I don't care for golf magazines and couldn't regrip a club if my
life depended on it, but I do read 25 car magazines a month and
I've built a 1926 Ford street rod, which has about 4,000 parts,
from scratch. That's why the other players call me Car Guy. I
build, collect and race muscle cars, which I've been hooked on
since my older brother, Duane, took me to a drag race when I was
14. Cars are my release valve for the pressures of the Tour, and
when I'm home, I never work on my game. Instead, I'll see the
kids off to school and head straight to my 11-car garage, which
at 6,000 square feet is the same size as our house. I stay busy
tinkering until the kids come home in the afternoon.
My first car was a '70 Plymouth Road Runner. I bought it for
$3,000 during my freshman year at Houston and learned right away
that working on a car is harder than playing golf. I butchered
that Road Runner trying to install things like a dual-point
distributor, a new exhaust system and a set of headers.
Muscle cars are popular among Tour players, who have often asked
me to help them find a vintage model. I never could locate the
'67 Chevelle that Tom Purtzer wanted, but I did find a '73 Trans
Am for Gil Morgan and an '87 Buick GNX for Ben Crenshaw. I own
eight cars: the '26 Ford, a '68 Road Runner, two '68 Shelby
Mustangs (one's a GT-350, the other a GT-500), a '66 El Camino, a
'79 Pontiac Trans Am Firebird, a '91 Corvette with a ZR1 engine
and my favorite, a '67 Corvette convertible. I love the Corvette
because it reminds me of high school, when we used to cruise 11th
Street in Beaumont, Texas, checking out girls and other cars.
It's hard to talk about being young when you're 50, which I
turned on July 18, but age does have its blessings. I expect to
expand my car collection with winnings from the Senior tour. Even
better, the tour has a three-month off-season, which is just
enough time to boost my El Camino from 250 to 400 horsepower by
installing a small-block Chevy engine.
Lietzke came in 24th in his Senior debut in the SBC Senior Open.
COLOR PHOTO: DARREN CARROLL