Dave Stockton joined The 19th Hole Golf Show on Tuesday to talk about his career, the accomplishments of Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods’ struggles and the legality of the anchored stroke.
Just in case you didn’t get to listen to the show, here are some quotes from the interview.
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The two-time PGA Championship winner and putting guru weighed in on the following…
How Rory is a different champion than Tiger: “Everybody’s now comparing him to Tiger. The one area where I think he’s absolutely brilliant in, and I hope a lot of people are going to emulate him down the road, is how he deals with the gallery and how he deals with answering questions with the press. He is very open and candid. He’s not hiding anything.”
On his instructions to Rory for Kiawah Island: “I just told him, ‘I don’t want to turn on the TV and see you and know whether or not you birdied or bogeyed the last hole.’ I admired playing against Jack Nicklaus all those years, and I never saw him particularly up or down, but he wasn’t stone-faced either.”
“When you’ve had a bad shot, a bad hole or a bad round, I don’t want it affecting you. And that’s exactly what he did coming back from shooting that 75 in the second round in those horrific conditions; that’s what you saw. And then you saw perfection on the weekend.”
How Rory’s attitude helps him on the course: “He’s in love with Caroline. He’s in love with golf. He’s in love with life. And he shows it. … He has a formula for life that I think is well-served. He’s going to make it fun for everyone that watches and roots for him to enjoy this ride he’s on now.”
“He’s got a game plan for life a lot of people should emulate.”
On the importance of Rory winning a second major: I’ve always thought the second win was more important. Whether it’s a regular Tour event, that validates the first. … It put him on a whole different level. It’s obvious to all of us that he’s not going to stop.”
How Rory’s preparation set him up for victory: “I just don’t think the preparation was as consistent (in the other majors this season). I think it was much more consistent at the PGA. I have hunch you’re going to see a lot of (swing coach) Michael Bannon over here with him. As best he can, he’s going to be in Europe part of the time, following Caroline part of the time and playing over here.”
On his major championship wins and the differences in preparation: “My good tournaments came in the hot weather because I broke my back when I was younger. In all of my wins, the 25 that came between the two tours (PGA and Champions Tours), I think 22 of them have come in either late June, July or August.”
“The first one (PGA Championship) at Southern Hills in ’70, I did expect to win that. I felt really ready mentally, and I did. I played really well. I played head-to-head with Arnold Palmer and won.
“Congressional, totally different thing. I spent all day Monday at the White House with the family, a guest of President Ford. No real preparation before the tournament. Then when I received it (the Wanamker trophy) on Monday night when I won, I’m thinking to myself, ‘There have to be 20 people shooting themselves’ because I didn’t expect to win and I’m sure 20 people didn’t expect to lose.”
On how Tiger opened the door to 16 different major champions: “I think one reason we have so many different major winners is Tiger took his foot off the pedal for a little while and let some other people in. And once they got in, they kind of got the idea (they could win).”
“Keegan Bradley, last year, first time ever to play in a major – wins it. You don’t think these other guys are paying attention?”
“Jack never took an absence, really, and he cost a lot of people. I was very proud of my career that I got two major wins under Jack Nicklaus’ watch. He was the Man of the Hour.
“Tiger was the Man of the Hour, but he stepped back and opened the door. These guys think they can do it.”
Thoughts on Tiger saying he lacked focus at Kiawah: “It’s kind of mind-boggling. It was interesting to hear him say after his round that he was too relaxed on Saturday, that he didn’t have his own focus. That surprised me because I’d like to see him relax a little bit, but I’d also like to see him win.”
“Every one (major lost), you’re giving him the benefit of the doubt. I think a bit of that is trying. You want Tiger to go out there and say, I’ve won 70-some times a touring pro, I don’t need to go out there and prove anything anymore, and just go out there and enjoy this. You have to think his results have got to be better.”
Stockton on the legality of the anchored stroke and what to do about it: “I believe that it shouldn’t be anchored. I believe we work hard to be athletes. The caddies are in better shape than the former players used to be. These players aren’t good out of luck, it’s because they’re in phenomenal shape. I just don’t like seeing it anchored to your body.”
“I never expected them (the U.S. Golf Association and Royal & Ancient, the game’s governing bodies) to do anything because how do you tell Bernhard Langer, Freddy Couples or, now, Webb Simpson and Keegan Bradley, ‘Hey guys, you’re doing really good with this, but now you can’t use it anymore.'”
“For Stockton Golf and the way we teach, it’s about a mental preparation. As long as you have a good routine, Ie don’t care how long of a putter you use. But it’s gone over the top and they let the cat out of the bag. Whether they’re going to close the bag, I don’t know.”
Finally, an anecdote about the belly putter not always being the answer: “I tweeted the other day iwhen we were playing up in Minnesota in the Legends division up here (at the 3M Championship), and here’s Trevino just talking and talking about how great this thing (an anchored putter) is. So I snapped a picture of him on the green using it, and the next day, he went ballistic. He was so upset – not with me taking the picture – but the fact that it didn’t work quite as good as he thought it was going to work.
“I don’t know, everyone’s going to always look for a new thing. It seems like for a long time they (the game’s governing bodies) haven’t done anything.”