He’s a fan of TFM and follower of @totalfratmove. He loves his country and the Noles. He’s a twice-published author, and he votes right. He can shape a 3-iron, sink a 30-footer in front of thousands, and knows Amen Corner like it’s his backyard. He boasts 12 PGA tour wins, a PGA Championship, and won the 2008 Ryder Cup as Captain of the U.S. team. He’s Paul Azinger, and I had the pleasure of sitting down with him for an exclusive interview right before he took off for a little late fall trip to the Florida Keys.
Bring us back to your college days. What kind of guy was Zinger in college?
I was a baby faced, naive guy at Brevard Jr. College. I worked hard though, especially when it came to golf. I hit thousands of golf balls a week. I couldn’t break 80 two days in a row when I got there. After two years, I went to Florida State and ended up the best player on a team ranked in the top five in the country.
You seem to have some strong opinions on Twitter about your Noles rival’s ex-coach. Thoughts on Urban Meyer to Ohio State?
(Laughing) I don’t dislike Urban Meyer. I do like cracking on him, which is pretty easy by the way, but I’m mostly poking at my Gator friends and followers. I’m a sports fan like everyone else. You can only have one favorite team, but you can pull against many.
Which win did you enjoy more: your 1993 PGA Championship, the 2008 Ryder Cup as Captain of the U.S. team, or other?
The PGA was an individual accomplishment that I’ll never forget. I was tabbed by the media as the best player without a major in May of ‘93, so that was a huge win. The Ryder Cup, however, was altogether different. It’s a huge honor to be asked to be the captain. I was only the 25th captain ever, and we had lost five of the last six going in and had only won three times in 25 years. I wrote “Cracking the Code,” which documents the outside-the-box approach I took. I believed we could create the best environment for success. We became like a family that week. It was the biggest accomplishment of my life.
Your dream foursome?
My brothers and son in law.
You can only play three courses for the rest of your life. What are they?
Pine Valley, Augusta, Pebble Beach
Belly putters. Thoughts?
I was the first modern day player to use and win with the belly putter. 2000 Sony open. It improves fundamentals but it’s not a sure thing.
Are cargo shorts ever acceptable on a golf course?
I think cargo shorts at a public course are fine, but if you want to wear cargos at a private club, especially if you’re not a member, it shows a lack of respect. Someone should pull you aside and explain what dress code means.
Different types of rookie hazing rituals take place in many professional sports. And we’ve all seen the Happy Gilmore scene where Happy gets invited to the secret meeting on the 9th green. Do members of the PGA Tour do anything similar? Did anything like this happen to you?
I wish. Hazing doesn’t happen on our tour.
You’re an outspoken conservative. How did you develop this bold mindset? And why does the media seem to be more accepting of the outspoken Democrat than the Republican?
I remember watching the Republican Convention on TV in 1968 when I was eight years old. I’ve been a conservative ever since. Conservatism just makes more sense to me. If you divided the the country in half, Libs on one side and Conservatives on the other, I think I know which nation would function better. I do consider myself environmentally liberal, though.
Do you have anything to say to the young conservatives in this country?
I would tell young people to recognize the assault on conservative values and the media bias. It’s almost impossible to get objective news these days, so if you care about this country, pay attention and inform yourself. Read the opinions of both sides.
You have been known to re-tweet @totalfratmove on occasion. What do you enjoy about following us on twitter?
TFM keeps me entertained and reminds me of what college was like. Keep up the good work!
I’d like to thank Mr. Azinger for his candor and willingness to share his time with me. I also urge everyone to pick up his latest book, “Cracking the Code: The Winning Ryder Cup Strategy: Make it Work for You.” And if you’re like Rodge and would be open to seeing a couple strokes fall off your game, download his iPhone app, “Golfplan with Paul Azinger.”