Most major winners have won between five and 15 regular Tour events before getting their first major. I've won eight. So I'm sitting in that zone where winning a major is around the corner. It's not three bends and two rights and a fork in the road. It's around the corner. I think that time is getting closer.
I think the real difference between good players and a really great player is the ability to find your game, how to achieve the right level. A lot of that is physical and a lot is mental. I think I need to get more absorbed into my own world when the majors are on, like the Maxwell Smart Cone of Silence. Just focus on what I'm doing and play golf.
My highlight and lowlight in the majors? Finishing [tied for] second at the 2002 British Open. And finishing second at the 2002 British Open.
I can be wild as a cut snake. I have a temper, but at the same time I have my father's calmness. Most things that upset me are on the course. I can get razzed up. Sometimes I feel like I just want to explode, but I try to keep that in control and look like Fred Couples. I've never snapped a club over my knee. That's the ultimate form of losing the plot.
I smashed a window in a car once. I was with Renay [his first wife, who died in a car accident in London in 1998] at a tournament, and I just must have had a real bad day. I got in the car and just reached up and punched straight up in front of me, above the steering wheel. I hit it pretty hard but I really wasn't worried about breaking it. Well, it smashed the whole window — just that straight punch. Renay was spooked, and I was spooked, too. I didn't think I could smash the window. That's the only time I've really lost it.
We don't have hired help. We take our turns in the kitchen. I'm not Emeril, but I'll keep everybody fed. I didn't get this far eating crackers and cheese. I couldn't believe it when I heard Gywneth Paltrow named her kid Apple. Is she naming it after a fruit? A computer? I think her last one was Moses. Maybe it's the God-given right of celebrities to give their kids names that people are going to think are weird. "So, your name is? Apple. Sorry, you'd like an apple? No. Would you like an apple? No, my name is Apple. Oh, okay…like the computer? No, no, no. Like…me." I'm not into weird names.
My first impression of [second wife] Ashley was she was a beautiful woman with a vivacious personality and a beautiful smile. I remember my coach, Steve Bann, walking with her in one of the first two rounds [of the 2000 NEC in Akron, where Ashley and Stuart met], and I hadn't had a chance to talk to her much. But I asked Steve, "What's she like?" He said something like, "I'm telling my wife she's got 10 minutes to pack the bags." We went out to dinner later that week.
For a long time I kept things [to remind me of Renay]. I don't anymore because now I've finished that chapter in my life. That's for keeps in my mind and with Renay's family. We talk about a lot of the fun times in the past, and I think that's become a lot easier for all of us. Being a farmer, you have to be thick-skinned and constantly optimistic because the weather is always playing tricks. If you've done it for 30 or 40 years like my dad you almost have to be rebellious, and I think it's the same with golf, the way the game can be up and down and slap you around.
The house I grew up in in Australia was small: three-bedroom, probably 1,200 square feet. There was one bathroom, which was outside. I'm telling you, when I was a kid, a house that had a toilet in the house with a roof, it was a big deal. I always thought somebody was well-off when they had that.
The general knowledge in the United States about Australia is low. Everybody thinks we ride kangaroos to school. You don't ever take a kangaroo to school. You take them to the supermarket because you can put groceries in the pouch.
STUART APPLEBY FILE:
Born: May 1, 1971
Hometown: Cohuna, Australia
Lives in: The Isleworth community in Orlando, Fla., also home to Ken Griffey Jr. and Tiger Woods
Family: Wife Ashley, daughters Ella, 1, and Mia, 9 months (they're 3 months apart)
Hobby: Car racing, on and off the track. "About 185 mph is the quickest I've been. I was driving a very well-tuned BMW on the Autobahn."