Why endorse MacGregor products at this point in your career?
• I've played the company's irons since 1978. I believe in the product and the brand recognition on a global basis. I consider MacGregor's R&D to be second to none. And, I see a lot of parallels between MacGregor today and when I was with Cobra and [owner] Tom Crow.
What's your role in product development?
• I'll give direct feedback on prototypes. I'll tell them what a better player is looking for, what his expectations are. There was a huge void in my golf career over the past few years when I didn't have that opportunity. I feel rejuvenated, like I'm giving something back to the game and the masses.
How'd you become an equipment junkie?
• I went through an assistant professional's course for a certificate of license to play Tour golf. I spent three years in a pro shop making 28 bucks a week. I learned to build a driver out of a block of laminated wood — to bore it, whip it, cut in the insert, put on the soleplate, and then balance it.
How has the art of driving changed from the days of persimmon to today's titanium behemoths?
• I couldn't play my 7.5-degree persimmon driver with the hard, low-spin balls we play today. But the biggest difference is the workability of the ball. In my day, I shaped the ball all the time. Nowadays, I aim dead straight with my MacTec driver. It'll curve 15 to 20 feet if I really want to draw or fade one. But it wants to go straight. That means you can be way more aggressive with your golf swing.
In a house fire, which is the first piece of equipment you'd run out with?
• My wife [laughing]. I'd say my irons. I've pretty much used the same compact head, with the same neck and leading edge in line with the shaft's leading edge, for 25 years. My forgings fulfill my sense of the game, which is the pure contact — hitting a spot on the clubface that's smaller than your little fingernail.
You shot two 63s in Majors competition — Turnberry in 1986 and Augusta in 1996. With today's technology, could you have gone lower?
• I could've easily shot four shots better at Turnberry. In a heartbeat. The conditions were so windy and the ball moved so much, I had to aim 40 to 50 yards away from the target, even with a mid-iron. Now, I'd just aim it right at the green and hit. I would've shot in the 50s.
What's the next big thing in equipment?
• Irons will be the next quantum leap. That's where the real advantage is for the masses. You have the potential of marrying certain metals for a spring-like effect. Kind of what the MacGregor V-Foil Speed does now. We'll exploit that and bring it to the masses in the next 18 months to two years.