We have a round with Phil Tataurangi – Former Tour player and now Golf commentator.
HOW OLD WERE YOU WHEN YOU STARTED PLAYING GOLF AND WHO GOT YOU STARTED?
My Dad I guess at the age of 7. On Saturdays I had the option of going with my Mum to watch my older sister play either netball or hockey or go to golf at Waitomo GC and caddy for Dad, no decision really!!
WHERE DID YOU START PLAYING GOLF?
Waitomo GC. I was pretty lucky to have some elderly lady members take me out in the afternoons for 9 holes after caddying for Dad in the mornings.
HOW OLD WERE YOU WHEN YOU TURNED PROFESSIONAL?
I turned pro on Sept 21st 1993.
HOW MANY HOLES IN ONE HAVE YOU HAD?
I've had 7 aces.
HOW OFTEN DO YOU PLAY GOLF NOW?
Not often enough!! I'm pretty busy with the number of different design projects , commentary commitments and other projects I'm involved in. I'm fortunate to have a son that's playing a lot and is super keen so that gets me to the course quite often. I also have different corporate commitments, our tour business where I play with our clients and try to schedule a golf break with mates to top 100 ranked courses at least once a year.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT IN GOLF?
I've got way too many great memories to single just one out. I'm really lucky to have experienced a number of different moments in the game both inside and outside the ropes.
YOUR FAVOURITE GOLF COURSE IS?
The Old Course at St Andrews. The rich history is a bit overwhelming when you're there. To know that your walking in the footsteps of all the great players who have ever played the game sends chills throug your bones. The fairways, greens bunkers, bumps, and hollows speak softly to you as you play echoing the virtues of past Open
Champions. The course's unique layout and routing see the course begin and end in township making it a the most convenient public neighbourhood course in the world. The cerebral design features have largely been the blueprint for the game for well over 100 yrs and will continue to shape it for 100 more. And then there is Old Tom Morris's original pro shop right off the 18th green - stop me at any stage.
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE PLAYER TO WATCH AND WHY?
My son (&daughter when she plays). It takes me back to my youth learning the game and remembering that unspoiled enthusiasm and joy for pulling off that great shot or holing a chip or putt when you least expected to. I love it they enjoy to play the game.
AND YOUR LEAST FAVOURITE?
What a dumb question!!! Anyone who plays the game is worth watching.
IF YOU COULD PICK ANY THREE PEOPLE, ALIVE OR DEAD, TO PLAY IN A FOURBALL WITH, WHO WOULD THEY BE – ANY PARTICULAR REASON FOR YOUR CHOICES?
It's a five ball. My Papa, My Dad and my two kids Kahu & Talia. Talia may only be up for 9 holes but that's cool. The kids never got meet their grandfather and great grandfather as they passed away when I was a kid. It would be really cool family fun like what I got to experience as a kid the front nine and highly competitive with plenty of trash talking on the back nine!!
AND THE THREE PEOPLE YOU WOULD LEAST LIKE TO PLAY WITH AND WHY?
Another dumb question.
WHAT IS THE FUNNIEST THING YOU HAVE SEEN OR EXPERIENCED ON A GOLF COURSE.
Wow. There's way too many stories not for print that have reduced me to tears at different stages in my career. One that sticks out is playing with Kevin Sutherland (who won the Charles Schwab Cup on the Champions Tour last yr) at Pebble Beach. He had John Wood (now with Matt Kuchar) caddying for him at the time and along with good mate and caddie Brendon we were all good mates. It was the first hole of the AT&T Pro Am tournament and we started on the 10th hole.
Anyway, Kevin blocked his opening tee shot down onto Carmel Beach which is still just a lateral water hazard so if you can find your ball it is often playable. The beach is some 10-15 metres below the fairway and on this occasion Kevin's ball was in sight so John & Kevin estimated a yardage and decided to hit it.
The only thing was a rogue wave was on its way and we had the advantage of seeing it coming from up above. We were trying to figure out whether we let him and Woody know it was coming or whether he'd get it off in time!!! A long story short... it's hard to shorten this up, but as Kevin took his backswing the wave smashed him and he never got back to impact!! The ball ended up getting sucked back further down the beach!! Once the water subsided he then had to change clubs got it back up onto the fairway and as he couldn't now reach the green and ended making
A view from beside the green of the 'Strath Bunker' on the 174 yards par 3, 11th hole 'High In' which shares it's green with the par 4, 7th hole (behind) on the Old Course at St Andrews.
Phil Tataurangi 2013.