Mark Reason talks to Peter Thomson on his 80th birthday about a variety of topics, including the exciting news that he's designing several courses in China that ought to really help grow...someone's redesign business. And Thomson has some words for Tiger.
Tiger Woods has not been measuring up lately. Thomson said: "Woods is the major professional in his sport. No one else is so intense and leaves so little to chance. He'll win most of the events he plays in until he gets sick of it.
"He will probably win five Opens in his career before he stops, but he's up against an increasing number of young people who are matching him. He will find it harder and harder.
Five? Hmmm...I wonder if a certain somebody picked that number for a reason?
"I will add one other thing. I wish he'd smile more. He injures his image by being morose and petulant. There is also very little consideration for the fellow he is playing with. He could show more humility."
Oy vey. I'm as guilty of nostalgia as anyone, and it would be nice if Tiger spit less on camera, but as many of you noted, the petulance comes with the game. Always has, always will.
Back to Thomson, John Huggan salutes the man on his birthday and talks to friends and detractors about the Australian golfing great.
Given the strength of his opinions, Thomson has always been something of a lightning rod, provoking approval and opprobrium in equal measure.
"It is hard to sum Peter up as a person; he's Jekyll and Hyde really," says his fellow Melburnian, tour pro Stewart Ginn. "He's so enigmatic and I'm not sure anyone has ever captured him in print. He is a very articulate man. I love listening to him. He is such a rounded individual and has a great understanding of what golf is."
And this from Jack Newton:
Then again, not everyone is a Thomson fan. "I know Peter won five British Opens, but in four of them there were no Americans," points out former Open and Masters runner-up, Jack Newton. "Yeah, he had to beat Christy O'Connor, Dai Rees and Flory Van Donck, but I have a hard time rating how good he was from that. Peter was always in his comfort zone when he was the kingpin. But I didn't see him rushing over to America to take them on for a full season. He wasn't the king over there.
"Maybe I'm not being entirely fair. But Peter is not one of my favourite people, I must admit. When I was a young bloke I remember asking him for advice. It was all, 'just aim more left son' and stuff like that. I'm not sure he knew a lot about the golf swing. But he knew what worked for him.