Do you think the Tour is sometimes just a bunch of B.S.?
Bill Haber / AP
[Laughs] You're going to make me answer that? Let me put it to you this way: Golf is really, really boring. It's very self-explanatory. You can go out and watch me do it. Well, what happened on this hole? Well, I hit the fairway, hit the green, and then I hit the putt. That's not exciting, so you've got to start looking for other things to draw your base in, you know what I mean?
There's a lot of white space.
Exactly. There's a lot of stuff to fill. Have you ever listened to golf on the radio? You can fall asleep in three seconds.
You're trying to do a bit more media.
I am. And I feel like the media has to come around, as well. Maybe this is the kiss of death, but I feel like this isn't an accident. I feel like I'm going to play well for a while now. I've been planning on playing this way for 10 years.
At least you're big here in Auburn.
If I went through town today there would be 20 or 30 people who would talk to me.
After losing the 2011 PGA Championship to Keegan Bradley, you received a motivational text from your Auburn buddy Charles Barkley, right?
Oh, yeah. He said he was proud of me and the whole Auburn family had someone to root for, and that is was a great experience, that there would be other tournaments to win. A lot of people got in touch and were worried about me.
Do you text with Bo Jackson, too?
A little bit, yeah. Bo's always texted me when I've had good finishes. The alumni are pretty tight; you go out to play in San Francisco and you've got 15 or 20 people following you at the U.S. Open in the middle of California. It's pretty neat.
You're an avid reader. What are you reading at the moment?
I just picked up An American Life, by James Dodson -- another biography on Ben Hogan. It's one of the few books that I haven't read on him. It's good that there are these books to tell his story a bit more, because he probably didn't do the best job of telling his own story when he was playing.
What's been your favorite non-golf book?
I can't remember the name of it, but there's a small paperback book that deals with how you train mentally and get better at training your mind. There were field tests on groups that train mentally and physically with the Russian weight-lifting team. It gives you a lot of techniques you can use mentally, like visualization. It's almost like watching yourself play on television. I visualized my pre-shot routine, my ball flight, the whole picture of what was going to happen before I did it. The more detailed [your visualization], the higher your success rate of execution.
If you had to save three items from your burning home . . .
My iPhone, because my friends say I'm always on it, checking stocks -- I have about 20 stocks and funds that I like to follw -- or texting friends or reading about sports. I'll have to bring the 2012 [Dodge] Challenger I just built with some people in Texas. And I've got a signed picture of Ben Hogan that my wife got for me for a wedding present.
As a kid you were a standard-bearer at the Honda Classic. What was that like?
I grew up around that golf tournament, from the ninth grade or so all through high school, at Weston Hills. I also worked on the driving range some so I could steal the golf balls. I watched a lot of the pros play.
That was your first experience with Vijay Singh.
Yeah, he always stood out to me, because he was the guy that worked the hardest.
It seems like you took that to heart as a pure walk-on at Auburn.
How mnay people from Fiji are world famous at what they do? You start thinking about how you from there to where he is now. I used to follow Vijay in his practice rounds at Firestone Country Club -- I'd be up in Ohio to see my grandparents and my dad, and I'd go over to the tournament -- and he'd notice that I'd watched all 18 holes.
And now you're pals. How much do you and Vijay play for during practice rounds?
Oh, I don't know, you might lose $400 or $500 if you have a really bad day. It's usually payable in one or two paper notes. There are five or six guys I play with; for us, when you play tournament practice rounds, it can get pretty boring out there. I play a lot with Charley Hoffman, Ryuji Imada, D.J. Trahan. I think competition is good.
How long do you want to be out on Tour?
I've been telling people I want to stop around 40. It depends on how well I do.
Just five more years? You were going broke when playing the mini-tours and living in South Florida. Why would you chuck it all away when you took so long to get to this level?
Because it's really hard. You sacrifice a lot to be a great player and there's more to life than golf tournaments. The travel is terrible. I'm not going to be one of those parents whose family travels with them all the time. I think that with my bond with Amanda and some other family members, it's going to be very hard for me to say, "Hey, I'm heading out on the road. See you in two weeks."
But Vijay was just getting started at 40.
That's true. We'll have to see. I love the competition. If I could have five more years like this one and last year, I would be able to comfortably walk away.