No. 1 Tour Pro Passions: My second love
When golf is your job, it can't also be your hobby. (Unless your name is Vijay.) Tour pros need to decompress, too. From a backhand to the back of a motorcycle, here's how the pros spend their time when they're not beating balls.
HOG WILD: Paul Azinger, 52, motorcycles
How much do I ride? I don't have a car. I'm over the top about it -- I ride a minimum of 55,000 miles a year. I love the thrill of being on the bike, trying to avoid someone hitting you, the competition of being in the right spot on the road, the exhilaration, the rush. You're inches from the ground, the ground's racing by you, you've got all the senses and smells and sounds.
Somebody said even a dead skunk smells great on a motorcycle. [Laughs] And it's risky. I like that. I've gone hard-core. I have four bikes, I've had eight in my garage, and I've owned 35 different bikes. I've never ridden my motorcycle to a Tour event, but I have carried my clubs on it to my home course. I shoved them down the back of my shirt, the whole set of irons and woods. I got a lot of funny looks, but I made it.
There's a trail that runs across the U.S., the Trans-America Trail. My goal is to ride it across the country. The most accomplished rider falls six to 10 times on that trip. If you wreck out there, it's bad. I had a bike accident in 2010. I broke my left foot, had three broken ribs, a separated left shoulder, and horrendous road rash. I slept in a chair for three weeks. About eight days after the wreck, when no one was home, I hobbled downstairs and jumped on one of my bikes, managed to get it out of the garage, rode it down the street, turned it back around and parked it before anyone got home. Nobody knew. I just wanted to do it, and it was like, "Yeah, I still like it." I love it that much.
KING PONG: Ben Crane, 36, Ping-Pong
When I was growing up, my dad and I would head to the table in the garage every night and battle it out. When I was a sophomore at the University of Oregon, I shared a house with my current caddie and five other guys. One night everyone swore they were the best Ping-Pong player in the house, so we built a table. I didn't study much that year. I just played. I was the best in the house.
I hold the paddle differently than anyone I've ever seen -- I hit my forehand and backhand with the same side of the paddle. My backhand is my best shot. I can mix up serves and spins. I have a table at my house. Phil Mickelson travels with his own paddle -- I've had some awesome battles with him. Fredrik Jacobson is the best, though. He played competitively as a kid. I haven't won a game off of him. Brad Faxon is phenomenal but he can't beat Freddie. I would need a coach to beat Jacobson.
Am I willing to put in the hours to get that much better? No. I have a wife, three kids and a great job. But a friend knows a competitive player who's willing to work with me. So I haven't ruled out getting some professional help.
CAR AND DRIVER: Hunter Mahan, 30, custom cars
I have six cars now. My dad was into cars. When I was a kid, anytime an old car drove by, he'd tell me the year, the make. The first car I bought was a Porsche Cayenne. Then I got an [Cadillac] Escalade, which I put custom wheels on. I went through a bunch of cars; I'd buy one, then trade it. My '69 Chevy Nova has a small-block motor with twin turbos. It can go fast, but it's not tuned to go too fast, because it wouldn't be fun to drive. I'm into the cool factor more than the speed factor. I appreciate that you can be so creative with this stuff.
I like taking a car that is very common, then adding subtle differences that make it look different. A Dodge truck that I bought in '04 has flames on it and no door handles. It's real sleek. I've got an '06 Yukon, the Nova, a '72 GMC truck [also pictured], and two Porsches -- a 911 Turbo S and the Cayenne.
Customizing cars is like golf. In golf you're trying to build your career, build shots, and when you practice, you try to discover things, figure things out. I've made the mistake of making a car too nice, where you don't want to drive it because you're afraid someone will bang into you or chip the door. Stuart Appleby is a gearhead. [Rickie] Fowler is a speed demon, with his motorcycle upbringing. I sent Jason Dufner to my custom guys. They've done two of his cars, and he has plans for two more. I infected him with my sickness. No, there's no Toyota Camry in the collection. I guess that'll be my "serious" car some day. [Laughs]
REEL GENIUS: Brittany Lincicome, 27, fishing
I've been fishing since I can remember. My brother used to take me, and my mom loves to fish. I have a 24-foot boat, Taking Relief, named by a Twitter follower. I don't like to shop for dresses or purses, but I go to my local tackle store and spend as much there as other players spend on clothes. I recently caught a Goliath grouper close to 400 pounds. My next big trip will be the Florida Keys, where I can eat what I catch.
For me, it's about the chase. I think about fishing all the time during tournaments, especially at this year's U.S. Open at Blackwolf Run. There was a pond on the 13th and 14th holes filled with bass and trout. That would have been easy fishing. I keep pictures in my yardage book of fish I caught. If I'm having a bad day or need a smile, I look at the pictures -- a Cobia on the front and a four-foot shark on the back -- to take me back to a happy moment, and I'm good to go. Not many LPGAers are into fishing. A lot of the girls live in the Jupiter and West Palm [Florida] area, where the water is so much deeper than where I live [Seminole]. They could go out two miles and be in 100 feet of water! That would take me two days to reach.
RACKET MAN: Matt Kuchar, 34, tennis
When I was a kid, I wanted to be Boris Becker. I thought golf was for old people. Playing professional tennis was my dream. My dad, Peter, played tennis in college, and then he played competitively. I followed him around the courts, and that's how we lived, going from tournament to tournament. We were members at a fun club, Heathrow (Fla.) Country Club, that had a great tennis program. I kept moving up the ranks, playing bigger and bigger tournaments. I loved the game. Then I found golf and fell even more in love, and I took a break from tennis.
When I started dating my wife [Sybi, who played tennis at Georgia Tech], it rekindled the fire. No, I didn't play with her to try to impress her [laughs] -- playing someone who's a collegiate-level player, it's a different game. Today, I play 85 or 90 days a year. The golf swing and tennis stroke are very different. So much spin is required in tennis; you brush up on the back of the ball. In golf, you hit down on it. The one similarity would be body rotation: Clear the hips, open the shoulders and let the club or racket pass through the ball. The best tennis players on Tour? Sergio Garcia and Adam Scott, but I can hang with them. If tennis had a handicap, I'd be a 3 or a 4. I'm even better when my wife is my doubles partner.
LIVIN' ON A SPARE
Mark Calcavecchia, 52, bowling
My dad ran an eight-lane alley when I was growing up in Nebraska, so I've been bowling my whole life. When I first got on Tour back in the '80s and drove everywhere, I had two bowling balls in my trunk. I would bowl in the afternoon if I played in the morning and didn't feel like sitting around the hotel. Now it's streaky -- when I'm home, sometimes I'll bowl a lot, other weeks not at all.
The lanes in our house were my wife Brenda's idea. Jeff Sluman and Chris DiMarco have lanes in their house, so Brenda said, “Why don't we have our own lanes?” We did it as a last-minute addition to the house we built.
My high game here is 279, and I once had 15 strikes in a row over two games. I had eight in a row to start the second game, thought I was going to throw a 300, and completely gagged! Slu is a good bowler. He hasn't been here yet, but I'll get him over. DiMarco? I can take him because he throws a fade, or backup ball, so he's clearly no good. [Laughs] Dustin Johnson has a house across the river, so he's here a lot. He's good at anything he tries, so I won't be challenging him in any other sports, that's for sure.
This article first appeared in the October 2012 issue of Golf Magazine, which is on newsstands now. Subscribers can download the issue on their tablets at golf.com/allaccess.