes holed by a player’s stroke, or falls in and leads to a one-shot penalty, resulting in the same score as if the player had hit it.
According to Mark Russell, PGA Tour vice president of rules and competitions, Johnson’s wait time until the ball fell in was between 16 and 18 seconds.
“Once he putts the ball, he’s got a reasonable amount of time to reach the hole,” Russell said. “Then once he reaches the hole, he’s got 10 seconds. After 10 seconds, the ball is deemed to be at rest.”
Johnson tried to emphasize the fact that the ball was oscillating as he stood over it, and even asked rules officials if marking his ball on the edge of the hole would have yielded a “bonus 10 seconds.” But after signing for a 2-under 68 that brought him within a shot of leader Brian Harman, the veteran took the ruling in stride.
“The 10-second rule has always been there. Vague to some degree,” Johnson said. “The bottom line is I went to tap it in after 10 seconds and the ball was moving. At that point, even if the ball is moving, it’s deemed to be at rest because it’s on the lip. Don’t ask me why, but that’s just the way it is.”
While Johnson brushed off any thoughts of the golf gods conspiring against him on the lip, he was beaming with pride about an unconventional par he made on No. 17 en route to a bogey-free round. Johnson sailed his tee shot well right into the water, but after consulting his options he decided to drop on the far side of the hazard near the 16th tee box.
His subsequent approach from 234 yards rolled to within 8 feet, and he calmly drained the putt for an unexpected save.
“I got a great lie. Just opened up a 4-hybrid, and it started over the grandstands and drew in there,” Johnson said. “That’s as good of an up-and-down as I’ve witnessed, or performed.”