Jack Nicklaus’s win at the 1986 Masters is your No. 1 golf moment. Did you spend time with Nicklaus to research this role?
Well, I got confused, and I spent time with Jack Nicholson. He didn’t know what this was all about, but we had fun, and we took out a few windshields.
Describe your golf game in one word.
Scrappy. I have a scrappy game. I’m very imaginative, innovative. The places I put myself on the course demand creativity to escape from. Who wants to be in the fairway? Hitting it straight is so overrated. You see more of the course hitting it into someone’s flower bed.
It sounds like you prefer to be challenged on the course?
Exactly. Golf is too easy for me. The first time I ever played, I shot 66, then 69. I’m like, “Easy game. It’s almost boring.” It’s more challenging if you shoot 112. Why pay all this money for greens fees and be done in three hours when you can shoot 115 and not finish for five hours?
So shooting 100-plus is an investment of sorts?
Exactly. I could shoot 66, but I shoot 112 to get my money’s worth. It’s just good financial sense.
How’s your short game?
[Laughs] I recently triple-hit a putt. Yeah, it was my way of honoring the 25th anniversary of T.C. Chen’s double-hit [at the 1985 U.S. Open]. In fact, I flew T.C. out to Hollywood—we spent two weeks discussing his chip, breaking it down, looking at video. I had to do it just right. I’m a student of history.
Speaking of history, you used to play with clubs from the Woodrow Wilson administration. Have you upgraded your weapons?
I still have the 4-wood—a sweet little persimmon. I love shaping that soft persimmon. Titanium doesn’t give me that controlled power fade.
You seem like a public-golf guy. True?
Totally. In college [at USC], we used to play a course near a mental institution. You could hear the screams of the patients during the round.
What’s your No. 1 course?
Mile Square Park [in Orange County, Calif.]. Or the Pitch-n-Putt in the Valley—a par-3 course. But don’t look for it in those coffee-table golf books. They don’t rank it. They’re jealous.
Our No. 1 Great Cause: Golf Magazine thanks Cancer For College—Ferrell’s favorite
charity—for organizing this photo shoot. Cancer for College helps cash-strapped families
affected by cancer pay for tuition. To donate or to play in the charity’s golf event (where
you can meet Will), visit cancerforcollege.org