The European Tour and Official Partner Hilton have joined forces to give fans a real insight into the world of professional golf in a new podcast series called Life on Tour.
Launched this week with special guest, former World Number One Luke Donald, the Life on Tour podcast presented by Hilton will take the listener behind the curtain to find out what life is really like for some of the biggest names in golf.
Featuring some of the game’s great characters both past and present – from World Number Ones to legendary caddies, commentators and more – we dive deep inside the stories you want to hear.
No subject is out of bounds.
Hosted by one of the most recognisable voices in sports broadcasting, Andrew Cotter, the first Life on Tour podcast chatted with Ryder Cup star and 2011 European Number One Luke Donald recently at Hilton St Anne’s Manor, near Wentworth.
A wide range of topics were discussed during the 50-minute sit-down, from his roots in the game, to college in America, family life, the Ryder Cup, topping the money-lists on both sides of the Atlantic, to Major near-misses and swing changes, struggles and injuries.
There was also a great anecdote from his time in Japan...
LISTEN TO THE FULL EPISODE BELOW...
Luke Donald on nearly going to Stanford…
“College in America seemed like a perfect fit for me. I was recruited by Stanford. A certain Tiger Woods was still enrolled there at that time.
“Unfortunately I didn’t get picked, it was me against another guy and the coach decided this other guy was going to be more successful than me. A guy called Jimmy Lee, I’m sure you’ve heard of him.”
On playing with Jack Nicklaus in his last Open round in St Andrews
“They came to me, the R&A to ask if I wanted to play with Jack and the other playing partner was Tom Watson. Totally random! I was this up and coming British player and they thought it was a good fit.
“It was something I had to think about for just a little bit. I was there to compete and win and it was a big deal and maybe a little more distracting than your typical group.
“But after about three seconds I said yes, let’s do it. This is a great opportunity.”
On wearing red with Tiger on Sunday at the 2006 US PGA
“I was paired with Tiger in the final group on Sunday at Medinah. I wore a red shirt. It wasn’t really intentional but I knew what I was doing.
“I was scripted that way and at the start of the week I had no idea I would be doing so well and be paired with Tiger. My wife and I talked about it, my clothing company talked about it, my management talked about it but I thought if I don’t wear the red shirt I’m already losing to him, I’m giving him the advantage.”
On hearing the ‘Luuuuuuuuuke’ chant for the first time
“It was at Bethpage in the 2002. The New Yorkers – a tough group. But I remember distinctly it was the fifth green. I was playing with Bernhard Langer and I holed this long putt, breaking four feet and the New Yorkers started chanting ‘Luuuuuuuuke’.
“I got it but Langer came up to me and said, ‘I don’t understand – why are they booing you?!’”
On his 2011 form
“On the golf course, everything felt so easy, so comfortable, so relaxed, so nonchalant. Everything fell into place. I was doing things around the green and from 100 yards in that not many people in the game had done. I couldn’t miss.”
On becoming World Number One
“I was following on from the greats. The guys I had idolised growing up, the Seves, the Faldos, Greg Norman. I was extremely proud to get there and proud to stay there for a while.”
On changing things after missing out at Merion
“I didn’t get it done and I started looking at how I could change stuff to give myself more opportunities. It wasn’t so much about distance but more about consistency off the tee. I tried to chase distance, though, and it had got me out of sync with things in my swing.
“As golfers you are always looking for ways to improve, ways to get better. Sometimes the people around you are telling stuff that you start to believe in. That was a bit of a factor for me. Ultimately I take responsibility for myself but it didn’t work. I don’t want to throw anyone under the bus but you spend a lot of time with your caddie, at that time John McLaren, and he felt I could improve on my driving and that it would give me a better chance to win Majors. Maybe I listened to him a little too much, maybe I was swayed by his opinions.”
On his friendship with Michael Jordan
“We live very close to each other. His wife and mine are very good friends so we do spend a lot of time together. We play a little golf, occasional vacation together. He’s a good guy, loves his golf, very passionate, he’s been a good friend to me.
“He’s now more into his fishing so we go fishing sometimes. I give him five shots a side, he knows how to play. It’s an interesting move he has but he knows how to score. Very good short game.
“Cigar-wise, it’s Jimenez level.”