The art of interviewing a Tour pro
I don’t like confrontation and I don’t like asking difficult questions. I, like most characters I know, am a people pleaser. I will generally say what you want to hear.
I will ask bland, generic questions to give a player a way in to something interesting, hopefully a nice anecdote or, equally, a way out of something awkward.
I am also a cynic, a doubter, a detractor.
The two go nicely….
Bold – What I say
Normal – What I mean
How big a part does your caddy play a part in things?
Is the person you spend all day, nearly every day for 30 weeks of the year, important to you? Is the person, who is the only person in your ear as you attempt to pull off a lifelong dream, a big part of the deal?
As a follow up, what’s your favourite colour?
What is it like going into a Sunday with a five-shot lead?
You’ve got a bit of a history at not getting the job done haven’t you? Remember Portugal, that didn’t work out did it.
How are you going to get rid of the wow factor ahead of the Masters?
How are you going to stop crapping yourself all week? Why don’t you go two weeks early, spend all day, every day doing laps of the place as, the chances are, you won’t be going back on a professional basis.
What surprised you about Augusta?
Can you tell me very briefly that it’s very hilly in places.
Who would be in your dream fourball?
If these words leave my mouth then I’m generally at a bit of a low. I’ve either lost track of things or run out of questions and there are still four minutes to fill. So out come the dreaded words, both for golfer and interviewee alike, and I take a deep breath, gaze into the distance and wait for the tried-and-tested formula of ‘Bobby Jones, Nelson Mandela and Steve Jobs’.
If you were to rate each element of your game out of 10 how would you rate them?
Has your putting gone?
What were your goals at the start of the year?
Would 75th on the Race to Dubai and a new sponsor on your right epaulet represent a good year 12 months ago?
Do you write your goals down and put them in an envelope?
Prove to me you’re not making all of this up.
What would represent a good finish?
How many shots would you be happy to miss the cut by? You know, and I know, that this is a one off.
How often do you watch that win in 2002?
I bet you watch it every night don’t you.
How much does confidence play a part?
I know, I know it’s a poor question but it does give you a chance to name check your head doctor who, let’s face it, has turned your life around.
Are you a leaderboard watcher?
You are, aren’t you? How could you not be? They’re massive, often electronic, and, as much as you like to make out that you’re playing your own game, shot by shot, you’re really as equally concerned by what Rory is doing three groups ahead.
How do you view your Major record?
It’s not great is it. Me trying to shine a light on your tie for 25th at Baltusrol in 2005 is me basically saying you can’t really cut it at the top table.
Is Q School a weird place?
Do you go a bit loco down at Catalunya? It must be horrific, it would be my worst nightmare – one poor shot; be it a fanned drive, OOB iron, skulled chip or brain freeze on the greens – in 108 holes and you could be done for. Over. Finished.
How much did you think about keeping your card?
Don’t lie to me now, this is your livelihood so you wittering on about ‘just another week’ is just claptrap.
How well do you know Tiger?
Got any dirt on the GOAT? Got anything, you know, off the record that I can pass off as my own story.
Links or parkland?
I’ve now mentally checked out and am basically now delirious…
What’s in your fridge?
Are you an alcoholic?
Indian or Chinese?
These are just words…
If you weren’t a golfer what would you be?
Call centre or seasonal fruit picker?
Earliest golfing memory?
I need a wistful opening paragraph and so far I can’t get past ‘You might be surprised to learn that (insert name) is ranked (insert ranking) in the world…’
Best dressed golfer?
Just say the words ‘Robert Rock’ and I can move on.
Will Tiger beat Jack’s record?
Nurse, the medication.. NURSE!