In his playing days, Tony Johnstone was as much renowned for his on course temper as he was his brilliant short game. Today, he’s one of the most recognised voices in the commentary box. In this conversation with host Rod Morri, the gregarious Johnstone talks with some embarrassment about those antics, his second career in television and the multiple sclerosis diagnosis in 2003 that saw him chosen for a drug trial which has seen him symptom free for nearly two decades. Johnstone is at his story telling best here as he reveals why he loves golf, bird-watching and why he reckons Greg Norman is a pussy.
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.
The seeds of Mike Clayton’s love affair with golf began as a six-year-old tagging along beside his father during a round at Victoria’s Point Lonsdale course. Clayton remains passionate about the game, which has been his life for the past five decades. Almost everybody listening to this podcast will be aware of Clayton in some capacity be it as a player, commentator, long-time columnist for Golf Australia magazine, part-time caddie and course architect. It is our hope that no matter how well you think you know him, you’ll come away from thi conversation with Rod Morri feeling like you know him a little better.
Even casual golf fans will be familiar with the name Christina Kim, the former Solheim Cup player and three-time LPGA Tour winner. She’s one of the game’s most popular players and you’ll understand why by the end of this interview. But equally interesting is her less well-known but equally well-liked boyfriend and occasional caddie, Duncan French. The Kiwi-born French is a respected bagman in his own right, having helped guide Michelle Wie to her only major victory at the 2014 US Women’s Open. They might be an odd couple, but here they talk about their shared passion for the game.
Tom Doak is one of golf’s intriguing characters. In the early days of his career, he was best known for his Confidential Guide, a book which featured some blunt and controversial takes on golf courses around the world. For more than 20 years now he has created commercially successful and critically acclaimed courses in almost every corner of the globe, which has seen him become a celebrity in the sub-culture that is golf course architecture. Here, host Rod Morri asks him, “What is the thing about golf?”
To many in the golf world England’s Meghan MacLaren is recognisable only as ‘that equal pay girl.’ But is there more to the 25-year-old two-time NSW Open winner than pointing out the inequalities between professional golfers of opposite gender? The answer is a resounding ‘Yes’. MacLaren is intelligent and articulate, thoughtful and engaging and, most importantly, brutally honest. About everything. From the state of her own game to the state of the broader industry, Maclaren has plenty to offer in this wide ranging and fascinating discussion.
John Paramor has spent the best part of 45 years adjudicating on animal scrapes and penalty drops. But the European Tour’s chief referee is more than just the best known rules official in the world, he’s a passionate lover of the game and an admirer of its very best exponents. He’s had a front row seat at some of the great, and not so great, moments in modern golf – from Seve to Tiger and Rory, backstopping and the Patrick Reed affair, nothing is off limits in this conversation.
In the sub-culture that is golf course architecture, Bob Harrison needs no introduction. The long-time design partner of Greg Norman, Harrison was predominantly responsible for most of that company’s work for most of its life. But that doesn’t begin to tell the story of Bob Harrison. From a near partnership with Seve Ballesteros to eventually turning down the design of both courses at Barnbougle Dunes and on to building the widely acclaimed Ardfin course on the Scottish island of Jura, Harrison has a wonderfully entertaining story to tell.
In the brutal, dog eat dog world of modern professional golf David McKenzie has managed to achieve something very few do… to wit, make a living out of playing the game around the world for more than three decades. Needless to say, he’s learned a few things along the way and in this revealing chat, David offers some insights into the PGA Champions Tour as well as some of the highs and lows of being a long-time touring professional.
Liz Smylie is an unusual interview choice for a golf podcast. Of course, she is best known for her exploits on the tennis court – winning four Grand Slam doubles and mixed doubles titles in the 1980s, as well as climbing to No.20 in the world ranking. What makes her story interesting is she doesn’t play golf at all, but is mum to one of Australia’s most promising golfing talents, Elvis Smylie. This interview could have gone horribly wrong, but as you will hear, it didn’t.