Three majors and a Ryder Cup captaincy might be the highlights of a stellar career but as John Huggan puts it in the introduction, the most impressive thing about Padraig Harrington is that he’s basically a good bloke. Harrington sits down with Huggan a week after finishing a remarkable T4 at the PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, a performance that went largely unheralded thanks to the even more remarkable play of Phil Mickelson. The pair talk elite golf, how to know if a player choked, slow play, the distance debate and much, much more in a wildly entertaining episode of The Thing About Golf.
Estimates say there are as many as 60 million golfers in the world and we all know at least some of them who are completely addicted. The question is why? Join us as we try to discover the answer to that burning question, interviewing golfers both famous – and not – on a monthly quest to solve the riddle of this maddening game.
In the male dominated industry of golf club management, Yarra Yarra Golf Club General Manager Andrea Watson stands out but not only because she’s a woman. Completely new to golf when she took her first job in the dining room at Peninsula Country Club, Andrea has gone on to become one of the game’s most respected club Managers. Here, she chats with host Rod Morri about her career in golf and offers some interesting insights into what the future might hold for the golf industry.
He’s remembered by most – and rightly so – for his two US Open wins, but Curtis Strange’s achievements in the game go far beyond that. A Ryder Cup player and captain, one time holder of the course record at The Old Course at St Andrews and a not infrequent visitor to Australia, he is a thoughtful and eloquent speaker about the game. In this broad ranging chat, John Huggan explores one of the most interesting careers of the modem era with a player regarded as one of the most competitive ever to pick up a club.
Since its inception nine years ago the combined men’s and women’s Vic Open has been a roaring success on all fronts. Now an LPGA and European Tour event, it would have been all but impossible to predict just how big the tournament would get when it was first conceived by then acting Golf Victoria CEO David Greenhill. While quick to (rightfully) credit others with the eventual success of the event, none of it would have happened without Greenhill’s vision. On Episode 40, Greenhill reflects on how an idea which came to him while walking the dog morphed into one of the most talked about tournament in the world.
In the world of golf administration there is no more important role than Chief Executive of the R&A. Former London-based businessman Martin Slumbers was appointed to that role in 2015 and has quietly set about evolving the culture at the organisation to something more in keeping with modern society. A lifetime golfer with an understanding of the game at the grass roots level, he has demonstrated a capacity for innovative thought in his six years in the job to date and, as he reveals to John Huggan in Episode 39, there is more to come.
At the age of 46 Matt Millar is an anomaly in the modern professional game. Despite being one of the shortest hitters on the PGA Tour of Australasia he remains a competitive force in fields of much younger – and more powerful – players. A combination of great accuracy and an enviable short game explain much of his success but as Millar himself admits in this chat, the real key is mental.
Of all the players who have ascended to World No.1 since the rankings began in 1986, Zimbabwe’s Nick Price is the one who attracts the least attention. Universally regarded as one of the best ball-strikers of his generation, Price’s distinctive swing saw him hold the top position for 43 weeks. With three majors to his name and as a two time Presidents Cup Captain, there isn’t much Price hasn’t seen or done in the game. This is a captivating chat with John Huggan, which covers everything from modern equipment, winning majors and life in Zimbabwe in the 1960’s and 70’s.
There isn’t much Mat Goggin hasn’t done in the game of golf, from Australian Amateur champion to professional tournament winner.
But what makes the Tasmanian such a compelling interview is that his interests are broader than just the game. An intelligent and articulate speaker who is widely read, Goggin often gives unexpected answers to seemingly simple questions and always keeps the listener – and interviewer – on their toes.
Now in his mid-forties and heavily involved in the Seven Mile Beach development in Hobart, it would be easy to assume Goggin’s playing days are over. But as you’ll hear from the wisdom dispensed in this interview, that would be a real shame both for Goggin and for fans of the game.
One final note: whether before or after listening to this episode it is also recommended to read the blog post linked below. In it, Goggin explains some of his beginnings in the game and how the Seven Mile Beach project came to be. It is a wonderful accompaniment to our chat and also helps to answer that opening question: What’s The Thing About Golf for Mat Goggin?
For more than 30 years Laura Davies has been a breath of fresh air in the game. A combination of prodigious length and attacking play has delivered 85 professional victories but it is her down to earth nature and sense of humour which has endeared Davies to fellow players and fans alike. In this wide-ranging discussion with John Huggan, the World Golf Hall of Famer is typically forthright on all topics from pros using hybrids (hint: not a fan) to the importance of the Solheim Cup.