Q&A with Greg Turner

8/3/2013 12:00:00 AM
Greg Turner  ()
Greg Turner ()

New Zealander Greg Turner enjoyed great success on The European Tour in the 1980s and ‘90s, before retiring from competitive action in 2003 to concentrate on his golf course design business. Ten years later, he leads the Berenberg Masters after the first round, having decided to give life on the Senior Tour a go… 

What has kept you busy over the past few years?

Our course design business, being a dad, a role on the local high school board...but the main focus has been the design business with projects back home in New Zealand and in the UK.

What is your most cherished achievement?

I have very fond memories of the Presidents Cup, as I have a soft spot for team golf. That said, I didn’t win often enough for any of my individual titles not to have been special.

What was your funniest moment on the course?

When I won my first tournament in Europe [at the 1986 Scandinavian Open], one of my playing partners had an embarrassing moment early in the second round when his rush to a Portaloo came up a bit short. As the round went on the sun got hotter, I kept making birdies, the gallery kept getting bigger and bigger. By the end of the day it was 30 degrees, I was ten under and leading, and the crowd was huge…so there was no hiding place for him!

Do you have any major golfing regrets?

I don’t do regrets.

Do you think Tiger Woods will equal or better Jack Nicklaus’ haul of 18 Majors?

I’d be surprised if he doesn’t surpass Nicklaus’ record.

How good could Rory McIlroy become?

Who knows? He’s clearly exceptional, but maintaining that level for that long when you are earning that much money will be tough.

Who has the best swing?

I really liked Nick Faldo’s swing under David Leadbetter’s coaching. It wasn’t a particularly powerful movement, but it looked unlikely to falter under pressure. His margin for error was enormous, which seemed to me – at least at the time – to be pretty important.

Who was your funniest playing partner?

Tony Johnstone was hilarious. He was often close to completely losing it, but always in a self-deprecating way. He was merciless in mocking himself.

Do you watch a lot of golf on TV?

The Ryder Cup is always great to watch, and so is the final stretch in the Majors. But other than that, I find it a little monotonous.

Where do you stand on the broomstick putter debate?

I don’t have a strong opinion one way or the other.

Which one change would you like to make to the game?

We have to sort out the distance problem at the elite level. Players hit the ball too far nowadays, which has made golf one-dimensional and taken the artistry away. There are knock-on effects such as the need for bigger courses, which is expensive, all for the sake of a few at the top. A recognition by the authorities of the problem would be a good start.