I don’t know, I think four times a year you’ve got to have your best you’ve got to bring your brain and your patience, and if you don’t, you’re not going to do any good. You’ve got a choice, and I’m trying to have a better one.
June 18, 2006, after winning U.S. Open: The greens here are so well-designed, You’ve just got to play the hole backwards before you start. You’ve got to know if you’re going to miss the tee shots you’re going to miss the shots because they’re narrow, extremely narrow. So if you’re going to miss it, you’ve got to miss it on the correct side so you can run it up near the green to a spot where you’re going to have a chance of getting it up and down.
On a good golf course you have to think backwards like that. Augusta National you have to think backwards. I like a golf course that makes you think that way. St. Andrews makes you do that.
I enjoy that aspect of golf, you know, just really plotting my way around there and thinking about it.
There was not like a light bulb, it wasn’t like an epiphany or anything. It was just a gradual realization that for the most part the best players out here are the best because they’re the best up here. It’s just the maturing process. If you’re at 18, you don’t want to hear that; you just want to hear you’ve got to hit the ball good and then it’ll take care of itself. You go through and you play with guys, you do it yourself, you kind of self-destruct and you get down on yourself.
And then you play with guys and see it from another perspective and see another guy self-destruct and kind of get in his own way, if you like. The longer you play, you get older and wiser and smarter and start realizing that it’s not very constructive to have anything but an exemplary attitude.
Tiger Woods is the best golfer in the world because he’s got the best brain. He hits the ball well, but there’s plenty of guys that hit the ball well. But he’s got the best head. He’s probably got the second best head in history next to Jack, and it might turn out that Tiger’s might be more impressive than Jack’s. Nicklaus’ was obviously the best because his brain was the best, no doubt.
You just slowly come across the realization that you’d better be smarter about it, I guess. I don’t know.
April 6, 2010, pre-Masters, comparing Augusta National to Royal Melbourne: Yeah, it is. I mean, an Australian Open setup, say, at Royal Melbourne is similar that if you miss it in the wrong spot on the green, you have absolutely no chance. You are just looking to get the chip shot on the green, which happens out here if you miss it in the wrong spot. If you miss it in the right spot, it’s really quite simple and I guess that’s the beauty of golf courses like these is that they invite you to try to work out where those good spots are and tempt you to learn where the bad ones are.
It’s spacious off the tee like Royal Melbourne is. There’s a bit more water and some tricky wind directions out here. It’s always, you change direction suddenly quite a lot out here and it does do some funny things to the trees, the wind here, so the unpredictability of the wind is more a factor than Australia. In Australia it would be constant in one direction. As far as the setup around the greens, it’s definitely the same type of approach that you have to take to it.
March 3, 2013, Honda Classic, PGA National Champion, after finishing second: Yeah, it’s a pretty impressive effort (referring to Thompson’s win). There’s a lot of golf courses on Tour that it might be easy to close out a golf tournament, or easier, but this is not one of them. This is probably one of the hardest.
RELATED LINK: More blogs from Lorne Rubenstein
Lorne Rubenstein has written a golf column for The Globe and Mail since 1980. He has played golf since the early 1960s and was the Royal Canadian Golf Association’s first curator of its museum and library at the Glen Abbey Golf Club in Oakville, Ontario and the first editor of Score, Canada’s Golf Magazine, where he continues to write a column and features. He has won four first-place awards from the Golf Writers Association of America, one National Magazine Award in Canada, and he won the award for the best feature in 2009 from the Golf Journalists Association of Canada. Lorne has written 12 books, including Mike Weir: The Road to the Masters (2003); A Disorderly Compendium of Golf, with Jeff Neuman (2006); This Round’s on Me (2009); and the latest Moe & Me: Encounters with Moe Norman, Golf’s Mysterious Genius (2012). He is a member of the Ontario Golf Hall of Fame and the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame. Lorne can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org . You can now follow him on Twitter @lornerubenstein