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.
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.
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.
Tom Callahan is one of the best all-round sports writers in the world. Golf has been lucky to have such a fine wordsmith, with a genuine love for the game, witness its biggest moments and tell the stories of champions. In a career spanning five decades, he’s has had enough experiences to last a few life times from having Ben Hogan critique his swing, to Arnold Palmer making him drinks to trekking through a Vietnam jungle looking for the family of Tiger Phong, the soldier after whom Earl Woods nicknamed his son. In this episode to close out 2020 for The Thing About Golf podcast, host John Huggan chats with Callahan about his colourful career that has included working as a columnist for The Washington Post, long-form writing for Time magazine and authoring best-sellers like In Search Of Tiger and Arnie: The Life Of Arnold Palmer among others. And it shouldn’t surprise that he apart from writing good stories, he tells good ones as well.
This episode of the The Thing About Golf has a distinct Scottish flavour as we welcome John Huggan in his debut episode as co-host where he chats with Scotland’s most promising young professional in Robert MacIntyre. Huggan caught up with MacIntyre the week after he claimed his maiden European Tour title, the first of what many good judges believe will be multiple career victories. MacIntyre is not your run of the mill Touring Professional and in this fascinating conversation with Huggan reveals some insight into an upbringing surrounded by foster brothers and sisters, his passion for the little known Scottish pastime of Shinty and why he’ll never win his club championship playing right handed.
Twice a Honk Kong Open winner Ormsby is one of those golfers who has flown mostly under the radar of much of his career. It would be fair to say he was a bit of a late bloomer in terms of his golf but as you’ll hear in this conversation he has no regrets about learning his craft on the job, so to speak. Hailing from Adelaide where his father, PETER, also a professional, owns one of the most successful off course retail golf shops in the country we caught up with Wade in his home town where he was into day eight of his 14 day quarantine after returning from the UK. From his multiple successful trips to Q School to a life-long friendship with Adam Scott to the business realities of playing golf for a living, Ormsby is open, honest and reflective in this interview which I hope you enjoy…
The name Jane Lock will be familiar to anybody with an interest in the history of the game in Australia. After all, she won the Australian Women’s Amateur three times and was a member of the first Aussie team to win what’s now known as the Espirito Santo trophy, the world cup of amateur golf. But beyond that, most of us know almost nothing of Jane Lock. An LPGA Tour player from 1980 to 1986 her professional record never really reached the heights of her amateur achievements. But her contribution to the game in Australia should not be overlooked.