The decorated Olympic skier—and 9 handicap— talks scotch, slopes and finding balance in life.
We’re drinking 12-year-old Macallan. You’re a scotch man! Very sophisticated.
Bourbon and scotch were those mystical drinks that, when you were little, old people drank. They seemed to enjoy it differently than college kids drinking beer did. So I’m trying to move out of that phase of drinking for the wrong reasons and drink for the right reasons.
In addition to being the most decorated American alpine skier ever—with an Olympic gold medal to your credit—you’re an avid golfer. How’d you get hooked?
“Winning Olympic gold is demanding, but that’s why it means so much.” As a kid, I carried my grandmother’s bag while she played. I never really swung a club, but after high school, a bunch of friends and I picked it up, and ever since then I’ve wanted to play every day.
The Summer Games come to Rio this month. Can anything in golf match the adrenaline rush of competing as an Olympian?
For me, the adrenaline rush of skiing was just the excitement of being out there. Even if you’re in first, you might not be in first later. But when you watch guys like Tiger play, the putts or chip-ins that he makes in front of a huge gallery—that makes your hair stand up.
What do you think about the players who’ve complained about this year’s PGA Tour schedule, which was condensed for golf’s return to the Olympics?
You won’t get sympathy from me. They wedged the Olympics into our [skiing] season every year. It’s demanding, but that’s why winning it means so much.
You said recently that you’re more grounded and well-balanced than ever. What’s your secret?
I think it’s my age and a function of maturing slowly and surely. I’m 38 now. I have three kids. As you get older, priorities change, and you start to let go of certain parts of lifestyle and expectations. It’s a long, slow process. And one thing for sure: It doesn’t happen overnight.