I WAS once described as the best interview in golf by Golf Digest, which is kinda cool. I’ve always tried to be open and honest with the media. That will never change.
But what if the shoe was on the other foot – what if I could interview anyone in the game? It’s a tough question, but I think Jordan Spieth would be really interesting. As emotional as he is when he plays, he’s a very cerebral operator of the game. Jordan works at golf in a very practical way and it’d be great to pick his brain to find out how he goes about things on a daily basis.
I think the older guys like (Lee) Trevino and Jack (Nicklaus) would be great, too. I would have limitless questions for guys like that. I’m very passionate about the history of the game and I think the older guys would come with more interesting answers given what they’ve experienced during their time in golf.
Ben Crenshaw is another one who would be insightful and a pleasure to talk to. But if I had to narrow it down to just one, it would be Trevino. Just his rags-to-riches story alone separates him from the rest. I’d talk to him all day about all things golf … where he came from, how he went on to have the wool over Nicklaus there for a while … there would be no end to the conversation.
Outside of golf, I’d love to interview President Barack Obama. While Donald Trump would be entertaining, I think you’d get some deeper answers from Obama. It would be really interesting to know what goes on behind the scenes in Washington. I’m completely addicted to the television show “House of Cards” – the workings from Washington from the inside. I think Obama’s take on all that would be fascinating, particularly given he has had a difficult time during his Presidency. He hasn’t had too many people on his side.
It’s certainly an interesting time over here in America. I think there’s a consistent feeling of complete disillusionment of the political system. People on the right think Washington is broken. People on the left also think it’s broken. The two-year election cycle goes on forever and we have two candidates that people aren’t warming to. There are passionate Trump followers or Trump haters – that’s it, nothing really in between.
Everyone has a very strong opinion over here. They’re all very politically minded and want to keep the American constitution alive and well. On the course, you don’t talk about politics because it ends in tears every time. US PGA Tour members are generally right-wing Republican voters as most of their upbringing hails from that type of family set-up. But Trump isn’t your normal Republican candidate so the conversations can spiral out of control. So I don’t talk. I just listen. It’s more fun to listen.
One thing I have been vocal about lately is slow play. It would be nice to find a policy that sped the game up but that’s been talked about for 100 years and will probably be talked about for another 100.
It’s tragic the pace we play at on tour. People have suggested a shot clock could be the answer but I hope not. I don’t think the reason we play slow is because a few guys take too long over the occasional shot. Anyone can take a long time over one or two shots during a round and not be a slow player. It’s the mentality “I will take as long as I want” from a select group of players that’s the issue.
The attitude of “This guy takes forever, I will, too,” has snowballed because they haven’t been punished accordingly. Whether that punishment should be a big fine or suspension, I don’t know. What I do know is five-hour rounds are now considered acceptable on tour and it’s complete nonsense, particularly when you can go home and play with four guys, all on mid-to-high handicaps and get around 18 holes in under four hours. On tour, we can shoot 68s and still take five hours to finish. It’s silly.
The sad thing about it all is it feeds down to amateur golf because they copy the pros. I see it every week in pro-ams. Our amateur partners take three practice swings and throw grass in the air over every shot. But it’s hard to be too critical – they’re only mimicking the pros.
The buck stops with us.