In a break from the norm this week, we gave renowned blogger Eddie Pepperell a chance to put his pen down as we turn the tables and put the questions to him.
Your personal blog has been fascinating reading - what was your reason for starting it?
I just had lots going on in my mind. I wanted to write and I enjoy it when I do it, but I’ve not taken any commercial opportunities that have come from it. I’ve had a few newspapers and websites asking me to do it and I’ve said no, because I don’t want that pressure. The best ones I’ve written are probably when I’ve been playing badly. There’s time for reflection when you’re going through a bad period and I don’t tend to do that when I’m doing well. Of all the books I’ve read I’ve always connected to the nitty gritty part of life, not the success. No matter who you are everybody can connect to feelings of frustration, regardless of where you’ve been in life. It’s nice to articulate that at times.
The perception of something can be so far removed from the reality, people don’t always grasp that. Being on tour it’s made me realise that no matter what you do the highs are never as high as people think and the lows are probably never as low. Everybody likes to glamorise things or exaggerate and I think that’s dangerous, because it’s just not a fair reflection on the truth. I’m not saying it’s not enjoyable out here – I love playing on the European Tour and there are certain parts of the world I really enjoy travelling to. Like anything, though, there are aspects that none of us would enjoy. It’s just the nature of life, but I do love playing out here.
Who are your close friends out on Tour?
You need friends out here and arguably dinner time is the most important. Laurie Canter is a good friend. I have known him for years and we’ve got similar interests outside of golf. I also have dinner with Tom Lewis, I grew up playing with him and he’s got a heart of gold. I’m desperate to see them get their European Tour cards every year. You’re doing your business during the day and it can get you down or you could be playing great, but generally when you go out for dinner with your mates you forget about the day you’ve just had.
What are some of your favourite Tour-stops?
Leopard Creek has always been the number one place for me to visit. I’ve been there four of the last five years and I love it down there. It’s a great course and you’re down there in Kruger National Park with all the wildlife. It is a spectacular place to play. Hopefully I’ll be at the Nedbank Golf Challenge this year. It would be my first time and I am excited to see what that’s like. I like Africa and the Middle East is always enjoyable. I’ve always played my best golf in Europe, so I’ve always particularly loved playing in the UK. There are a couple of places I haven’t played well, like South Africa, but the lifestyle is good. I definitely try to approach some weeks differently because there’s a chance I may not play that well! There are places in Europe where my mentality is less about enjoying myself and more about business, because I feel like I can.
You qualified for the US Open this summer - how did you find that experience?
I don’t enjoy watching American golf and hearing ‘Bababooey,’ but in my experience they only say positive things unless you’ve warranted otherwise. The US Open this year was the third Major I have played in America. I’d missed two cuts before and struggled on the greens. One thing I picked up on was that I never heard anything but positive comments. I received good support and found the people great. To play well in that theatre is up there with Wentworth in my rookie year, where it was the first time I was performing in front of thousands of people, and what a buzz that is. It was an awesome experience to play with Sergio and to not shoot over par. I’ll remember it for a long time.
You have a special member of your family with you this week?
Yes, our hotel this week has dog-friendly rooms so we’ve brought my dog Gus along this week. It’s a nice hotel and have tried to stay there every year I’ve played here. Gus didn’t sleep as well last night – we’ve got a new crate for him and he wasn’t enjoying it so much. We never let him sleep on the bed. Yesterday we were out walking for three hours. We had a big walk along the beach and it was brilliant. It gets me out when I’m home, probably two hours extra walking and being in the fresh air. I love animals and it has been a nice addition to our life.
What is your approach to practicing this week in the cold and windy weather?
Thanks to Huxley for putting this beauty down. Can't wait to spend some much needed time on it. pic.twitter.com/9pZayk0AwM— Eddie Pepperell (@PepperellEddie) 11 July 2017
The best golf I play is when I do hardly any practice, in terms of long game. Someone might say you’re not working that hard but it doesn’t matter because I’ve played golf for 20 years – I know how to swing a golf club. There are certain prerequisites that have to be in place for my golf swing, but if they’re in place I’ll play well. If they’re not there it doesn’t matter how much work I put in, I’m not going to play good golf. That’s what I’m learning and what all professionals have to learn, even Jordan Spieth or Dustin Johnson. They’re very smart about their games and I imagine they have a very clear idea of what they’re going to work on. Ultimately it doesn’t take five hours, just one or two hours of quality practice. I think I’m on that right path. It’s difficult to say because I’m in the middle of the process. The fact I had a bad week at the British Masters doesn’t matter, because I’ve come back before from bad weeks and had good results.
Since I’ve put a putting green at my house that’s made a massive difference. I’m not great at being disciplined and I think we’re all creatures of convenience. The best way to be good at something is to make it so convenient that it’s impossible not to do it. I spend more than a few hours practising on my green and that’s made a big difference. I always want to focus on my long game. It scares me to think about the idea of going on the golf course in windy conditions and not having the ball under control. Ultimately I know that if my long game is good enough then it’s all down to the short game. The green is in one of the bedrooms in my house. I thought that there was no point in putting it outside.
How are you feeling looking ahead to this week after a good run of form?
Heard it's a tough walk this week. Gonna be some tired legs. pic.twitter.com/mO6yGXux9Z— Eddie Pepperell (@PepperellEddie) 26 September 2017
Obviously I’m always trying to win. I’ve come close, but not managed it yet and hopefully that time will come. The three guys that have won in the last three weeks have been trying for a while. I’m not out here to just win once, I want to build a game that’s very good and if it takes longer then so be it. This is definitely one of the best weeks of the year. I played with Kevin Pietersen in 2015 and he was completely different to the image I had in mind and was very good company. It’s a lovely event. All my family come up and a few friends will drive up from home. You can get some bad weather, but you’re getting the opportunity to play three awesome links courses, Kingsbarns being my favourite, and you meet some interesting people.