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My Shot: Chubby Chandler

Continued (page 3 of 3)


One of our players, Chris Wood, who very nearly won the Open Championship in 2009, had gone to Malaysia the year before and showed up at a Tuesday function in jeans. He hadn't shaved; Darren admonished him to put on a pair of slacks and shave. You'd better believe, Chris got fixed up. That's better than me having to get on him about it, and better still is the fact Chris will remember that for the rest of his life and will instruct players coming after him how to prepare for the social part of an obligation.


If I were to approach young players in the U.S., I would explain early on that we'd manage them quite differently than an American company. I would let them know that unless they were dead set against it, we would try to make them international players. I would tell them this is preferable to staying within the culture in America. No. 1, traveling abroad will enrich their lives. No. 2, in five years' time the money in Asia is going to be bigger than the money in America.


I'll go a step further. In 15 years, 50 percent of the names on leader boards in the biggest events—I'm talking male leader boards—are going to be Asian. Many exceptional male players are going to come out of Korea. Then there's China. There are well over a billion people there, and golf is growing fast. You do the math.


In my years as a pro, the most intimidating player I saw or went up against was Sandy Lyle. In his best days, in the 1980s, Sandy could toss a ball on the ground and hit his 1-iron farther than I could my driver, and I was not a short hitter. Sandy would show up in chilly weather with a jacket unzipped and flopping all over the place and proceed to hit shots that amazed everyone, including the best players in the world. It was the ease with which he did it, you see. I don't think Sandy knew—or knows—how great he was.


On the Japan tour, play is very fast. Always has been. A three-ball takes four hours. I'm talking last group, last day. They simply don't stand for it. I caddied for one of my clients, Richard Boxall, there in 1992 and was warned for slow caddieing.


It's a fact that players rarely performed their best when they were going up against Tiger in the final round of a major. But put yourself in their spot: They knew, and Tiger knew, he was the best player and the strongest mentally. Tiger isn't going to be very welcoming; you can forget chitchat about what you had for dinner last night. It was a tough time for a lot of players, what with two of every four majors being booked.


Contrary to what some people think, Lee and Rory not playing in the Players Championship was not a statement on their part, nor on mine. They had solid reasons for not playing. Lee had been told he could play in 12 events as a non-PGA Tour member, but then the number went to 10, and he could not fit the Players in. Rory had made it clear at the beginning of the year that he wasn't going to play courses he didn't like—of which the TPC has been one—after he played a few tournaments in America where he didn't enjoy himself. But you know, this could change. Rory might rejoin the PGA Tour, and like a lot of players he could end up living in America.


I was amazed that almost no Americans came over and played the BMW Championship at Wentworth earlier this year. If the situation were opposite, most of the Europeans would have come to America. We're talking a tournament with a purse of $7.4 million. Most of the best players in the world were there. Why wouldn't they make the trip? This is going to change, and dramatically. A more global perspective is inevitable, and it's going to be great for golf.


The art of hanging out in the club bar is in danger of being lost. The six-hour commitment to play golf used to be broken down into 3½ hours of golf, 2½ hours in the bar. Now golf takes 4¾ hours to play, and you can't properly socialize with what's left. The qualities of a good hang-out person in the pub—handling your drink, showing a dry sense of humor, not telling golf jokes and so on—is disappearing. It's a tragedy.

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July 28, 2014

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