We’re enjoying a lovely glass of Glenmorangie. Have you always been a scotch man?
I have. But to be honest with you, as an ambassador for Glenmorangie, I’m even more of a fan now, because I’ve learned so much more about the creative process that goes into making these amazing scotches.
Much like wine, aging is a big deal.
Take an extremely rare 18-year-old, for example. I’ve been a pro for 18 years now. If I think about all the things that have elapsed over those 18 years, I realize that they’ve all happened [since the scotch was first put] inside its cask. It’s incredible to think that the master distiller who’s been concocting and aging these products over the years is kind of equal in experience to what I’ve been trying to do with my golf game.
Keeping yourself healthy is obviously a priority. How does drinking fit into your Tour lifestyle?
When I’m on the road, I’m working hard. I don’t cross the line. But for me, performance is also about having a balanced life. So when I’m away from the game, it’s really important for the antenna to go down and the brain to go soft, to recharge your battery so that you’re then able to hit the road again, fresh and ready to compete. So that’s when I’ll have a drink with friends and socialize. That’s when I’m kind of trying to get away from the game.
We’re chatting here at Chelsea Piers, a fun driving range on the river in New York City. Do you ever visit places like this?
I would say the thought of it is fun. Have I done it of late? Absolutely not. [Laughs]
As a professional, is it ever fun for you to just go out and hit balls?
Some of the most fun I’ve ever had on a golf course is when I’m by myself, carrying my own bag with the long shadows on the ground, knowing that I’m going to be out there alone in the evening. But once a year, I get all my friends together and we do something called the JR Challenge.
I can figure out the “JR” part—what’s the challenge?
It’s basically my oldest friends that I’ve grown up with since I was about 12 years old. We have a bit of a boys’ holiday where we play four rounds of golf and do all the fun things that go along with a bunch of guys on holiday together. Obviously, that includes a few drinks, but we just really enjoy each other’s company and reconnecting. So that’s the one week a year I really get to kind of go back in time.
You were a part of a sweet birthday surprise for a young boy earlier this year. The video went viral. Have your two children updated their birthday expectations after seeing the video?
Oh, man. They actually did watch it, and I think they still can’t figure out why I’m in the car with a kid, and why this kid would actually care that I’m in the car with him. They don’t see me as being overly special or famous or anything like that. So I think for them, it’s still quite weird to see me in that situation.