Nashville isn’t a lonely place for you. You grew up there and never left. Why?
I’ve yet to find a place that’s like Nashville. You can literally be in the middle of downtown, drive 15 minutes, and be in the middle of the country, and beautiful country at that. And the people here are so nice, so welcoming. When I was up at Merion [in Pennsylvania], you have to play bumper cars to get around. People are flicking you off, cutting you off. Here, it’s the complete opposite. This is my home. It’s always going to be my home.
Given your roots, you’re a country-music buff by default. How many John Daly tunes do you have in your collection?
Come on. Zero. [Laughs]
Does J.D. have any country-music cred?
No, he does not. I love John. He’s one of the best things to ever happen to the game because he brought in a bunch of people that normally wouldn’t be golf fans. But he was destined to be a golfer, not a singer.
On the Sunday morning before you won last year’s Tour Championship and FedEx Cup, you went to an Atlanta hospital to visit Tucker Anderson, the son of your coach Todd Anderson. Tucker was fighting for his life after a car accident just days earlier. What was his condition at that point?
I just didn’t know what to expect. I knew he was hurt really bad. He had no muscles in his legs. His legs were completely just bone. He had a breathing tube and could only really see out of one eye. But to see him that morning was really awesome. To see Todd and Stacy [Tucker’s mother] and how upbeat and excited they were [about Tucker’s improving condition] was a huge, uplifting moment for me.
Could he speak at that point?
No, the only thing he could do was blink. He had one good eye. Every time I asked him a question I would say, “Blink once for yes, twice for no.” I told him that I was going to play the tournament today. I asked him if he thought I could go out there and beat Rory McIlroy. He blinked once. So I said, “Okay, today is my day.”
And it was. You shot 68 to win by three.
Yeah, I went out there that day and realized how unimportant golf was. I knew that all I can control is the next 30 seconds and to focus on that, and that it’s not life or death. It was one of the best rounds I had ever played.
You said later you knew you were going to win.
Yeah, it’s funny. I had the same feeling [when I won] at Pebble Beach on Sunday [in February], an inner calmness and quietness and confidence. I had that feeling at Augusta [in April], too—it just didn’t work out the way I planned. I don’t get the feeling very often, but when I do, it feels good.
Have you discussed this phenomenon with other players?
Not really, but I think that when most guys look back on the tournament after they win, they realize, I felt really calm. I felt like this was going to happen.
You’ve said you’re conservative with your money, but there must be something you’ve splurged on with your $10 million FedEx Cup bonus.
The biggest thing I’ve wanted I literally just ordered. Did you know there are ice machines that make that ice they serve at Sonic [restaurants], those little [chewable] ice chips? Well, the ice machine in our house broke, so I bought one.
An ice machine? We were thinking of something along the lines of a diamond-encrusted ball marker.
[Laughs] I’ll make sure to let you know when I go down that road. I’m very frugal. I don’t want to be a guy who’s 45, playing on the PGA Tour, and having to make a putt for my mortgage. Some guys like spending their money on cars and big houses. I’d rather do that when I’m 50 than when I’m 30. I should be financially secure for the rest of my life, but you never know. As somebody once told me, it’s a lot easier to go forward in life than it is to go backward.