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GOLF Magazine Interview: Paul Goydos

Paul Goydos, January 2009
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Paul Goydos at the 2007 Sony Open, one of Goydos's two Tour wins.
Yet 16 years ago, when you were a rookie, the Tour told you not to talk to the media. How could they get that so wrong?
They give rookies mock interviews. My guy asked ridiculous questions, like, "Player X was in the rough and it looked like he moved his ball ... ." That just doesn't happen. I said, "I don't know what the hell you're talking about." They sent me a critique and said, "Just don't talk. You're terrible." I said, "Whatever," and threw it in the trash.

They tell you to be evasive, to not be yourself. It's the opposite of what you should do. Sure, you don't want to say something that gets you arrested, but it's not like [reporters] are catching me walking out of Congress in a breaking scandal. It's golf.

Fans really took to you. You said you felt like Tiger for a week. Should he follow your lead — loosen up, joke around more?
He can't. If Tiger says the things that I said, it's not seen as endearing. It's gonna be, "He thinks he's better, saying he's good-looking." People forget what I say. Tiger is reminded of it for the rest of his life. He's in a different world.

What separates Tiger from other players? Is he that much better?
The difference between Tiger Woods and me is not this huge chasm. It's that he's a little bit better at a million small things that you can't see, that eat away at you. It's like termites. I think he's the most underrated player on Tour.

Are you better than Tiger at anything?
At being older.

You once said that Tiger's got to beat somebody, and you're merely helping him win his 25 majors. Isn't that defeatist?
There's talk that Tiger is bigger than the Tour. But he needs Paul Goydos. He's the apples in the apple pie. Without the crust, you can't have the pie. Tiger needs the Tour to fulfill his destiny of winning 25 majors, which I think he will.

So, you're crust?
I'm the crust — 50 guys out of Tour school are crust, too. But I want to go out there and beat him. Bring it on. Me being the crust doesn't mean I'm not trying to be apples, and it doesn't mean I can't go into 2009 and win two, three, four times and become an apple.

You journeymen stick together, right?
Steve Flesch, Kevin Sutherland and I play practice rounds together on Tuesdays. We discuss the absurdities of life. We read USA Today and say, "What the hell?" Perfect example is the LPGA. What the hell is going on? Language requirements? Caddies getting background checks? Caddies not allowed on the practice green? They've got a great product and, call me sexist, but they've got some good-looking players. But are you kidding me? Part of me wants to watch the LPGA just to see what they'll do next!

I appreciate absurdity. I hit a little white ball around a big grass field into a gopher hole, like Robin Williams said, and make a ridiculous living. You talk about me having an everyman quality. Well, the everyman doesn't get to play golf for a living. An everyman would be the likes of my father, a 20- year Navy guy, was in World War II and Korea, worked his way to a college degree. That's an everyman.

Years ago, you were a substitute teacher in some tough areas of L.A. Did you enjoy it?
"Enjoy" is an interesting word. It gave me a different perspective at age 25. Gangs were a big problem. I was subbing this guy's eighth-grade class, and one [student] said, "I'm in trouble. We just killed somebody." I said, "Why are you telling me?" I took him down to the office. You hear people say, "These are bad kids." These are not bad kids.

Imagine you're a kid who lives in a tough neighborhood, and your parents work 60 hours a week to live in a two-bedroom apartment — he works at McDonald's, she's a maid. They bust their humps. One day, you walk down the street and a guy in a BMW with four girls comes up and says, "Stand here, raise your left hand if you see a cop, and I'll give you two grand." What do you do? Are you gonna be a hard-working sonofabitch like your parents, or are you gonna raise your left hand? Easy choice.

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