Tour and News

Golf Magazine Interview: Tommy Armour III

Photo: Elevee Golf/

You're turning 50 this month. How would you describe your career as a professional golfer?
I would say that I've underachieved in certain ways and achieved in other ways. Nothing you can do about it now, because it's behind you. I think I could have won more. I wish I would have worked harder on my short game when I was younger. Tom Kite told me a long time ago that pros don't like to practice what they're not good at. I was like that. The last 10 years I've practiced what I'm not good at.

Would you have had more success if you didn't live a lavish lifestyle and spend your time with rock stars like Kid Rock and beautiful women?
I don't know. I know I wouldn't have met the great friends I have and the people I enjoy being with.

The party you host at the Byron Nelson tournament in Dallas is legendary — you even serve sushi on naked models. Do you think you would have made a good Roman emperor?
[Laughs] I've always thrown parties. I was the social chairman at my fraternity. I don't have a theme for the Dallas party, it's more a feeling when you walk in. One year, the house looked like it was on fire. This year was all LED lighting — more of a groovy party. The fire one was more of a raging party. It's a fun thing. There's no guest list. Whoever shows up is on the guest list. Next year we might have to have one, though, because it's starting to get over the top.

Are you ready to join the Champions Tour?
Before I had back surgery (in June), I didn't plan on playing the senior tour next year because with the groove change you'll have to control your ball more, and I'm pretty good at that. I still love the PGA Tour. When I watch the senior tour, it doesn't look like there are a lot of fans. That's not to say you'd go out there and win every time. It's competitive. Anywhere they play for money — the senior tour, the LPGA, the Nationwide Tour — it's competitive. I need to see after this injury how it's going to be. Whatever happens, I'll continue to play golf because I love it.

How does watching Tom Watson at Turnberry this year make you feel about your chances to compete at age 50?
It should inspire anybody who's over 50. How can it not? Lee Trevino told me 10 years ago, "Golf clubs don't know how old you are." Last year I said Tom Watson would be a great Ryder Cup pick and people looked at me like I was out of my f---ing mind. Literally. Other than Tiger Woods, tell me who's better than Tom Watson on the PGA Tour.

Why do you think you're such a fan favorite?
I hope I am. Having people with me when I play is nice. Sure, some of them respond to the "party guy" stuff. They'll say, "Where you drinking beer tonight?" I don't even drink at tournaments. Stories about me have become a lot more grandiose than they really were. I was even asked to do a reality TV show. I said no. I mean, c'mon.

A lot of fans find many young golfers today to be robotic, lacking in personality.
It's a fair assessment, but to defend the young guys, it takes robotic repetition day after day to be really good at golf. That said, I get it, why people think that way.

Are you and Tiger friends?
I would say that I'm friends with Tiger. I don't call him, but I always chitchat when I see him. Are we close friends? No. Friends? Sure, absolutely.

Tiger appears drawn to older guys on Tour. Is it because he's more mature than his peers?
That's just him learning. Younger guys need to find older guys to learn from. That's what I did when I started on Tour. I would try to play practice rounds with Tom Watson and Ray Floyd and learn from them. It might still happen and I'm oblivious to it, but I really don't see it. I know Vijay will help some young guys, play golf with them.

What's Tiger like in private, when the cameras are off?
He yucks it up like everybody else. But when you're No. 1 in anything, you don't have time for the world. It comes with the position. You have to be selfish.

Would you sacrifice your lifestyle to be No. 1?
Well obviously, no, I wouldn't — because I didn't.

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