| Final Shot
Hollywood star Greg Kinnear talks exclusively to HK Golfer at the recent Dunhill Links Championship.
I said, “has he switched technology? Has he moved around putters and stuff?” And he said, “No. He keeps the same thing year in and year out.” And I was like, “Oh, that’s interesting. So, why do you think that is?” And he said, “it’s like acting. You either got it or you don’t!” And I was like, “okay, well I definitely don’t have it then!” Tiger has used the same Scotty Cameron putter for almost his entire career... Yeah. It’s a weird thing. For those guys to be able to just putt like that... I’m fascinated by putting but I struggle with it. I’m not good. Anyone in HK Golfer who has putting tips, I’m open to it. Please open the field wide up! What does the Dunhill Links Championship mean to you? So, I came here it must have been about 8 or 9 years ago - basing that on the ages of all of my daughters! Somehow, I got out of the house with three young kids to play in this and nothing prepares you for this event. You know there are plenty of “celebrity” events back in the U.S. but there is something about being in Europe. I grew up in Europe as a kid - my father was with the American embassy, so I grew up in Greece - and just the idea of being back among these guys, these Tour players who have had a hell of a week (winning Ryder Cup) as you might have heard! You know, the great camaraderie that you see in the Ryder Cup, it carries into this tournament. These guys are fun to play with and certainly there is a tradition of this event that’s really incredible. Every year, you see a lot of the same faces, I’ve met so many friends here and it’s a tremendous golf event. Everyone you see are laughing, smiling and just enjoying themselves... Which is your favourite of the three courses in the Dunhill Links? For me, the tradition of the Old Course gets me every time. It really does. I don’t score particularly well on it and I don’t have lots of great stories about “rounds I’ve played at the Old Course” I could tell you. “Well, I shot this or I shot that...” But I love the course.
I love the layout of it and I just love the history of it, as I think a lot of people do.
Carnoustie I admire and respect, but I can’t say it’s my favourite course because it beats you up too badly, you know? But it certainly gets an honorable mention, as does Kingsbarns!
Most memorable moment here?
Well, my most famous moment, was when I was playing with (Miguel Angel) Jimenez. We were very close to making the cut - I had never made the cut - and it was going to happen this year. And I loved him as a partner. We finished every round, we’d go and have a bottle of wine. I don’t know that we understood one another completely there was a lot of hand signal communication between he and I - but a wonderful guy, and we had so much fun. I once scored an eagle and he congratulated me in Spanish – I think! – and gave me a cigar!
Anyway, it came down to me having to make about a three-foot putt in order for us to make the cut. And I missed the putt…
So, the next day, I catch the plane back to Los Angeles and we have a health emergency, of someone on the plane, which causes us to land in Reykjavik, which is having a snow storm so bad that we can’t get out of Iceland for so long that the pilot comes on and says, “We’re gonna have to fly back to London. I stay the night in London, I catch the same flight back home again. So literally, it’s the three-foot-putt that costs me a day of my life! That, I’ve never been at peace with. I do think about that every time I’m here. I lost a day of my life for a three-foot putt… Jimenez is a legend in Hong Kong. Four-time winner of the HK Open...
Yeah. Four times?! Wow, he must love that vibe. Red wine sales go through the roof, cigars come out and people wear pony tails. Everyone has fallen in love with him. That’s funny. And the crowd gets behind and likes him. Well, he’s just such a guy to root for, right? Terrific, and he’s still playing so well.
Who would be in your dream fourball?
I’d probably want my Dad, who doesn’t play golf anymore, he plays tennis but it’s hard for him to even do that anymore. I’d certainly put my Dad on the list of the dream foursome - in better health - and I’d probably take my three daughters. It’s gonna be a fivesome, okay, I’ve decided. And it’s gonna be about a nine-and-ahalf-hour round but that’s the round I’m going for! And my wife is driving the cart.
Former U.S. tennis star John McEnroe (R) reacts next to U.S. actor Greg Kinnear (C) during a celebrity match ahead of the 42nd Ryder Cup at Le Golf National Course
Greg Kinnear at the premiere of House of Cards final seasonin Los Angeles