GOLF Magazine Interview: Paul Goydos

Paul Goydos, January 2009
Brad Swonetz/Redux Pictures
"I appreciate absurdity. I hit a little white ball around a big grass field into a gopher hole, and make a ridiculous living."

Bob Costas: "Ever had a 54-hole lead before?"
Paul Goydos: "No, but I've only been on Tour for 16 years."

Costas: "What were you thinking on the tee on the island hole?"
Goydos: "Land."

Costas: "How'd you sleep last night?"
Goydos: "On my back."

The 44-year-old pro's deadpan delivery on TV at last year's Players Championship turned NBC into Comedy Central — and turned the journeyman in the Long Beach State Dirtbags cap into an everyman. Sergio Garcia won the sudden-dunk playoff after his opponent rinsed his tee shot on 17, but Goydos, with his PBA Tour physique, won the affection of millions.

The single father of two slid into a booth at a favorite hangout, Legends sports bar in his native Long Beach, where his famed cap hangs under glass on the wall (next to Olympian Misty May-Treanor's yellow bikini bottoms). A natural-born barstool philosopher, Goydos ordered a platter of hot wings and waxed sardonic on Tiger, TV, getting better with age — and the true meaning of life.

You've won Bay Hill and the Sony Open. But you became a star after finishing second at the Players last year. What moment from that week stays with you?
The ball going in the water on 17. Unfortunately. It was a great week, but when we strip away everything, I'm left with "what ifs." Tiger doesn't "what if." Tiger just wins.

Some say you were unlucky — that a gust of wind cost you.
That's baloney. That's disrespectful to Sergio. Unlucky? Let's talk about the guy who hit it to three feet when he had to. That's the story. Not a gust of wind.

Your nickname, meant ironically, is Sunshine. We didn't see that negative attitude after the loss.
There's humongous disappointment, sure. But we don't know how this story turns out. We'll see how I play in 2009. If I don't do much the rest of my career, it's disappointing. But I've got two daughters, loads of friends, a good life, and I make crazy money compared to most of the six billion people on this planet. For me to gripe about finishing second in a golf tournament is disrespectful to the guy who's busting his hump to take care of his family.

When were you most nervous — the tee shot on 17 in the playoff?
No, over my 20-incher for par that I almost missed [on the 71st hole]. That was nerve-wracking. Thousands of people hit it in the water on 17. But nobody misses a 20-incher to give away the tournament. The whole world would think, How'd this guy get here?

Was it gimmicky to end the so-called fifth major on the island hole in sudden death?
TV is business. You can do a three-hole playoff, but you'd need 45 minutes, and you run into the evening news, and you're screwed. And it's called "sudden death," not "hit a few shots and see who wins."

Did you watch the tape of the tournament?
I thought it was funny that, with Johnny Miller, I went from a guy who swings like a caddie to a guy that [Ryder Cup captain Paul] Azinger should look at as a captain's pick.

Have you gotten offers to do TV?
The BBC asked me to do commentary for the Ryder Cup, but that's kind of working for the enemy [laughs]. I have a lot on my plate: Single parent, pro golfer. But some day, who knows. Any guy who says he doesn't have an ego has the biggest ego of all, and I enjoyed sitting with Bob Costas in the spotlight. I remember we were sitting there, and at first I was just watching the highlights. And Costas says, "You know, you can comment." So I said what came to mind.

They showed me making a 30-footer, and I said, "He's a good-looking guy." He asked me why I buttoned my top button on a 90-degree day. "Because I have no shoulders. It keeps my shirt on." That's my personality.

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