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The Success Stories of 2013; A New Generation of Golfing Stars Emerge; How to Putt Like Martin Kaymer; God's Golfers: Faith on Tour

Aired December 7, 2013 - 03:30:00   ET


SHANE O'DONOGHUE, CNN HOST: Tiger, Justin, Phil, Martin, Inbee, Stacy, Charley and Gott (ph), welcome to LIVING GOLF.



O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): On this month's program, the stars of 2013.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You hope you're good enough to win a Major. You probably think you're good enough to win a Major, but not until you actually do it do you know that you're good enough to win a Major.

O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): The stars of years to come.

TIANLANG GUAN, MASTERS ROOKIE (through translator): My biggest dream is to win four Majors in a year.

O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): As the guiding light for many of the pros on tour.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I think being a Christian on the tour is an advantage.


O'DONOGHUE: In the beginning, it was all about Tiger and Rory. But by the end of the year, neither had won a Major and others took their cue to grab a share of the limelight.



O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): Abu Dhabi saw an understated Nike (ph) launch.

RORY MCILROY, WINNER OF TWO MAJORS: I've grown up watching athletes create history on TV.

O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): And new European Ryder Cup captain and the World's top two head to head.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm looking forward to it.

O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): With a hint of things to come, the poster boys both missed the cut. And it was left to the less-heralded to take the titles.

Off the course, long-handled putters divided governing bodies and the PGA Tour for a while, almost inevitably on it, Australia's Adam Scott used one to win his first Major at Augusta.

And the next month, the R&A confirmed a ban on anchoring putters against the body from 2016.

PETER DAWSON, CHIEF EXEC, THE R&A: We're sympathetic to people who have developed their game using an anchored stroke. And we think with the 2.5 years between now and its implementation gives people plenty of time to adjust.

O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): Tiger built up to the second Major of the year with a series of big wins.

Lee Westwood moved to Florida to improve his Major chances.

LEE WESTWOOD, 22 EUROPEAN TOUR WINS: Sometimes I say (INAUDIBLE) had the choice again when I won in '98 in New Orleans, I probably (INAUDIBLE) would have been a (INAUDIBLE) come over.

O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): But it was Justin Rose who at Merion became the first Englishman since Nick Faldo to win a Major, (INAUDIBLE) his late father at the front of his mind.

JUSTIN ROSE, U.S. OPEN CHAMPION: The U.S. Open finished on Father's Day so all of this was running through my head. And my coach, John Foley (ph), sent me a text message along the lines of go out there and be the man your dad taught you to be and go out there and be a man that your son (INAUDIBLE) can look up to and be proud of.

And part of that was my mindset that day, just really going out there and competing as hard as I can and just playing as hard as I could and holding my head and just sort of taking on the challenge.

It's given me a tremendous amount of confidence because you hope you're good enough to win a Major. You probably think you're good enough to win a Major, but not until you actually do it do you know that you're good enough to win a Major.

O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): The Americans struck back when a brilliant final round 66 from Phil Mickelson overhauled Westwood at Muirfield, his fifth Major, his first open.

PHIL MICKELSON, OPEN CHAMPION, 2013: To finally break through and conquer links golf, it's a great accomplishment for me in my career.

TIGER WOODS, 14-TIME MAJORS WINNER: Well, it was frustrating because I've -- I had a chance this year in two of the Major championships to right there, you know, at 15 at Augusta, I was tied for lead at the time. Freddy already posted, hit the flag stick. It was going to be tight.

And at the British Open on Saturday, I just spun one up in the air, in up in the bunker. Blasted out, you know, making bogie and Lee made birdie and there was a big shift there.

So I've been there with chances to win on the weekend. I just haven't done it yet.

O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): Further up the Scottish coast, two weeks later at South Korea's Inbee Park came to St. Andrews on the verge of history. She'd won the first three Majors. Could she take the Women's Open and make it an unprecedented four?

INBEE PARK, WORLD NUMBER ONE: I think I was just a lucky golfer to have this kind of experience on this kind of golf course.

O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): It wasn't to be. Stacy Lewis birdied the last two holes to claim her second Major chairmanship.

STACY LEWIS, WOMEN'S BRITISH OPEN CHAMPION 2013: It's unbelievable. If you want to win anywhere, it's here.

O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): As the sun dipped over the Old Course, the American and European captains finalized their teams for the Solheim Cup.

A fortnight later in Colorado after a thrilling battle, it was the Europeans who secured their first-ever victory on U.S. soil. And Sweden's Caroline Hedwall made history of her own by winning all five of her matches.

CAROLINE HEDWALL, WON ALL MATCHED SOLHEIM CUP 2013: Annika (ph) came up to me the day before. And she said that, Caroline, you know that you can win five tomorrow? No one's ever done that. And I was like, yes, I know. And I'm just going to do my best. That's all I can do. And hopefully I can finish it.

And then I managed to do that. So that was great fun.

O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): In the spring, Dufnering (ph) had spread through the golf world and beyond. But Jason had the last laugh at the PGA.

JASON DUFNER, PGA CHAMPION 2013: It's always been a struggle for me. I felt like I was talented but I kind of went through the ranks, whether it be junior golf, college golf, mini-tour, early pro golf. It was a struggle. There was moments of greatness followed by a lot of disappointment.

O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): But the man who finished the season is probably the best player in the world, was Sweden's Henrik Stenson. First he won the PGA's FedEx Cup and more than $11 million.

Then he sealed Europe's lucrative Race to Dubai to become the first player to do the double.

HENRIK STENSON, FEDEX CUP AND RACE TO DUBAI CHAMPION: Probably once- in-a-lifetime opportunity to achieve this. And I managed to take it.

O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): And so for Tiger, five wins plus for the fifth year running, no Major.

WOODS: It takes a career. For Jack, it took him until he was 46. It takes a long time to win a lot of Major championships and you're going to have your years where you play really well; you may clip two or three out of there. And then you're going to have years where you just don't win anything.

But you're there. Just don't happen to win. And quite frankly, over the last, well, since '08, I've been there with a chance to win about half of them. Just haven't seemed to have won one.


O'DONOGHUE: Next on LIVING GOLF, the young guns.



O'DONOGHUE: Welcome back to LIVING GOLF. Every now and again a rare talent emerges that grabs the attention of the golfing world. This year, we've been spoilt for choice and they just seem to be getting younger.


O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): (INAUDIBLE) Thorbjorn Olesen is no kid, but he really set up this year after breaking into the World's top 50, he finished second in Abu Dhabi, third in Dubai and sixth at Augusta on his Masters debut.

THORBJORN OLESEN, EUROPEAN TOUR WINNER: My biggest goal in my golf career to win a Major and that's the biggest thing you can do.

O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): But Thorbjorn was nine years older than fellow Masters debutante Tianlang Guan. At 14, the youngest ever.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): He was very happy traveling to places to compete. He liked staying in different hotels and getting to see the many friends he'd made at the tourists.

GUAN (through translator): My biggest dream is to win four Majors in a year.

O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): Incredibly, Guan even made the cut at Augusta, thus breaking both of Matteo Manassero's Masters records. He'd been 16.

MATTEO MANASSERO, FOUR-TIME WINNER, EUROPEAN TOUR: I have to first of all congratulate with him because it's such a big achievement.

O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): Matteo had gone on to become the first-ever teenager to win three European Tour events. This May, he celebrated his 20th birthday with a 4th. Two amateurs took big strides in their careers this year; England's Matthew Patrick finished low amateur at the Open, then went on to win the U.S. amateur chairmanship the following month.

In the women's game, New Zealand's Lydia Ko continued to break records. In August, the 16-year old became the first-ever amateur to win two LPGA events and rose to 5th in the World rankings. She then finished 2nd in the new fifth Major of the season, the Evian, and turned pro.

But perhaps the most outstandingly rapid rise in 2013 came from the 16-year-old English girl, Charley Hull. She only played her first-ever professional tournament in March. By August, she was a Solheim Cup star. This is how it happened.


O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): Colorado and a clear indication that Charley is under serious consideration for the team. She's among those Captain Lotte's (ph) invited across to practice there.

CHARLEY HULL, EUROPEAN GOLFER: I shouldn't feel like I have to put a lot of pressure on me because I'm only 17. I only turned 17 a couple months ago so it's my first (inaudible) tour. It's great to be at the training but I'm just going to try and do my best in the next three competitions and not feel the pressure.

LEE SCARBROW, CHARLEY'S COACH: Think about it. Think where you want it to start. That's it.

O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): Then she's straight back to the Midlands, working with her coaches.

SCARBROW: I first met Charley as a 9-year old. Her dad, Dave, brought her over to me and said, would you take a look at my daughter? She wants to become a bit of a golfer.

So I said to Charley, "What would you like to do with your golf, Charley?"

And she looked me in the eye and said, "I want to be World number one."

But she didn't say it like a little kid. She meant it.

O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): Charley only played her professional tournament in late March, just as she'd turned 17. Incredibly, she finished runner-up. Even more incredibly, she then finished second in her next four events. Suddenly she'd put herself in the frame for a Solheim spot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you rate Charley's chance of making that Solheim team?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe she could (inaudible).

O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): Her father, Dave, has to travel on tour with her, as she's under 18.


O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): After many weeks on the road, they're finally getting to enjoy a few days at home.

DAVE HULL, CHARLEY'S FATHER: When we moved here, she was about 4 and little lad next door, Penn (ph), he used to play, and she said I want to start playing golf a bit. Well, straight away, she just -- she could just hit a golf ball without any lessons, really. You know, and I could see then that she'd just so natural.

O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): Charley's first lessons came just down the road at Kettering (ph) Golf Club.

KEVIN THEOBALD, CLUB PRO, KETTERING GC: She had a good swing to start off with right from the start. But it wasn't so much a golf swing that was impressive. It was the fact that she stood basically where you're standing now when she was about 7 years of age.

She said, Kevin, do you realize one day I'm going to be the best golfer in the world?

O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): People really started taking notice when at the age of 9 she won the national ladies' Health Perception Championship at Turnberry.

CHARLEY HULL: I remember being called back out to the playoffs. I was in the middle of playing on my Nintendo DS, playing Harry Potter. And I was really upset because my mum had to push me to go out because I was playing on my game.

O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): And so after the short break to the final day of the European Masters in late July, Charley's breezed through the cut and is being followed by her family, her coach and the European captain.

LISELOTTE NEUMANN, EUROPEAN CAPTAIN: And she's definitely up there. I mean, I'm definitely thinking about her and looking at her game right now.

O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): In the end, it's another top 10 finish in a strong field.

CHARLEY HULL: I played really good. I shot 4 under and 6 under. Hopefully, they can see that I'm up there with top LPGA players in the world and the two former World number ones. So, it was (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you feeling good?

CHARLEY HULL: Yes. (Inaudible).

O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): That same evening, straight to St. Andrews. Charley sets off intent on a good Open and that golden ticket to Colorado.

But nothing drops, and she finishes the first round 3 over the cut line.

CHARLEY HULL: I could have been about 4 or 5 under on the front line but didn't hold the cut. So when that happened, that was good.

O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): Six o'clock Friday morning, and everything hangs in the balance.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On the tee from England, Charley Hull.

O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): She needs a great round.

A birdie on the final hole, but she misses the cut by two. Now all she can do is wait.

NEUMANN: She's had a good year, so she's definitely one of the names I'm thinking about.

O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): Over the weekend, we hear from her dad that the family is still in town. Clearly there's still hope. And so to Sunday evening, the big announcement: the European and American teams.

The automatic qualifiers are on stage. Lotte (ph) Neumann has announced three of her picks and Charley's not among them. This is the very last chance.

NEUMANN: And my last pick from England, Charley Hull.


CHARLEY HULL: It's an honor and it's just crazy, but it's just fantastic. You know, the first tee, that's just going to be absolutely both (ph). I just can't wait for it.

O'DONOGHUE (voice-over): A 17-year old, who only made her pro debut five months ago, is off to Colorado to take on the cream of American golf. Charley found that golden ticket. Who knows what lies beyond?


O'DONOGHUE: Charley Hull -- and it'll be very interesting to see how her career develops through 2014.

Now another player who starred for Europe is of course Martin Kaymer, the man who holed the winning putt at last year's Ryder Cup. The 2010 PGA champion showed a recent return to form with a course record at the WGC in Shanghai, and he'll be desperate to make next year's team at Gleneagles.

So a good time to ask him for some shot-making advice.



O'DONOGHUE: Well, it doesn't matter what putter you use; you still have to practice. And this man beside me knows better than most what it's like to have everything staked on a 7-footer.

What was going through your head? Or what were you relying on?

MARTIN KAYMER, HOLED THE WINNING PUTT AT RYDER CUP 2012: Belief and trust; belief in all the practice for many, many years and the trust that you can do it.

(INAUDIBLE) didn't really have a choice. It was about winning or losing. And it was fantastic. And if you make it you win; you're the hero. If you miss it, you're not so much the hero. So you don't really think about technique in that moment. You're so much in that bubble and you're so focused on that little target, what you want to achieve. Fortunately I won it.




KAYMER: But I think it's very important to practice those 5-, 6- footers on the -- on the practice green before you go out. And that's what I usually do.

But when I'm in Phoenix practice or when I'm in Germany practice before tournaments, I make maybe like a little circle around the greens with six to eight tees, 5-, 6-footers and keep practicing those, because those are important for us. If we can't get home in 2 under par 5s but chip it close or what I just mentioned earlier, to save pars on the par 4s.


O'DONOGHUE: OK, let's have a little competition.

KAYMER: If I start here, you start on the other side, if I catch you or you catch me, you won. If you holed it, you go to the next station. If you miss it, you stay there. But if I hole out now, I move up. And if I catch you, you lose. Or if you catch me, I lose.



KAYMER: (INAUDIBLE) putt at the same time, then.


KAYMER: (INAUDIBLE) my chance. That was my chance!


O'DONOGHUE: Oh, that's unfortunate, Martin.

KAYMER: Mama mia (ph), you don't miss, yes?


KAYMER: I really focus on small targets. I really just take a little piece in the hole, whatever it is, like a wide piece of grass or something. And it's a very short stroke. So you can really focus on the stroke if it's played straight, a little inside outside. If you stick to that practice and to that drill, it will save you shots, because those are as important as a long drive.

O'DONOGHUE: Another great tip here on "Hot Shots," on LIVING GOLF.


O'DONOGHUE: Still to come on LIVING GOLF, faith on tour.




O'DONOGHUE: Welcome back to LIVING GOLF. Now 2014 on the PGA Tour will start with a whole series of defending champions, who all credit one thing in common for their success: their Christian faith.

This year, the devout Christian, Webb Simpson, went to Merion to defend his U.S. Open title. We took the opportunity to talk to him and his colleagues about the role of faith on tour.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jesus did not come to make bad people good. He came to make dead people alive. And so right now acknowledge to him, God, I'm just separated from you, because.

SIMPSON: You know, when I became a Christian, I didn't become a better golfer. But what it does help me with is it helps me handle the pressure a little better, knowing that golf is not my identity. You know, my score is not what I'm most concerned with.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) I believe Jesus died on the cross to (inaudible).

SIMPSON: I had a huge mountain to climb to try to beat the field at U.S. Open. And that's where Scripture comes in, to, you know, practically help me on the golf course.

My verse that week was II Corinthians 12:9, "God said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.'" And I just meditated on that verse all week.

More than anything, it just reminded me that when I am weak that God's power is made perfect and that he'll help me if I ask him to and not necessarily help me to win, but help me to be able to try to execute shots under that pressure.

And then Paul and I were able to talk about that verse, what it means to us and, you know, it's funny. Once we started talking about that, our minds got off trying to win the U.S. Open and on something else, which was a big benefit for me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And you will show them great and mighty things, that you have a plan for each person here, not plans (inaudible) but (inaudible).

SIMPSON: We're in a unique time right now. There's a lot of Christians on tour. It's a great help for us, you know, on the road, a lot of times away from our families, just to have some fellowship. And this breakfast is great. What it does for the local community, local FCA.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible). (Inaudible) share a little story (inaudible).


KEVIN STREELMAN, 2013 TAMPA BAY CHAMPION: We probably have between 40-50 Christians on tour, I would say there's a great number of caddies as well and wives and children running around and media officials and rules officials.


STEWART CINK, 2009 THE OPEN CHAMPION: Faith serves as a major foundation for me to stay consistent, to have something that does stay the same on a daily basis when I'm seeing a new city. Oftentimes, you know, three or four times in a week, it just gives me something to really rely on and stay grounded in.

DR. BOB ROTEILA, SPORTS PSYCHOLOGIST: When you play golf, what you want more than anything is peace of mind. And I think a belief in a God gives a lot of people tremendous peace of mind, because what you're dealing with out here a lot is fear and doubt.

And some people become much more religious while they're playing their career, and when their career ends, they move away from it, which is fascinating.


PAUL TESORI, WEBB SIMPSON'S CADDY: I've been caddying about 13 years now and when I first came out, there was probably three or four guys who were really outward about their faith. I started noticing 4-5 years ago a lot of young guys were coming out.

I can't name them all now, but I mean there are literally a dozen to 2 dozen young guys that are very aggressive in their faith. They're just not afraid to talk about it.

BEN CRANE, PGA TOUR WINNER: When you first come out on tour, you're extremely nervous. You want to do well. And your identity is so much wrapped up in how you play. And that's how other people see you. And you think that's how much people like you, is based on your performance.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Inaudible) will perish one day, but the trophies that we will receive to lay at the feet of Jesus one day will never perish.



AARON BADDELEY, PGA TOUR WINNER: (Inaudible) and on the last hole, I had to putt and I was pretty nervous and so I quoted II Timothy 1:7, which is, "For God did not give us a spirit of fear but of power, of love and of a sound mind."

So I was quoting that as I was nervous around the putt. And then I stood behind the putt and (inaudible).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not like a Jedi mind trick, like, hey, if I really act like this is for God, then I'll play better. But in actuality, if my heart is right, I'm more at peace. And certainly life works better from there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When we wake up every day (inaudible) today I'm covered by His grace. I can't do anything to make Him love me any more. And I can't do anything to make Him love me any less, which is a pretty amazing thing.

SIMPSON: Day to day, how does it practically look to be a Christian on tour? I think there's just less pressure on me, because, you know, I don't have to prove myself; I don't have to shoot a score. And so that's why I think, you know, I tell people I think being a Christian on the tour is an advantage.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You believe in him, he's your Savior. You can walk with Him and eternal life is guaranteed. The more I learn about Him, the more I love Him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Awesome. Thank you for taking time with us.



O'DONOGHUE: Well, that's it for this month and 2013. Don't forget all our reports are online and you can keep across what we're up to on Twitter.

Next year, we begin in South America and then it's on to the Middle East and beyond.

But for now, thanks for watching and let's enjoy some more lovely images from a great year of golf. Goodbye.