It’s the age of the posse. Close-knit circles of trust that are almost like support groups. Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler and Webb Simpson are the ultimate posse on the PGA Tour, though there are a couple of others. On the Champions Tour, there’s the posse of Brad Faxon, Jeff Sluman and Jay Haas. I’m not a long-term posse guy. I’ll hang around with a group of guys for a while, then start fresh with a whole new crew. People do get tired of each other. After I’ve been home for a few weeks [wife] Brittany will say, “Don’t you have somewhere to go?”
I can’t say I’m a fan of the task force to fix what’s wrong with the American Ryder Cup team. Jim Furyk phoned me to explain the reasoning behind it, which was nice of him because I’ve yet to play Ryder Cup. Like I told him, “task force” sounds desperate. After two years of public talk about the task force, what happens if it doesn’t work? You’re going to get hammered worse than ever.
Getting veteran players and past captains together to discuss ideas is smart. But by making it public, it adds a lot of pressure.
The U.S. would do better in Ryder Cups if our guys felt freed up to show more emotion. There was a time when an outward show of fire from a Lanny Wadkins or Raymond Floyd was welcome. Over the past 20 years, the media has pretty much beat it out of them. In international team play, where you’re playing for your country and each other, it’s natural to show excitement. It can lift you up, take you to another level. But our players have been ridiculed so much for celebrating, they tend to rein it in—to their detriment. So long as you’re respecting the other players, the course and the game of golf, everything else is fine.
Say every hole I played was the 13th at Augusta National. I’m in the middle of the fairway, conditions ordinary, 4-iron to the green. Do I go for it in two or lay up? I go for it, every time. Every great person in business, athletics or anything else, has had the nerve to gamble on themselves. They have a deep self-belief. That’s why, when I hit a shot fat into a hazard on the final hole at the Deutsche Bank in 2014, I stood in the fairway and laughed. It cost me a chance to win the tournament, but what the heck. I knew then and know even more now that most times I’ll pull it off.
Pictures : John Loomis