Golf Talk Live - Jan Stephenson Transcript Segment 2
SO WHAT DO YOU THINK AS YOU SEE THESE SHOTS WHICH I'M SURE YOU HAVEN'T LOOKED AT PROBABLY SINCE YESTERDAY?
(GIGGLE) OH NO, THESE ARE CUT - YOU GUYS GOT THESE OUT OF THE ARCHIVES.
THAT'S NOT MARILYN, BUT IT IS YOU. IS THAT FUN?
YOU KNOW HOW MANY - YOU KNOW HOW MANY HOURS IT TOOK TO WORK OUT TO GET TO BE THAT SKINNY? LOOK HOW SKINNY I WAS.
HERE'S ANOTHER GREAT SHOT.
YEAH, I WAS LIKE 14 YEARS OLD. CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT?
THE MOST CLOTHES BUT THE SEXIEST SHOT.
WELL, I WAS LIKE 14.
HOW OLD WERE YOU?
I WAS - I WAS ABOUT 14 OR 15.
THAT'S NOT POSSIBLE. NOBODY LOOKS LIKE THAT AT 14 OR 15.
YOU KNOW, WHEN THE LADIES WHO STARTED THE TOUR STARTED IT, THEY UNDERSTOOD, JUST LIKE YOU UNDERSTOOD INSTINCTIVELY, THAT IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT THE PLAYING OF THE GAME,
THAT YOU ALSO HAVE THE RESPONSIBILITY TO BE ENTERTAINERS SO THAT YOU ATTRACT FANS AND SPONSORS AND MORE MONEY.
BABE ZAHARIAS UNDERSTOOD THAT. PATTY BERG UNDERSTOOD IT. YOU UNDERSTOOD IT. JOANNE CARNER UNDERSTOOD IT. PATTY SHEEHAN, NANCY LOPEZ .
BUT TODAY'S PLAYERS THINK THAT IT'S ENOUGH, A NUMBER OF THEM THINK IT IS ENOUGH TO SIMPLY SHOW UP, TO HIDE BEHIND SHADES, PLAY A GREAT GAME OF GOLF,
AND THEN BE INCREDIBLY PRIVATE FROM THAT MOMENT FORWARD AND NOT GIVE THE PUBLIC A SENSE OF WHO THEY ARE OR AN OPPORTUNITY TO FALL IN LOVE WITH
ANYTHING OTHER THAN THE QUALITY OF THEIR GOLF GAME. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THAT?
IT'S - IT'S A HARD LINE TO TAKE. I MEAN, I UNDERSTAND PERFECTLY THEIR ATTITUDE. IN FACT, I LOOK BACK NOW AND I ALMOST WISH I HADN'T DONE WHAT I'VE DONE - WHAT I DID.
WELL, FOR SEVERAL REASONS, ONE, YOU - YOU . I THINK PEOPLE GET THIS UNPOPULARITY BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, YOU'RE UNPOPULAR BECAUSE YOU'RE PROMOTING YOURSELF AND NOT THE TOUR.
BUT I WAS ACTUALLY DOING IT FOR THE TOUR. BUT I LOOK BACK NOW AND I WASN'T REALLY APPRECIATED FOR ALL THE WORK I DID. I THINK OF THE TIMES THAT I FLEW - DID 'RED EYES',
SAY, FROM HAWAII TO NEW YORK TO MEET POTENTIAL SPONSORS OR TO DO A PHOTO-SHOOT TO HELP THE LPGA. AND THAT MAY BE THE REASON I'M NOT IN THE HALL OF FAME .
BECAUSE I WORKED SO HARD TO PROMOTE THE LPGA AND MYSELF. NOW, THE DIFFERENCE IS THAT I MADE A LOT OF MONEY FROM PROMOTIONS BECAUSE OF IT. AND IN THOSE DAYS, THE MONEY ON THE TOUR WASN'T THERE.
I MEAN, I WAS GETTING AS MUCH AS SECOND PLACE IN A TOURNAMENT TO GO HAVE A ONE DAY PHOTO-SHOOT OR DO A ONE DAY CORPORATE OUTING TO ENTERTAIN CUSTOMERS.
NOW IF YOU HAD SAID . YOU KNOW, NOW IF YOU TAKE SECOND PLACE, WHICH WOULD BE 100,000 TO GO DO IT, THEN I BET SOME OF THOSE GIRLS WOULD DO IT.
BUT WHEN YOU THINK THAT - THAT IF YOU DO A CORPORATE OUTING NOW, IT'S ONLY ONE PUTT OR ONE HOUR OF REST EXTRA COULD MAKE THAT MONEY, AND IT COULD ALSO TAKE YOU AWAY FROM MAKING HALL OF FAME .
I MEAN, I THINK NOW NOBODY APPRECIATES THE WORK I DID, NO ONE. UH, IF - EVERYONE IN THE LPGA IN THOSE DAYS KEPT SAYING,
'OH, EVERYONE IS GONNA THANK YOU. THEY'RE GONNA THINK YOU'RE THE GREATEST FOR DOING THAT.' NOBODY CARES.
NOW, DIDN'T YOU APPRECIATE WHAT NANCY LOPEZ WAS DOING AT THE TIME? DIDN'T SHE TAKE A LITTLE PRESSURE OFF OF YOU? SHE CAME OUT WITH HER GREAT GOLF GAME.
SHE HAD A DIFFERENT WAY OF ATTRACTING FANS. YOU WERE MORE PROVOCATIVE. SHE WAS MORE ALL-AMERICAN. AND BOTH OF THEM WORK AND WORKED. DID YOU APPRECIATE OR RESENT THE INTRUSION ON YOUR TERRITORY AT THE TIME?
OH, NOT AT ALL. NANCY AND I WORKED TOGETHER. BUT AGAIN, WE WERE - WE DON'T REALLY - WE WEREN'T REALLY WORKING THE SAME KIND OF CROWD. I MEAN, SHE HAD HER FANS AND I HAD MINE.
AND THEY WERE TOTALLY DIFFERENT. I MEAN, THEY ALWAYS PUT US AT DIFFERENT TIMES OF THE TEE TIMES. IF I HAD A MORNING TEE TIME, SHE HAD AN AFTERNOON TEE TIME AND VICE VERSA .
BECAUSE WE DID HAVE DIFFERENT GALLERIES. AND - AND UH, NANCY WAS A TOTALLY DIFFERENT DRAW. SHE WAS A, YOU KNOW, A - A MOTHER AND UH, AND A GREAT PLAYER.
BUT SHE ALSO WOULDN'T DO A LOT OF THE PROMOTIONS. I MEAN, I STILL HAD TO DO SOME OF HER PRESS DAYS BECAUSE SHE WOULDN'T DO IT. SHE WANTED TO BE WITH HER FAMILY.
SO IT WAS JUST A DIFFERENT WAY OF GIVING TO THE GAME.
YOU KNOW, YOU MENTIONED KARRIE WEBB A FEW MINUTES AGO, WHAT A GREAT HEAD SHE HAS ON HER SHOULDERS. AND OF COURSE, SHE'S GOT ONE OF THE GREATEST GAMES EVER TO PLAY THE LADIES TOUR.
WERE YOU SURPRISED AND DISAPPOINTED WHEN A FELLOW COUNTRYMAN WASN'T REALLY AWARE OF YOU IN TERMS OF YOUR - THE QUALITY OF YOUR PLAYING RECORD AND THE LENGTH OF THAT PLAYING RECORD AND THE DEPTH OF THAT RECORD?
I WAS TERRIBLY DISAPPOINTED AT THAT. AND WE HAD A TALK ABOUT IT BECAUSE I THINK SHE WAS QUITE SURPRISED AT THE REACTION UH OF THE - OF THE FANS.
I KNOW IN AUSTRALIA WHEN IT HAPPENED, WE HAD - THERE WERE RADIO CALL-INS AND PEOPLE WERE MAD WITH HER. AND - AND THERE LIKE VOTES ON 'WHO'S SIDE YOU WERE ON?' IN AUSTRALIA, IT WAS HUGE NEWS.
AND I WAS REALLY HURT AT FIRST. I MEAN, WE'RE ACTUALLY GOOD FRIENDS NOW. IN FACT, I INVITED HER TO BE MY PARTNER IN A FISHING TOURNAMENT IN THE KEYS. AND SHE ACCEPTED. AND .
AND WE'VE PLAYED A FEW TOURNAMENTS. IN FACT, WE'RE HAVING A JUNIOR-SENIOR TOURNAMENT AT THE END OF THE YEAR FOR OUR SENIORS. AND SHE'S GONNA BE MY PARTNER.
SO WE HAVE ACTUALLY WELL AND TRULY BURIED THE HATCHET. BUT UH, SHE KNOWS THAT I WAS HURT ABOUT THAT. BUT IT - AGAIN, YOU'VE GOT TO REMEMBER THAT
IN AUSTRALIA THE MEDIA WERE SO MUCH ON MY CALENDARS AND, YOU KNOW, WHETHER I WAS GOING TO POSE NAKED FOR PLAYBOY, IT DIDN'T EVEN MATTER THAT I'D WON.
I THINK THAT THE REASON I WAS GETTING SO MUCH PUBLICITY WAS BECAUSE I HAD WON A U.S. OPEN, AN LPGA CHAMPIONSHIP, AND A DU MAURIER. BUT IT WAS UM, I THINK .
SHE REALIZES NOW THAT I'VE WON THOSE EVENTS, THAT SHE'S BEEN TRYING TO WIN A U.S. OPEN, THAT IT'S PRETTY TOUGH TO DO. AND I THINK THINGS HAVE CHANGED NOW THOUGH. BUT I WAS UPSET AT FIRST.
ARE YOU GRATEFUL OR ARE YOU A LITTLE BIT RELUCTANT THAT YOU BEGIN TO LET GO OF THAT SIDE OF YOUR IMAGE AND CONCENTRATE MORE ON GOLF? IS IT EASIER TO BE YOU NOW THAN IT WAS THEN?
(CHUCKLE) NO. I TELL YOU, IT . (LAUGH)
IT'S TOUGH LOOKING IN THAT MIRROR. I DON'T LIKE SEEING . I MEAN, I . I MEAN UH, IT'S - IT'S TOUGH NOT BEING THE GLAMOUR GIRL ANYMORE. I MEAN, IT'S - IT'S REALLY HARD WHEN PEOPLE KNOW YOU FOR THAT.
AND THEN, YOU KNOW, THEY CALL AND ASK YOU TO DO A CORPORATE OUTING. I'M LIKE, 'ARE YOU AWARE THAT I'M - HOW OLD I AM? I MEAN, I DON'T WANT YOU TO BE DISAPPOINTED WHEN I SHOW UP. I'M NOT A GLAMOUR GIRL ANYMORE.'
BUT THE GOOD THING IS THAT NOW PEOPLE ARE STARTING TO - TO RECOGNIZE . I'M - I'M BEING RECOGNIZED FOR OTHER THINGS. I MEAN, YOU KNOW, I'M DESIGNING GOLF COURSES. AND .
AND THEY'RE NOT DOING IT BECAUSE I POSED, YOU KNOW, IN A - IN A TUB OF GOLF BALLS. THEY'RE DOING IT BECAUSE I'M TALENTED WHICH IS PRETTY NEAT.
IT IS PRETTY WONDERFUL. WE'RE GONNA TAKE A VERY SHORT BREAK. WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK WITH JAN STEPHENSON.
Berger more than ready to rebound at Travelers
CROMWELL, Conn. – Daniel Berger hopes that this year he gets to be on the other end of a viral moment at the Travelers Championship.
Berger was a hard-luck runner-up last year at TPC River Highlands, a spectator as Jordan Spieth holed a bunker shot to defeat him in a playoff. It was the second straight year that the 25-year-old came up just short outside Hartford, as he carried a three-shot lead into the 2016 event before fading to a tie for fifth.
While he wasn’t lacking any motivation after last year’s close call, Berger got another dose last week at the U.S. Open when he joined Tony Finau as a surprise participant in the final group Sunday, only to shoot a 73 and drift to a T-6 finish.
“It was one of the best experiences of my professional golf career so far. I feel like I’m going to be in such a better place next time I’m in that position, having felt those emotions and kind of gone through it,” Berger said. “There was a lot of reflection after that because I felt like I played good enough to get it done Sunday. I didn’t make as many putts as I wanted to, but I hit a lot of really good putts. And that’s really all you can do.”
Berger missed the cut earlier this month to end his quest for three straight titles in Memphis, but his otherwise consistent season has now included six top-20 finishes since January. After working his way into contention last week and still with a score to settle at TPC River Highlands, he’s eager to get back to work against another star-studded field.
“I think all these experiences you just learn from,” Berger said. “I think last week, having learned from that, I think that’s even going to make me a little better this week. So I’m excited to get going.”
Rory tired of the near-misses, determined to close
CROMWELL, Conn. – Rory McIlroy has returned to the Travelers Championship with an eye on bumping up his winning percentage.
McIlroy stormed from the back of the pack to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, but that remains his lone worldwide win since the 2016 Tour Championship. It speaks to McIlroy’s considerable ability and lofty expectations that, even with a number of other high finishes this season, he is left unsatisfied.
“I feel like I’ve had five realistic chances to win this year, and I’ve been able to close out one of them. That’s a bit disappointing, I guess,” McIlroy said. “But at least I’ve given myself five chances to win golf tournaments, which is much more than I did last year.”
The most memorable of McIlroy’s near-misses is likely the Masters, when he played alongside Patrick Reed in Sunday’s final group but struggled en route to a T-5 finish. But more frustrating in the Ulsterman’s eyes were his runner-up at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, when he led by two shots with eight holes to go, and a second-place showing behind Francesco Molinari at the BMW PGA Championship in May.
“There’s been some good golf in there,” he said. “I feel like I let Dubai and Wentworth get away a little bit.”
He’ll have a chance to rectify that trend this week at TPC River Highlands, where he finished T-17 last year in his tournament debut and liked the course and the tournament enough to keep it on his schedule. It comes on the heels of a missed cut at the U.S. Open, when he was 10 over through 11 holes and never got on track. McIlroy views that result as more of an aberration during a season in which he has had plenty of chances to contend on the weekend.
“I didn’t necessarily play that badly last week. I feel like if I play similarly this week, I might have a good chance to win,” McIlroy said. “I think when you play in conditions like that, it magnifies parts of your game that maybe don’t stack up quite as good as the rest of your game, and it magnified a couple of things for me that I worked on over the weekend.”
Sunday run at Shinnecock gave Reed even more confidence
CROMWELL, Conn. – While many big names are just coming around to the notion that the Travelers Championship is worth adding to the schedule, Patrick Reed has been making TPC River Highlands one of his favorite haunts for years.
Reed will make his seventh straight appearance outside Hartford, where he tied for fifth last year and was T-11 the year before that. He is eager to get back to the grind after a stressful week at the U.S. Open, both because of his past success here and because it will offer him a chance to build on a near-miss at Shinnecock Hills.
Reed started the final round three shots off the lead, but he quickly stormed toward the top of the leaderboard and became one of Brooks Koepka’s chief threats after birdies on five of his first seven holes. Reed couldn’t maintain the momentum in the middle of the round, carding three subsequent bogeys, and ultimately tied for fourth.
It was a bittersweet result, but Reed is focusing on the positives after taking a couple days to reflect.
“If you would have told me that I had a chance to win coming down Sunday, I would have been pleased,” Reed said. “I felt like I just made too many careless mistakes towards the end, and because of that, you’re not going to win at any major making careless mistakes, especially on Sunday.”
Reed broke through for his first major title at the Masters, and he has now finished fourth or better in three straight majors dating back to a runner-up at the PGA last summer. With another chance to add to that record next month in Scotland, he hopes to carry the energy from last week’s close call into this week’s event on a course where he feels right at home.
“It just gives me confidence, more than anything,” Reed said. “Of course I would have loved to have closed it out and win, but it was a great week all in all, and there’s a lot of stuff I can take from it moving forward. That’s how I’m looking at it.”
Koepka back to work, looking to add to trophy collection
CROMWELL, Conn. – Days after ensuring the U.S. Open trophy remained in his possession for another year, Brooks Koepka went back to work.
Koepka flew home to Florida after successfully defending his title at Shinnecock Hills, celebrating the victory Monday night with Dustin Johnson, Paulina Gretzky, swing coach Claude Harmon III and a handful of close friends. But he didn’t fully unwind because of a decision to honor his commitment to the Travelers Championship, becoming the first player to tee it up the week after a U.S. Open win since Justin Rose in 2013.
Koepka withdrew from the Travelers pro-am, but he flew north to Connecticut on Wednesday and arrived to TPC River Highlands around 3 p.m., quickly heading to the driving range to get in a light practice session.
“It still hasn’t sunk in, to be honest with you,” Koepka said. “I’m still focused on this week. It was just like, ‘All right, if I can get through this week, then I’m going to be hanging with my buddies next week.’ I know then maybe it’ll sink in, and I’ll get to reflect on it a little bit more.”
Koepka’s plans next week with friends in Boston meant this week’s event outside Hartford made logistical sense. But he was also motivated to play this week because, plainly, he hasn’t had that many playing opportunities this year after missing nearly four months with a wrist injury.
“I’ve had so many months at home being on the couch. I don’t need to spend any more time on the couch,” Koepka said. “As far as skipping, it never crossed my mind.”
Koepka’s legacy was undoubtedly bolstered by his win at Shinnecock, as he became the first player in nearly 30 years to successfully defend a U.S. Open title. But he has only one other PGA Tour win to his credit, that being the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open, and his goal for the rest of the season is to make 2018 his first year with multiple trophies on the mantle.
“If you’re out here for more than probably 15 events, it gives you a little better chance to win a couple times. Being on the sidelines isn’t fun,” Koepka said. “Keep doing what we’re doing and just try to win multiple times every year. I feel like I have the talent. I just never did it for whatever reason. Always felt like we ran into a buzzsaw. So just keep plugging away.”