Golf Talk Live - Lanny Wadkins Transcript Segment 2

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 14, 2000, 5:00 pm
PETER KESSLER
SO WHEN YOU DECIDED NOT TO GO TO WAKE FOREST FOR YOUR FINAL YEAR AND TURNED PRO, ARNIE TURNED OUT TO BE UNHAPPY FOR A COUPLE OF REASONS, RIGHT?

LANNY WADKINS
WELL, I WAS ON HIS SCHOLARSHIP AT WAKE. AND UH, I'M SURE HE WOULD LIKED TO HAVE SEEN ME COMPLETE UH MY EDUCATION AT WAKE FOREST. BUT UH,

I HAD SPENT A LOT OF MONEY, WAS IN DEBT FROM PLAYING AMATEUR GOLF. AND UH, I'D GOTTEN MARRIED IN COLLEGE. AND UH . YOU KNOW, WHEN YOU'RE IN DEBT AND MARRIED,

YOU - YOU BETTER GO FIND A WAY TO GO MAKE SOME MONEY. AND THE ONLY WAY I KNEW AT THAT POINT IN TIME WAS PLAYING GOLF SO I - I TURNED PRO. AND IN MY FIRST YEAR ON TOUR UH, I ACTUALLY WON THE SAHARA INVITATIONAL

IN VEGAS AND UH, BEAT ARNOLD BY A SHOT. SO UH .

PETER KESSLER
THAT WAS THE SECOND REASON.

LANNY WADKINS
THAT WAS PROBABLY THE SECOND REASON, YEAH.

PETER KESSLER
IN THOSE DAYS, YOU KNOW, ARNIE HAD A REPUTATION OF NOT DRIVING IT VERY STRAIGHT. BUT THE REALITY IS HE MAY HAVE BEEN AS STRAIGHT AND AS LONG A DRIVER AS WAS ON THE TOUR IN THAT DECADE.

LANNY WADKINS
YEAH, AND HE HAD A GREAT BALL FLIGHT. I - I LOVED HIS BALL FLIGHT. I'D LIKE TO EMULATE HIS BALL FLIGHT `CAUSE IT WAS A DRIVING FLIGHT. IT WAS IN TURNED OVER. I FELT LIKE IT'D WORK IN ANY CONDITIONS.

I THINK - I'VE ALWAYS FELT THE BEST DRIVERS DIDN'T DRIVE IT UP IN THE AIR. THEY DROVE IT, YOU KNOW, ON A LINE, JUST STAYED UNDER CONTROL. UH, IT WORKS IN WIND. IT WORKS ON WET COURSES. IT WORKS ON DRY COURSES.

AND UH, IT JUST FINDS ITS WAY IN PLAY. I JUST THINK THAT THE MORE THE BALL IS ON THE LINE, THE LESS IT'S GONNA CURVE, AND THUS, IT'S GONNA HIT MORE FAIRWAYS.

PETER KESSLER
WHAT WAS THE SHAPE OF THE SHOT THAT YOUR IDOL, SAM SNEAD, USED TO HIT OFF THE TEE?

LANNY WADKINS
HMM, JUST WHATEVER HE WANTED. I MEAN, SAM'S PROBABLY THE MOST UH AMAZING TALENT I'VE EVER SEEN WITH A GOLF CLUB. I - I COULD JUST WATCH HIM PLAY FOREVER. AND UM .

GROWING UP IN VIRGINIA, HE WAS ALWAYS MY IDOL. I JUST PULLED FOR HIM EVERY TOURNAMENT HE PLAYED IN. AND UH, THE CHANCE TO PLAY WITH HIM - I MEAN, I PLAYED WITH SAM ON TOUR.

I MEAN, THAT'S .. YOU KNOW, HOW LONG HE PLAYED AND HOW EFFECTIVE HE WAS STILL PLAYING. UH, I PLAYED WITH HIM. UH, ONE OF THE NEATEST THINGS IS THE '73 U.S. OPEN THAT JOHNNY MILLER WON.

I THINK I FINISHED SIXTH UH . THE FIRST ROUND I WAS ACTUALLY PAIRED WITH UH BEN CRENSHAW AND SAM SNEAD. SO SAM HAD THOSE, YOU KNOW, 2 'FLIPPY WRISTED' COLLEGE KIDS SO IT WAS KIND OF FUN.

PETER KESSLER
WHAT'D SAM SAY TO YOU THE DAY THAT YOU PLAYED WITH GAY BREWER, THE 2 OF YOU IN THE CBS GOLF CLASSIC? AND IF I REMEMBER, YOU SHOT 63. SAM SHOT 66. AND YOU WON 17 OF THE 18 SKINS?

LANNY WADKINS
17 SKINS, YEAH, SAM WON ONE AND HE SAID . AND 18, I . I THINK I MADE A - A BIRDIE AT FIRESTONE TO WIN ABOUT THE LAST 4 SKINS. AND HE JUST CALLED ME A 'FLIPPY WRISTED' COLLEGE KID, YOU KNOW. SO IT WAS . IT WAS KIND OF NEAT. BUT UH .

I JUST LOVE PLAYING WITH SAM. HE WAS . WE'VE ALWAYS GOTTEN ALONG GREAT UH . SAME KIND OF - WE LOVE THE SAME JOKES, SAME SENSE OF HUMOR AND UH, MAYBE IT'S THE VIRGINIA UPBRINGING, WHO KNOWS.

BUT WE UH . UH, WE JUST ENJOY EACH OTHER'S COMPANY, ENJOY PLAYING.

PETER KESSLER
LOOKING BACK AT JOHNNY MILLER, YOU MENTIONED HIM IN THE . WINNING THE '73 OPEN, OF COURSE, WITH THAT FINAL ROUND 63. TELL US ABOUT THE QUALITY OF HIS IRON PLAY WHEN HE WAS AT HIS BEST.

LANNY WADKINS
WELL, IT WAS THE BEST I'VE SEEN. I THINK JOHNNY, FOR A PERIOD OF YEARS, HE WAS PROBABLY THE BEST BALL STRIKER I EVER SAW. UH .

I MEAN, I NEVER THOUGHT JOHNNY WAS A PARTICULARLY GOOD PUTTER. I MEAN, HE MADE PUTTS BUT HE HAD . HE JUST HIT IT SO MUCH CLOSER THAN EVERYBODY ELSE. HE DIDN'T - HE NEVER REALLY HAD TO PUTT GOOD.

AND I THINK THAT'S ONE THING THAT'S HAPPENED, YOU KNOW, TO HIS PUTTING THESE DAYS. HE, YOU KNOW, HE - HE NEVER REALLY HAD A GOOD STROKE. HE NEVER HAD TO HAVE A GOOD STROKE UH BECAUSE HE HIT IT SO WELL.

AND UM, AND HE WOULD OBVIOUSLY GET IN STREAKS WHERE HE COULD MAKE A LOT OF PUTTS. BUT, I MEAN UH, `THEY WEREN'T VERY LONG.' (CHUCKLE)

PETER KESSLER
WHAT WAS IT ABOUT HIS SWING OR HIS ACTION THAT YOU THINK MADE HIM SO EFFECTIVE AT THE TIME?

LANNY WADKINS
I THINK HE JUST SET THE CLUB SO WELL AT THE TOP. AND UH, IT WAS . HE HAD A WEAK GRIP, WEAK LEFT-HAND GRIP, AND JUST RELEASED THE HECK OUT OF IT.

BUT IT WAS RELEASING DOWN THE LINE. SO UH, HE JUST KEPT THE CLUB ON LINE FOR AS LONG AS ANYBODY POSSIBLY COULD. AND I THINK WITH THAT FULL RELEASE UH, HIS NATURAL SHOT WAS A STRAIGHT BALL.

SO HE DIDN'T HAVE TO ALLOW FOR ANYTHING GOING RIGHT OR LEFT. HE JUST FIRED IT RIGHT AT THE PIN AND DIDN'T WORRY.

PETER KESSLER
WERE YOU SURPRISED THAT HE LEFT THE SCENE SO SOON THAT HE HAD DONE SO SPECTACULARLY ON?

LANNY WADKINS
YEAH REALLY, I THINK UH . PROBABLY WHAT HAPPENED IS JOHNNY BULKED UP A LITTLE BIT UH WHEN HE - I REMEMBER HE BOUGHT A FARM AND GOT STRONGER, AND ALMOST LIKE HE'D LIFTED WEIGHTS AND GOT, YOU KNOW, BULKED UP.

AND HE REALLY CAME - BECAME OBSESSED WITH TRYING TO HIT THE BALL A LONG WAYS UH, WHICH WAS NOT HIS GAME. BUT HE WAS DETERMINED TO BE A BIG HITTER.

HIS - YOU KNOW, HE ALWAYS WANTED TO HIT HIS AS FAR AS WEISKOPF. AND UH, HE DIDN'T LIKE TO HEAR THAT. BUT THAT'S, YOU KNOW, THAT WAS THE CASE.

HE'D - THAT WAS - BECAME THE MAIN THEME OF HIS GAME. AND I THINK THAT WHEN HE STARTED TRYING TO HIT A LONG WAYS, IT KIND OF MESSED UP THE REST OF HIS GAME A LITTLE BIT.

PETER KESSLER
WE'LL TAKE A SHORT BREAK. WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK. AND AS WE LEAVE YOU, LET'S SEE LANNY DURING HIS WAKE FOREST DAYS.

LANNY WADKINS
OH, THIS COULD BE SCARY.

PETER KESSLER
A LITTLE SCARY.

(LANNY LAUGHS)

(BREAK)

NEXT SEGMENT
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Five-time Open champ Thomson passes at 88

By Associated PressJune 20, 2018, 1:35 am

Hailed as a hero to some and as golf royalty to others, Peter Thomson, a five-time winner of The Open and the only player in the 20th century to win the championship for three straight years, died Wednesday. He was 88.

Thomson had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for more than four years and died at his Melbourne home surrounded by family members, Golf Australia said.

The first Australian to win The Open, Thomson went on to secure the title five times between 1954 and 1965, a record equaled only by American Tom Watson.

The Australian's wins came in 1954, '55, '56, again in 1958 and lastly in 1965 against a field that included Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus.

Only Harry Vardon, with six titles between 1896 and 1914, won more.

Thomson also tied for fourth at the 1956 U.S. Open and placed fifth in the 1957 Masters. He never played the PGA Championship.

In 1998, he captained the International side to its only win over the United States at the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne.

Asked by The Associated Press in 2011 how he'd like to be remembered, Thomson replied: ''A guy who always said what he thought.''

Veteran Australian golfer Karrie Webb was among the first to tweet her condolences, saying she was ''saddened to hear of the passing of our Aussie legend and true gentleman of the game .... so honored to have been able to call Peter my friend. RIP Peter.''

Former PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said Thomson was ''a champion in every sense of the word, both on the course and in life.''

''Many know him as a five-time champion golfer of the year or as a three-time captain of the Presidents Cup International team.'' Finchem added. ''But he was also a great friend, father, grandfather and husband. He was golfing royalty, and our sport is a better one because of his presence.''



Former golfer and now broadcaster Ian Baker-Finch, the 1991 Open champion, called Thomson his ''hero'' - ''Peter - my friend and mentor R.I.P. Australian golf thanks you for your iconic presence and valuable guidance over the years.''

From Britain, R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers praised Thomson's plans for the game's future.

''Peter gave me a number of very interesting and valuable thoughts on the game, how it has developed and where it is going, which demonstrated his genuine interest and love of golf,'' Slumbers said. ''He was one of the most decorated and celebrated champion golfers in the history of The Open.''

Born in the Melbourne inner-city suburb of Brunswick on Aug. 23, 1929, Thomson was a promising cricketer. He scored an unbeaten 150 runs for the Carlton club against a men's side as a 15-year-old.

But golf became his passion, and he turned professional in 1947.

He won the national championships of 10 countries, including the New Zealand Open nine times and Australian Open three times. He first played on the PGA Tour in the U.S. in 1953 and 1954, finishing 44th and 25th on the money list, respectively. He won the Texas International in 1956.

Thomson won nine times on the Senior PGA tour in the U.S. in 1985, topping the money list. His last tournament victory came at the 1988 British PGA Seniors Championship, the same year he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Overall, he won 26 European Tour events, 34 times on the Australasian PGA tour and 11 on the seniors tour in the U.S, as well as once in Japan.

In later years, Thomson wrote articles for many publications and daily newspapers, was club professional at Royal Melbourne and designed more than 100 golf courses. In the 2011 Presidents Cup program, Thomson provided an insightful hole-by-hole analysis of the composite course at Royal Melbourne.

Thomson was always reluctant to compare his wins with anyone else's.

''All records are qualified in that they were made at a certain time in history,'' Thomson told golf historian and author Brendan Moloney for a story on his 80th birthday.

''The circumstances change so much, and so do the players' attitudes. In golf, only in the last 30 years or so has there been a professional attitude to playing for money. The professionals in the USA and Britain and anywhere else all had club jobs as a backstop to their income.

''When they did play and make records, you have to understand that they were taking time off from the pro shop,'' he said. ''So the records that were set were pretty remarkable.''

Thomson always had stories to tell, and told them well. With a full head of hair and a lineless face that belied his age, the Australian wasn't afraid to let everyone know his feelings on any subject.

That was true as far back as 1966. As president of the Australian PGA, Thomson was indignant that Arnold Palmer's prize for winning the Australian Open was only $1,600, out of a total purse of $6,000, one of the smallest in golf.

''Golf Stars Play for Peanuts,'' blared the headline of a story he wrote. ''Never before has such a field of top golfers played for what $6,000 is worth today. Canada offers 19 times that. I know 19 other countries who give more.''

But he was always happy on the golf course.

''I've had a very joyful life, playing a game that I loved to play for the sheer pleasure of it,'' Thomson said. ''I don't think I did a real day's work in the whole of my life.''

Thomson served as president of the Australian PGA for 32 years and worked behind the scenes for the Odyssey House drug rehabilitation organization where he was chairman for five years.

In 1979, he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his service to golf, and in 2001 became an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his contributions as a player and administrator and for community service.

Thomson is survived by his wife Mary, son Andrew and daughters Deirdre Baker, Pan Prendergast and Fiona Stanway, their spouses, 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

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Gaston leaves USC to become head coach at Texas 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.  

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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.”

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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.