Alan Bastable did a super job interviewing Ben Crenshaw, revealing many things I didn't know about him and probing him on several fresh topics, including his friend George W. Bush and David Duval's criticisms of the 1999 Ryder Cup captaincy. I think it's the first time I've ever heard him speak about someone negatively and it couldn't be a better target!
Bastable: When you captained the Ryder Cup team in 1999, you publicly scolded Tiger Woods and David Duval, among others, after they argued that the PGA of America should, at the very least, make a donation to the American players' chosen charities. Duval later criticized you, saying, "[Crenshaw] talked about the purity of the Ryder Cup, and what he did with all that purity is make a bunch of money off the thing. He wrote a book about it; he had his clothing company involved." Did that bother you?
Crenshaw: I've read that many times. David and I, I don't think we'd see eye to eye on anything. He's well entitled to his opinion.
Bastable: But his point about you profiting...
Crenshaw: Well, captains, you know... [pauses]. He can make all the assertions that he wants.
Bastable: So you don't see his point?
Crenshaw: No. He made those comments before and after [the Ryder Cup]. It's just a difference in opinion. But I don't think David Duval would understand another viewpoint.
Come on Ben, David knows everything!
On a lighter note, it sounds like Ben still could make a trip to Tasmania and Barnbougle Dunes...
Bastable: Your design team is working on a course in Tasmania, which you've yet to visit. Not being there must be tough.
Crenshaw: It's the first time, and yes, it's very difficult. Truth be known, though, our team is so good that they'll do just as good a job without me. Bill [Coore, Crenshaw's design partner] has been such a blessing in my life. I hope to get down there, but it won't be many times.
Bastable: And the course developers are okay with that?
Crenshaw: Yeah, apparently they are, because Bill's talked to them ad nauseum about it. I just can't, you know... [he chokes up]. There are so many misconceptions about the business. You don't want to delegate yourself out. That's just not the way that we do things. It takes large blocks of time in order to do what we want to do to a golf course.
Bastable: Why are you so taken by traditional design?
Crenshaw: It comes down to enjoyment and not getting beat over the head constantly with things that golfers can and can't do. You want to offer some hope. To me, St. Andrews is still the most fascinating course in the world. The ways you can play that course are infinite. It's like a giant outdoor crossword puzzle.