You've retired, but you're still playing a ton of golf, right?
My son, Daniel, who is 18 and graduates high school this year, decided last August that he wanted to switch from lacrosse to golf. I'm training him. He's got a real passion for it, and we play every day. I'm the one who actually talked him into lacrosse, which he played for seven years, because I told him golf is a lonely sport. But he's at it full-time now. I get up, take my little dogs out, go in the gym and work out and stretch, shower, have lunch, and my son gets home at 2:30 and we head for the golf course. We practice and then at 5 o'clock we play nine holes. He's beaten me quite a few times. Now you gotta understand I'm not putting my best foot forward. If I don't have the right club in my hands I hit it anyway. If he sasses me, though, I'll put my Tour stroke on him, but not very often. I play in sneakers now.
You must have learned some lessons about coaching your kids with your first two boys.
I didn't coach Rick because his mother and I were divorced and he was with her since he was two years old. Tony, my second son, I wasn't with him much because that was the middle of my career. The best Daniel's done in a tournament was 74, which is pretty good for playing for only seven months. My goal is for him to walk on at USC his second year.
What's his goal?
That's his goal. He's 18 years old. Hell, he could be in Iraq right now. I'm not going to set any goals for him. This summer we're going to travel a lot. If he can start shooting par on courses he's never seen, he's the real deal.
What do you make of the PGA Tour these days?
I don't know any of the players anymore. I'll sit down and I'll watch it when Tiger is playing. Luke Donald, how can he be No. 1? He's won one tournament in the last five years! [Golf Magazine conducted this interview prior to Donald's victory at the BMW PGA Championship and his subsequent rise to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings.]
Will Tiger ever get back to where he was before?
I think he'll dominate again. It probably won't be until next year, but people won't see him like they saw him before. He used to have 95 percent of the people pulling for him; now it's maybe 50 percent. I noticed when he came up 18 at Augusta that not that many people stood up. I want him to do well because I'm a golfer. If he's going to win any more majors, he's going to have to start driving the ball better. If he can't do that, s–t, he isn't going to do anything because what saved him before was that short game, especially his putter.
Will Tiger break Jack's record?
Mentally I don't know where he's at right now. I don't know if he wants it as much as he did. I've always been in his corner, and if all the problems he'd had had never happened, I'd say he'd break it for sure, but now I don't think so. I'm going to go on the other side.
How about all the young talent in the game now, like Martin Kaymer, Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy?
I always thought the Europeans were tougher mentally. The traveling is tougher, the climate is tougher. I think their short games are better. They don't have the manicured courses like we have here. The Americans are just as talented, though.
Do they have enough desire?
I've never been one to beat the bushes about them playing for too much money. That may have killed some of the desire. You can't teach passion. You can teach everything else. I was never satisfied. Tiger had that. He's a wanter.
It seems you can still play a little. You birdied three holes on the back nine to shoot your age, 71, and beat quite a few guys at the Toshiba Classic in March. What's left for your 2011 schedule?
Well, I might do a little thing at the 3M [Championship] in August. Last year I played with Chi-Chi and David Graham and we won by something like five shots. I did what I wanted to do and then walked away, just like I showed up. It was a chapter out of "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." When Paul Newman turns to Robert Redford and says, "Who are those guys?" Well, now it's, "Where the hell did that guy go?"