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Trump's Message to Alabama; Russia Investigation; California Wildfires; Brexit Negotiations; West Bank Clashes and Palestinian Protests; Sergio Garcia On The Masters And His Family. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired December 9, 2017 - 03:00   ET



CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Going all in: U.S. president Donald Trump calls on voters to elect controversial Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.

Out of control. firefighters in Southern California work around the clock to contain six different blazes.

Plus a Brexit breakthrough: U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May gets a deal. But the next phase could be even harder.

Hello, everyone. I'm Cyril Vanier from CNN Headquarters here in Atlanta. Thank you for joining us.


VANIER: On Tuesday, voters in the U.S. state of Alabama will choose their next senator and, on Friday night, the Republican candidate got a boost from the president, Donald Trump endorsed candidate Roy Moore at a rally in Pensacola, Florida. That is just a few kilometers from the Alabama state line.

The endorsement is not without controversy as several women had accused Roy Moore of sexual misconduct or assault. Kaitlan Collins has the latest on the story.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Though the White House has said repeatedly that President Trump would not come to Alabama and campaign for Roy Moore ahead of that Senate election on Tuesday that is highly contested, he did the next best thing when he came to a campaign-style rally in Pensacola, Florida, and called it a ring of fill (ph) with Alabama resident to get out and vote for Roy Moore.

Not only did he endorse him in person, as he has done on Twitter, the president also hit at his Democratic opponent in that race, Doug Jones, claiming that he's weak on crime and that if he made it to Washington, he would be Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi's puppet.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We can't afford to have a liberal Democrat who is completely controlled by Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer. We can't do it.

His name is Jones and he's their total puppet and everybody knows it. He will never, ever vote for us. We need somebody in that Senate seat who will vote for our "Make America Great Again" agenda, which involves tough on crime, strong on borders, strong on immigration.

So get out and vote for Roy Moore. Do it. Do it. Do it.


COLLINS: Now though the White House has said that the president finds the allegations made against Roy Moore troubling and concerning and that if they're true, Roy Moore should step aside.

We heard from the president himself on some of those allegations during his rally. He brought up Beverly Nelson, the woman who says she was 16 years old when Roy Moore assaulted her and as part of her proof, she showed where he signed her yearbook.

The Moore campaign has said that it was a forgery and that that was not his signature. And when Nelson said on Friday that she had written the date and the location underneath his signature, the Moore campaign took that as an opportunity to say that she was laying and had admitted it was a forgery.

President Trump brought that up on the stage behind me here in Pensacola, mocking Beverly Nelson over that. So we heard from the president himself on what he thinks of that accuser. We know that sources have said that privately he doubts the women who've accused Roy Moore, comparing it to his own situation in the presidential election last year when he, too, was accused of sexual assault by multiple women.

So though this White House said that President Trump would not campaign for Roy Moore, he's essentially done the next best thing tonight when he said to get out and vote for Roy Moore.



VANIER: Eliana Johnson joins me now. She's a White House reporter for Politico.

Eliana, help us understand the politics of this and we've known for several days now that Donald Trump decided to throw all his support behind Roy Moore but it wasn't a given.

If you look back to two-three weeks ago Donald Trump had seemed to hesitate and if you look back even further, of course Donald Trump had backed somebody else in that primary.

Roy Moore is not the person he wanted to see run for that Senate seat and yet now it seems like it's become a political marker, like part of his political identity that he is backing Roy Moore. ELIANA JOHNSON, POLITICAL WRITER: Cyril, there are a couple of factors at work here. The first is that Roy Moore before Trump got involved in this, bounced back in the polls. So there was a period about a couple weeks between when these allegations of sexual impropriety were dropped simply the campaign unfolding.

And Roy Moore began to bounce back in the polls. And I think that Donald Trump's calculation was that he could weigh in on Roy Moore's behalf and appear like he helped him win this race.

And it was an opportunity --


JOHNSON: -- for him to make up for what he felt like was a real embarrassment for campaigning for Roy Moore's primary opponent Luther Strange, the current senator from Alabama, and really seemed like he made a -- what was a decisive factor in this race.

The second was this entire tax reform debate has played out on Capitol Hill and passed both the House and the Senate by very narrow margins. And I think made the president realize that Republicans really can ill afford to lose a Senate seat when they are trying to pass very critical legislation.

And made him realize that this is a Senate seat that should stay in Republican hands and that Republicans really cannot afford to relinquish to Democrats.

VANIER: And that's interesting. I think especially for our international audience that may be looking at this from a distance and they've heard things about Roy Moore, he has been accused of sexual harassment or worse by minors.

And they may be wondering why is the president taking the political risk of backing him?

You're saying maybe doesn't have a choice.

JOHNSON: He certainly has a choice but I think that he is making the calculation that Moore is likely to win away and on Tuesday though, it is a calculated risk. But he thinks that Moore has a good chance of winning.

And so he's likely to if he campaigns on his behalf, appear that he was a decisive factor in that victory.

And I'd also think that when these allegations of sexual impropriety were dropped on Moore, the president saw dozens of establishment Republicans abandon Moore and he really saw a bit of himself in Roy Moore.

It was akin to a situation -- the situation that President Trump faced in July-August of 2016 when the "Access Hollywood" tape was dropped on him and establishment Republicans were ready to abandon him in droves, called on him to drop out of that race and he was resistant from the outset to abandon Moore.

And he really does see himself as sort of a kindred spirit to Roy Moore. He resisted abandoning him from the outset and all we saw from him was silence.

So he has really gone from uncharacteristically silent to full- throated endorsement.


VANIER: Eliana Johnson from Politico there.

Now staying in Washington, a third member of Congress is resigning over a sex scandal. Representative Trent Franks announced he's quitting immediately after at least one woman says he approached her to be a surrogate for his child in exchange for $5 million. The offer reportedly made his staffers uncomfortable.

Now a House Ethics Committee is looking into the situation. In addition to Franks, Representative John Conyers and Senator Al Franken both announced that they were stepping down amid sex scandals earlier this week.

Meanwhile, we're getting another piece of the puzzle with regard to the Russia investigations hanging over the White House. A report says Russian operatives repeatedly tried to establish contact with another close aide to President Trump after his win. Our Jessica Schneider explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) 2 JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We've learned that senior FBI officials met with Hope Hicks earlier this year, all to warn her about several introductory emails that she received after the election from Russian government email addresses.

FBI agents, they met with Hope Hicks twice inside the Situation Room at the White House at the beginning of this year. They told her that those emails were not what they seemed and that they may have actually been part of a Russian intelligence operation.

So all of that, according to reporting from "The New York Times," but this was a very specific warning and it shows that law enforcement was alarmed that the Russians were still trying to establish contact with the Trump team after the election.

Reportedly Hope Hicks disclosed her meetings with the FBI to White House counsel Don McGann and we do know that Hope Hicks also met with the special counsel Robert Mueller's team Thursday and Friday as part of their ongoing Russia probe.

Prosecutors for the special counsel are also releasing new details in the Paul Manafort and Rick Gates case. They say that so far they've amassed 400,000 documents in their case and that includes financial records and emails and they've labeled about 2,000 of those documents as "hot," meaning that they could be particularly relevant. So the government also saying that they 36 electronic devices they

seized from Paul Manafort's home. Investigators have also, in this case, issued 15 search warrants. And interestingly in the court filings on Friday, the government referenced that Manafort and Gates have given deposition testimony in another matter.

The prosecutors aren't saying exactly what that means. But this case is moving full steam ahead. The next status hearing for Paul Manafort and Rick Gates is on Monday.


VANIER: Thousands of firefighters are working nonstop to combat six wildfires in Southern California. They made progress on Friday with containing five of the blazes. However, the largest of the infernos is called the Thomas Wildfire. It grew to nearly --


VANIER: -- 58,000 hectares.

At least one person has died from that fire now and with dry air and strong winds expected in the area from Sunday, flames could take off again. CNN's Sara Sidner has the latest.


SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: New information from fire officials on the Thomas Fire, the largest fire that's burning, which is three times now the size of Washington, D.C.

They are now saying that 87,000 people have been evacuated. That's almost half the total number of people that have been evacuated across Southern California because of these fires.

And here's why. This is just one home. But around us, there are within eyesight 20 homes that we can count that are burned to the ground. They look just like this, where basically the chimney is the only thing that is standing.

Here is another vista, a view from atop Ventura, this neighborhood devastated by this fired. Home after home after home, leveled to the ground and many of the folks who live in these homes, the homeowners don't even know what their homes look like yet because they have not been able to make it back after evacuating, some of them with just the clothes on their back or with just a small bag, for example, their prescriptions.

This has been such a difficult time for them and for the firefighters, who are working double and triple shifts, trying to knock this fire back and it's still only 10 percent contained at this point.

I do need to mention how many firefighters are battling this blaze, which is still raging in the hills. About 3,500 fire personnel, 21 helicopters that you have been seeing, of course, dumping water and trying to stop these blazes. I must say that when you watch the work they do, they are amazingly accurate with dumping that water. But the flames just too strong and they keep on rolling.



VANIER: After months of impasse, a breakthrough in Brexit talks on Friday -- finally. Erin McLaughlin explains what the E.U. and U.K. agreed on and looks back at how hard it's been just to get to this point.


ERIN MCLAUGHLIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After nearly nine months of punishing negotiations, a breakthrough, something to make Theresa May smile. And the all-clear from the European Commission.

JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN COMMISSION: The commission has just formally decided to recommend to the European Council --


JUNCKER: -- that sufficient progress has now been made on the strict terms of the divorce.

MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): It's a deal many feared might never be done, especially after what happened in Brussels earlier in the week.

THERESA MAY, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Some differences do remain, which require further negotiation.

MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): May was forced to go home empty-handed after texts aimed at settling what happens to the Northern Ireland border leaked to the press. Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, which holds the key to her government majority, nixed the agreement.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We will not accept in any form of regulatory divergence.

MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): It took four more days of intense phone calls between Belfast, Dublin, London and Brussels. Then in the small hours of Friday morning, just enough progress, paving the way for a press conference, unveiling a deal on the breakup, the issues that matter most to the E.U.

The financial settlement, rights for E.U. citizens in the U.K. and vice versa and Northern Ireland. In the 15-page joint report outlining the agreement, the U.K. has made plenty of concessions on those issues, including on money, committing to a formula to pay the E.U. tens of billions of euros and a role for the European Court of Justice to be able to weigh in on what happens to E.U. citizens.

A red line for hard-line Brexiteers who wanted to leave the E.U. to avoid the European courts. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The whole thing's a humiliation.

MCLAUGHLIN (voice-over): But what's seen in Brussels as a diplomatic victory for Theresa May, is also likely to be bittersweet.

DONALD TUSK, PRESIDENT, EUROPEAN COUNCIL: We all know that breaking up is hard. But breaking up and (INAUDIBLE) relation is much harder.

MCLAUGHLIN: Friday's deal still needs to be approved here at the European Council in Brussels, something that seems likely. Then the focus shifts to the potential transition, something that the U.K. desperately wants to maintain the status quo for two years after Brexit to give British business more time to adjust. E.U. officials already warning that that, too, will come at a high price -- Erin McLaughlin, CNN, Brussels.


VANIER: Joining me now is Ryan Heath, senior E.U. correspondent for Politico.

Ryan, start by telling me how people reacted on both sides of this deal.

What was the reaction for the E.U. and how does Britain feel about this deal and what they've obtained so far?

RYAN HEATH, POLITICO: A significant degree of happiness on both sides. And that should perhaps worry both sides. From Brussels, they're very pleased because, A, they got a deal and that helps them remove uncertainty out of this process and they feel like they didn't really have to give a lot to get that deal.

They hold their ground. They stay more united than perhaps they expected to stay and they feel that Britain has given them almost everything they wanted.

On the U.K. side, this allows Theresa May to really slay at least for a few days or weeks the critics in the cabinet who have been threatening her premiership. This allows her to say I can do a deal. You can let me see this through until Brexit day itself, perhaps even further.

And the Irish, they laid out their cards on the table a few weeks ago. They wanted explicit assurances and they essentially got them, even if the can is kicked down the road a little, they have a safety net.

They will get to keep the regulatory alignment between the North of Ireland and the South of Ireland, even if the trade talks are wrong. So for now, everyone is happy. Let's see how long it lasts.

VANIER: Yes. Let's see how long it lasts indeed. And especially as the European Council president has said that was the easy part. Now starts the hard part.

What does he mean by that?

Why is the hard part to come next?

RYAN: It's hard for both sides. For the E.U., it's going to be hard to stay united. When you have trade talks, you have to give and take. So all the taking has been on the E.U. side for now. Now they are going to have to start making some compromises and they're going to discover that when Britain takes away its checkbook, that it will have less money to spend when it sets its own long-term plans.

So that means less money for (INAUDIBLE) countries like Poland, less money for countries like Hungary and that is going to cause (INAUDIBLE) inside the E.U.

And the tough part for the U.K. has been negotiating a trade deal. But they've already got the best trade deal with the E.U. It's called single market membership. So the U.K. can basically only go backwards from here. In the minds of some Britons, that's achieving more freedom so they don't mind paying that price.

But overall, they can't get any more trade access than they already have just (INAUDIBLE) how much (INAUDIBLE).

VANIER: Now the way these negotiations have been handled up to now and the relative strengths of both negotiating parties, what does that tell us about what's to come?

RYAN: Well, it tells us that we're following the same model that the E.U. has followed for 40 years. A lot of people around the world view the E.U. as somewhat of a soft power because it doesn't have a nuclear arsenal to back it up.

But when it comes to negotiations like this, the E.U. is possibly the toughest in the world. They write them out. They crush --


RYAN: -- their opposition. And in this case it is 27 versus one. (INAUDIBLE) with Greece. They even went -- people do a fight back (ph) like on referendums, say, no, we won't take this anymore.

In the end they basically give in to the (INAUDIBLE). And so it's going to be this mechanical process that the U.K. can take the edges of or give up things within that process.

But it's not going to be a normal negotiation where they just turn up with better arguments and make their case in a smart way, where they win. It's not going to work like that.

VANIER: And it's also becoming pretty apparent, from what was -- what's just been negotiated, that there is going to be a potentially lengthy transition period. After the end of Brexit and before we get to this future relationship between the U.K. and the E.U. that remains to be negotiated, what's this murky transition period going to look like? Well, it will look pretty much like E.U. membership for the U.K. and from the E.U. side, they get all the money they've been getting now from Britain. And what that means is that it's very hard to do a trade deal.

Every -- all the both of a side are afraid of essentially diving off a cliff in 2019 without any of the new systems in place. And trade deals, they don't get negotiated overnight. In the best-case scenario, you might have one in place in 2021, probably we're looking at something like 2022 or 2023 before you dot all of the Is and cross all the Ts.

And so both sides have said let's go the safer route. Let's just give ourselves two more years' breathing space. Look how long it took just to get to this point, 18 months just to do the divorce.

VANIER: Absolutely. Ryan Heath, all right, we will talk to you again when they get into the thick of things, probably at the start next year. Ryan, thank you. We appreciate it.

Coming up, president Trump's Jerusalem decision gets slammed the U.N. and even some U.S. allies say it was the wrong move. We'll tell you why after the break.

And what's behind this, the sails of the city Opera House lit up in celebration. We'll have more on that as well. Stay with us.




VANIER: Welcome back.

Arab League foreign ministers are set to meet in Cairo in Egypt in the coming hours in order to -- in order to discuss the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The Wednesday announcement by U.S. President Trump set off protests by Palestinians. They clashed with Israeli forces in the West Bank and in Gaza on Friday.

At least four people were reportedly killed. Officials say all the deaths were in Gaza. Three of them coming from Israeli airstrikes. Israel says its aircraft targeted Hamas after projectiles were fired at Israeli territory.

And protests also broke out in Jerusalem after Friday prayers at al- Aqsa mosque. CNN's Arwa Damon was there. Here's her report.


ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The chants broke out shortly after Friday prayers ended inside the courtyard of the al-Aqsa mosque, Islam's third holiest site, the crowd vowing victory over the Jews.

"With our blood and our souls we will sacrifice --


DAMON (voice-over): -- for al-Aqsa," they shouted.

They've just started walking out. Of course, what everyone is concerned about but also at the same time anticipating to a certain degree is that some sort of clashes will erupt, as they have on so many other occasions.

There's anger at the U.S., Israel, the Jews but also other Muslim leaders, especially the Saudis, who despite Saudi denials, many feel betrayed them.

"They gave their stamp of approval," this woman shouts.

As the thousands poured into the picturesque, narrow alleyways of Old Jerusalem, it did not take long for the confrontations to begin, although, the day would end up to be considered to be measured by the standards here.

From Palestinians and Muslim around the world, Trump's declaration that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was as it to proclaim that the Palestinians no longer have a claim to East Jerusalem as the capital of the state they have dreamt of for decades.

And for Muslims, as if Jerusalem has no place for them.

This is a city well accustomed to protests, clashes and tensions. There's almost a rehearsed back-and-forth as if it were some sort of twisted gave of cat-and-mouse, where spectators and shopkeepers dodged both the protesters and the Israeli security forces.

But there's also a sense that things had been altered.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (Speaking foreign language).

"This time it's different. He wants to wrestle the bulls in Jerusalem (ph)."

Here, 64-year-old Figetz Schwake (ph) says, referring to Trump.

"Why does he need to plant his flag here? We feel that he is coming here to set the whole region on fire."

There is rage, a feeling that a knife has been driven deeper into the wounds of (INAUDIBLE). And a profound sense of sorrow brought on by the reality that a two-state solution (INAUDIBLE) is perhaps more elusive than ever before -- Arwa Damon, CNN, Jerusalem.


VANIER: Before we wrap up the show, we want to leave you with these pictures from Australia. The sails of the Sydney Opera House lit in rainbow colors Friday night. So remember we told you earlier this week that Australia has legalized same-sex marriage, the 26th country to do so. So that's why the opera house paid tribute with the rainbow colors.

The first weddings were expected in January. And Australia will also recognize same-sex unions from other countries.

That's it for CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Cyril Vanier. I'll be back with the headlines in just a moment. Stay with us.


[03:30:16] VANIER: Hey, welcome back. So let's get you those headlines on CNN.

U.S. President Donald Trump endorsed controversial Alabama Senate candidate, Roy Moore on Friday. The announcement came during a rally in Pensacola, Florida which is just a few kilometers from the Alabama State Line. Moore is facing multiple allegations of significant sexual misconduct.

At least one fire related death has been reported in Southern California. Firefighters are working around the clock to come back to six places. They made progress Friday with the Liberty Fire that's now 90% contained and the Creek Fire which is now 70% contained. However, strong winds expected from Sunday could fuel the flames over the next 48 hours.

Arab League Foreign Ministers are said to meet in the coming hours to discuss U.S. President Trump's Jerusalem decision. U.S. recognition of the city as Israel's capital has led to more fatuous on Friday. Four Palestinians were report to be killed including three in Gaza air strikes. Israel says that it targeted Hamas there after projectiles were fired at Israeli territory.

Plus the UN Secretary General calls this a war crime at least 15 peacekeepers killed in an attacked Thursday in the eastern parts of Congo. Fifty three people were wounded, the UN says it's the worst attack of its kind in recent history. The peacekeepers were all from neighboring Tanzania and a rebel group is thought to be behind this. That's our headlines on CNN.

Stay with us. "LIVING GOLF" is next.


SHANE O'DONOGHUE, CNN HOST, LIVING GOLF: On this one show, we spend time with the man who got married this year. He also announced that he was about to become a father. And, oh yes, he won his first major, the Masters. It's been a pretty good 2017. Good to see you sir.


O'DONOGHUE: Yes. We caught up with Sergio Garcia, the Masters Champion in Spain to reflect on his incredible year.

S. GARCIA: We always tried to do is just improve. It's not easy but tried to do right things on the golf course, but also outside the golf course and help people in needed and kind of grow up both as a player and as a person.

O'DONOGHUE: We also look back on Living Golf in 2017 and the 10 past or present number one ranked players we featured on the show.

TIGER WOODS, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: There was a lot of dark times where I couldn't get out of it, couldn't move and this time, last year, I didn't know if I would ever play golf again.

DUSTIN JOHNSON, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: You know, I kind of always hunger on that five through 10 spot. It was just time, I was just fed up with being good. I thought I could be a lot better.

O'DONOGHUE: And we met rookie's Jordan Speith and Angel Yin to find out what they learned from their first full seasons on the European and LPGA Tours.

ANGEL YIN, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: Nudge my agencies, all that stuff, don't worry about it. If you play well, all that comes to you, right? Good ways. Yes, I'm back from the 18 year old, right?

O'DONOGHUE: This is the Sergio Garcia Junior Golf Academy based at the PGA Catalunya Resort at Irati (ph), Barcelona. After a great year, that saw him went three times including at Augusta National, a chance for Sergio to return to his homeland and to conduct a Master class with juniors from his academy and from his charitable foundation.

S. GARCIA: We've had this foundation for 15 years now, but every time we -- we get the chance of helping kids, it's always -- so, fulfilling. We are so blessed with everything that we get and how healthy we are and everything that is going on and you know, to be able to help a little bit those people. This is amazing, to be able to have that opportunity and to make so many people happy. The money cannot buy those things. So it's a great pleasure to have.

O'DONOGHUE: And does that fuel your ambition as a player to continue to kind of strive and to achieve things?

S. GARCIA: The better we are and the more good individual things we do then the more things we can do to help other people because they have -- it has a better, you know, impact when you're able to do that. So it kind of goes together, that's also one of the reasons why we practice hard and we try to make sure that, you know, we would play as well as we can every time we do.

[03:35:01] O'DONOGHUE: As someone who's watched the ebb and flow of Garcia's career close at hand, it's great to see what seems like an inner peace in him now. A sense of fulfillment. But without a major to his name, that wasn't always the case.

A title of best player yet to win a major, as Sergio was labeled for a long time, but it's a bit of a double-edge sword. Yes, people think you're good enough to win one, but you've yet to achieve it and then you're contemporary start to win them, and the big one, continues to allude you and the pressure starts to mend, all the while, its time just hits on.

Sergio fans solace from a friend and rival who also spent much of his career seeking that first Major title, 2016 Open Winner, Henrik Stenson.

S. GARCIA: I congratulated him and I tell him how happy we were for him and everything and one of the first things he says -- he said to me was, "I'm 40, you're 36, you still have 16 majors before your 40 so, you have plenty of chances." It definitely helped. I'm not going to say that I won because of that, but at the same time, it is something that coming from someone that you respect, that is a friend of yours that is being there is being closed many times and as him being able to do it and finally does it, when someone like that tells you that obviously does -- it does hate you right on this muscle right here. So, you know, that definitely meant -- meant to (inaudible).

O'DONOGHUE: On his 74th attempt to win a major, at a gust of this year, it finally all came good. In his thrilling duel with Justin Rose, Garcia won in a dramatic play-off.

It turned into a classic, you know, when you can't think any word that I'm sure because you got to focus on the job and how -- what was the pressure like, you know, when it starts to really come towards the conclusion?

S. GARCIA: It's a funny feeling because I've had some of those moments where I've been quite nervy. I maybe not as comfortable. This time, I was comfortable because I was very calm. So I was very confident and even though it was -- there was some nervous moments, I felt like I was very much in control. And don't worry, I did notice how well we're both playing. So, I wasn't getting caught up in it, I was like this, I mean, in a good shot here and he's in a really good shot and he's making birdie and I'm making birdie very and I'm making eagle and he's making birdie. So, you know, it was very fun to be a part of.

O'DONOGHUE: Waiting to embrace Sergio on the final green was his fiance now wife, Angela who has been crucial in helping him fulfill his potential.

ANGELA GARCIA, SERGIO GARCIA'S WIFE: I know Sergio likes to say that, when he's happy off the golf course, he's -- it's easier for him to be happy on the course and that makes a lot of sense. I mean, obviously, if you have turmoil in your life, anything that you're doing as a profession is going to be more difficult. We bring out the best in each other and he's told me that, that I bring out the best in him and he certainly brings out the best in me and I mean, what more can you ask for and the person that you spend the rest of your life with.

O'DONOGHUE: What's the big difference that Angela's brought to you?

S. GARCIA: It's difficult to just say one, but I think that she's brought, lot of laugh. She's brought calmness, confidence and she's going to bring a beautiful baby girl. So it's a -- you know, it's just amazing, you know, raising a child is never easy but we've both always been massive cares of kids. We've always love kids and we're extremely excited to have the possibility of raising a home.

O'DONOGHUE: The Master class maybe over for the day but Sergio still finds time to play a few holes with 12 students from his academy.

So when you look back on 2017, you know, all that happens. Is it the best year ever for you?

S. GARCIA: When it comes down to all the golf course -- on the golf course, yes. It is the best year ever and without a doubt, I think I've had -- I've been fortunate to have a lot of great years, but that full combination of it, it's -- I would say is definitely the best year.

O'DONOGHUE: To watch Sergio play a game of foot golf at PGA Cataluna and to find out more about the sport, head to


[03:41:13] O'DONOGHUE: Welcome back to "Living Golf". Time now to reflect on 2017 and in particular, the 10 past or present number one ranked players from both the men's and women's game to have featured on the show these past two-year. The official World Golf rankings were introduced in 1986 as tours around the world were stronger to arrive at the PGA tour in the United States. So the need a rose for an all inclusive grading system.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First it was tough on those days and it was -- to some us in hadn't done. Computers weren't quite as they are at the moment. So, on Monday morning, I would get in very early, get all the results from the east and from the west and cheering them out and it will be faxing through all the various media outlets. But by about 11 or 12:00 it was all done in a way.

O'DONOGHUE: Today, the official rankings are put together and went towards England. In a game of numbers, results from as many as 18 tours each week have to collated quickly in today's digital age.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This certainly an increase pressure to deliver that ranking on a first to time scale certainly in certain weeks of the year where a players participation the following week is depended on the ranking then we will certainly to unturn the ranking around on Sunday evening as soon as possible which is (INAUDIBLE) earlier than this possible and then the manual days.

O'DONOGHUE: When analyzing the list, there's only one place to start. The man who had spent 683 weeks at top the rankings, more than double that of any other player, Tiger Woods. But how times have changed? A loss of form, recurring injuries and well publicized personal issues have seen Tiger tumble down the rankings. Before another reported comeback, we spent exclusive time with him at the Dubai Desert Classic in February then rank to lowly 666th in the world.

WOODS: There's a lot of dark times where I couldn't get out of it, couldn't move, pain was too great, in no matter's ever had nerve pain in the back, they can. They sort of understand what that feels like and I didn't know. I honestly didn't know this time last year, I didn't know if I would ever play golf again.

O'DONOGHUE: From the most dominant number one to the very first. When the Official World's Golf Rankings were originally released in April of 1986, Bernhard Langer was the name at number one. Now age 60 and dominating the senior circuit, few players have kept their form through so many years. We sat down with the German ahead of the Senior Open Championship in Wales which he would go on to win and claim his 10th senior major.

BERNHARD LANGER, GERMAN PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: The competition is a lot tougher than people think and I love more intense as well, you know, we're great amongst the breakfast table and lunch and all that. But when we get on the golf course, everybody wants to win and they want to beat the other guy.

O'DONOGHUE: We also caught up with Nick Faldo at the Senior Open where I was lucky enough to caddy for the 6th time major champion during the pre-tournament Pro-Am. Faldo spent a total of 97 weeks to top the world rankings, leading him third on the all-time list behind the only Tiger Woods and Greg Norman.

(INAUDIBLE) how did I do as a caddy, as a bag man, as a toter, as your wingman today?

NICK FALDO, ENGLISH PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: Well you were actually absolutely fantastic, but the only problem is you know, he went (INAUDIBLE) he was to do. He was that good, you will not get hired again.

[03:45:08] O'DONOGHUE: One of Faldo's rivals in the 1990's was Nick Price who spent 44 weeks at number one. He explained his design philosophy to us while at McArthur Golf Club in Florida. One of a dozen courses he's built around the world.

NICK PRICE, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: I have to draw stick man. I have no creative ability at all on a piece of paper but if you give me some dirt, I can push it up and move it around. I like people be at around the bull. If we were to the golf courses too much, it becomes too dimensional. It's just like throwing darts and it's -- and you know, it's not the same. So, that's my whole philosophy is to sort of incorporate more links golf into sort of the -- the sort of American top courses.

O'DONOGHUE: An official grading system was introduced in the women's game in 2006. Not surprisingly, the first player to top the Rolex ranking was Annika Sorenstam, a position she would hold for 61 weeks. We heard her thoughts at the Evian Championship in France.

ANNIKA SORENSTAM, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: When the number one, you have to be -- you cannot lead in the pack, everybody's trying to take you down or replace you or want to take your spot. So you always have to look for new ways to get better.

O'DONOGHUE: We also profiled Ariya Jutanugarn who held the number one spot of two weeks in June of this year. I met up with the big hitting tie for a few holes and perhaps foolishly, a long driving contest. ARIYA JUTANUGARN, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: I've been, I'm going to play golf a long time and I think my life's a key to play base as to go have fun and happy. I'm not very serious. I take everything socially and you know, go have fun.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is the verdict.

O'DONOGHUE: So the verdict is I already got you. So a (INAUDIBLE) 280 yards out. Well done.

JUTANUGARN: Thank you.

O'DONOGHUE: I could lose to you all day long.

Back to the men's rankings, Rory McIlroy spent 95 weeks at number one until September of 2015. When we met him in July, he was struggling for consistency but Rory is seeing the bigger picture utilizing his grab a test in the game to promote the Irish Open as tournament host.

RORY MCILROY, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: The Irish Open is always hot, the atmosphere that you come out here, this is a (INAUDIBLE). It's like it's the final day. So it's always hot at atmosphere, it's always hot greet and support from the public, but the stature are determine by felt, it didn't compare to the atmosphere of the tournament so, you know, we tried to really get the Irish Open Box where it wasn't the -- in the '80s and '90s I think we've found pretty, pretty well in the first three years. So I try to accomplish that.

O'DONOGHUE: In September, we featured another former number one, Lee Westwood, also acting as an event host for the 2017 British Master's at Close House, a course he also helps design.

LEE WESTWOOD, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: I'm not a big fan of building a golf course to be everybody up. I think it's obviously got to be testing but I think, you know, the game of golf is got to be enjoyable, more playable and faster nowadays and I think, you know, the way he design the golf course is part of that.

O'DONOGHUE: Westwood's rise to world number one which he occupied for 22 weeks came after years of dominance from Tiger Woods. Since October 2010, there have been nine different number ones. One of those was Jason Day, the player who top the rankings at the beginning of 2017. I sat down with the Australian at the start of what turned out to be a disappointing year.

JASON DAY, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: They say got me and just to really trying to prove, I mean, golf course up and down like this for a whole career hopefully at the end of the career starting the year and end up here. But now priorities change over the years and I got two kids now, and (INAUDIBLE) Jordan and Ricky and all these guys have to look forward to start a good family and all that stuff too so I'm kind of pass it, you know, I'm glad I've done that, you know, I've got a family too enjoy it with. O'DONOGHUE: Day relinquish the number one spot to Dustin Johnson in February. At the player's championship, we got the thoughts of the player who after struggling to fulfill his potential is finally in control of his game.

DUSTIN JOHNSON, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: All this time, I knew I was really good and I've been good for a long time but you know, I kind of always hunger on that five through 10 spot. It was just time I was just fed up with being good. I thought I could be a lot better.

O'DONOGHUE: Ten number one's profile over a thousand weeks collectively at the top of their respective rankings and 42 major championships between them. We've certainly spend time in some rarified era.


[03:51:33] O'DONOGHUE: Welcome back to "Living Golf". Earlier in the show, we met up with Master's Champion Sergio Garcia at his Junior Academy in Spain. Time now to look ahead. What does 2018 hold?

Well one thing is for sure, junior development is absolutely key to increasing the popularity of golf especially in a world of so many different influences. And there's a lot being done.

One of the leading events in the junior game is the American Junior Golf Associations, Rolex Tournaments of Champions. Now in it's 40th year. Over 140 boys and girls arrived at the PGA National Resort in Florida in November to compete for the title and following the foot steps of previous participants such as Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Paula Creamer.

In the boy's section, local junior Garrett Barber's 800 par total seize him win by one stroke. In the girl's division, Lucy Li who in 2014 became the youngest qualifier in U.S. women's open history at just 11 years old dominates the competition. She shoots at 10 under par 62 in the second round on her way to winning by five shots.

When events like this illustrates is not only the quality and quantity of talent's coming through, but the opportunities the game brings.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Golf is a game for any gender in the skill level in any age and there are so many things that you can do with the game of golf, you look at, you know, all the health benefits and friendships and, you know, as being outside. I think golf is just so much to offer to anybody.

O'DONOGHUE: In our final part, we meet two new stars. Jordan Speith and Angel Yin to find out what they learned and experienced during their stand out rookie seasons of the European and LPGA Tours.

YIN: Everything has happened at how I expect like more competition, cameras more, more cameras, more people, it's been great. I love it. JORDAN SPEITH, PROFESSIONAL GOLFER: Last thing probably I enjoy -- I actually did enjoy traveling is either so seeing different countries around the world and getting more than one country when we can and one country next week. And yes not about jobs to have.

YIN: The toughest I think in the beginning, it was more traveling. I don't think I have stayed home more than two weeks this year. It's just exhausting, I mean, you just have to keep driving.

O'DONOGHUE: For Jordan, his biggest success this year came in too memorable weeks over the summer and made in victory at the Porsche European Open followed by a tied ninth finish in his first major appearance at the PGA Championship.

SPEITH: The whole weight, was just a week, a point of got first my in life is just awesome, you know. While I've mend the case obviously make (INAUDIBLE) 14 on me and it was the third round and the crowd just got nuts. So a whole week was just amazing.

O'DONOGHUE: Angel is still waiting for her first professional win, but her talent earned her captain speak for the USA Solheim Cup Defense against Europe back in August. There were no signs of rookie nerves winning one of their half points to help the American team obtain the trophy.

[03:54:58] YIN: It was like a dream, honestly, everything was planned out back to back. It was no time to rest, I felt like after that week, there seems to be out (INAUDIBLE). I woke up the next morning, I was like wow, going to go to the next event, but it was honestly amazing, the team work, team aspects around -- everything was unreal. I want to do it again.

O'DONOGHUE: The two rookies, each posted impressive numbers in 2017 but when you're playing at the games highest level, there's always room for improvements to keep up with the competition.

YIN: I don't consider that I made it yet because I have so a lot of goals that haven't reach like when any golf tournament I hear, I'm missing a lot of pieces. Small pieces, not big pieces to win. LPGA is the best of the best in the world, good competition, I like competition, it makes you improve.

SPEITH: Obviously, go against each week, thinking that you can win but yes, there's -- now that's work in coach and not sure of my short game and Lu Aris (ph) hear that but it's so smooth and (INAUDIBLE).

YIN: A 120 yards and then, it's a little sloppy. I should be better at it since I hit it so long and was always a 120 in. I've been improving that for the last three months and then it has been working out a lot.

O'DONOGHUE: So having been there, Don Bies and picked up the trophies, what advice would Jordan and Angel give to the rookie starting on the tour in 2018? SPEITH: Not to rush it, just take your time, it will come eventually. I know loses worth of (INAUDIBLE), I mean the (INAUDIBLE) and so going out and then eventually won and yes, just sort of just taking your time to things, not rush on things.

YIN: I'm not good at giving advice, but I'll just say, play your game, don't care about all the other things, management, agencies, all that stuff? Don't worry about it because if you play well, all that comes to you, right? Good advice, yes, I got from the 18-year old, right?

O'DONOGHUE: Wise words to take in to 2018. Until next year on "Living Golf". Bye-bye.