ED­DIE PEPPERELL

Ed­die Pepperell is the an­tithe­sis of the modern tour pro in that he is can­did, forth­right and prone to an out­burst of pro­fan­ity. John Hug­gan teed him up and hit ‘record’.

Golf World (UK) - - CONTENTS -

Out­spo­ken, opin­ion­ated and, well, just plain in­ter­est­ing, Ed­die Pepperell is the an­tithe­sis of the modern pro. As John Hug­gan dis­cov­ered.

In a world of same­ness and con­form­ity, Ed­die Pepperell stands out. In so many ways. The hat he wears on the course is blank. He writes his own blog, one that pro­vides a fas­ci­nat­ing in­sight into both life on tour and the in­ner work­ings of an ac­tive and in­tel­li­gent mind, on and off the course.

His pro­fes­sional ca­reer has seen ups and downs. The dou­ble-bo­gey Pepperell made on the fi­nal hole of the sec­ond round in the 2016 Por­tu­gal Mas­ters (he shot 64-76) meant he missed the cut and, more im­por­tantly, lost his Euro­pean Tour card. It was a dra­matic fall from grace for the for­mer Eisen­hower Tro­phy player.

Last year, how­ever, was very dif­fer­ent. In 24 Euro­pean Tour starts he recorded seven top 10s and a cred­itable T-16 at the US Open. Hav­ing be­gun the year ranked 309 in the world, he rose more than 150 places and fin­ished in­side the top 40 on the Race to Dubai.

So there was much to talk about when I sat down with Pepperell in the mid­dle of Fe­bru­ary.

You’ve built your­self a bit of a rep­u­ta­tion for be­ing “in­ter­est­ing”. Is there any pres­sure to live up to that?

Prob­a­bly. But the prob­lem is that, over time, peo­ple will in­evitably dis­cover that I’m re­ally not that in­ter­est­ing. As you say, it’s just an im­age. I guess it has come about be­cause my in­ter­ests are a bit dif­fer­ent from those of most golfers. But the aw­ful truth is hang­ing over me.

I dis­agree. The rea­son we are sit­ting here is be­cause you are not the av­er­age tour pro spout­ing plat­i­tudes.

I dis­like that as much as you. But the more I’ve played pro­fes­sion­ally, the less I fall into that trap. Which I guess is dif­fer­ent. I’m not into the com­mer­cial side.

Why not? You’re a pro­fes­sional. The clue is in the ti­tle.

I just feel like noth­ing has changed since I was a kid. I’m still just play­ing golf. Only I’m on the Euro­pean Tour. Oc­ca­sion­ally I do well and oc­ca­sion­ally I don’t. I see it as that black and white. I don’t see my­self as hav­ing a re­spon­si­bil­ity to do any­thing or give any­thing back. Or to be a cer­tain way. Or to be a role model. That is all a choice for me to make. And for any­one re­ally.

But you are bright enough to know you do, at least, have an obli­ga­tion to en­ter­tain. The spon­sors put money into golf and that money comes from the pub­lic. So you have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to them?

Well, yeah. But then I wouldn’t be me if I was out there say­ing and do­ing things I don’t be­lieve in.

I don’t want you to do that.

Ex­actly. Which is why I don’t. I’m aware of how the sys­tem works. But it doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily change the way I ap­proach things. Or see things. It just doesn’t.

Okay, make your case.

I don’t have role mod­els. But I have al­ways been drawn to peo­ple who are truly them­selves. In the world we live in today, that is less and less of a com­mod­ity. And that’s a shame in any in­dus­try. So I’m not ac­tively try­ing to be dif­fer­ent in that sense. I’m just try­ing to be my­self. And that stands out in a world of con­form­ity. Not many golfers do that, for what­ever rea­son. I think there are

sports­peo­ple who try to pro­ject an im­age to help their in­come. There are peo­ple who do that nat­u­rally and are com­fort­able do­ing it. I’m nei­ther of those things though. I’m happy to do what I do, even if it will cost me. I wear a blank hat, for ex­am­ple. But I’m hon­estly fine with that.

You are com­fort­able in your own skin...

Yeah, I am. Over the last few years I have def­i­nitely grown more in that di­rec­tion.

Who are you drawn to in life and sport?

I find it dif­fi­cult to pick out one per­son. I like the odd story that comes along about an in­di­vid­ual or a team.

Are you drawn to the ec­cen­tric?

Def­i­nitely. And I’m drawn to the shitty, nitty-gritty side of life. When I first started read­ing se­ri­ously – when I was about 19 – that was re­ally when my ca­reer started to turn around. Much of what I read were au­to­bi­ogra­phies, par­tic­u­larly of rugby play­ers. A lot of that was about how to deal with fail­ure. I re­mem­ber lik­ing Lawrence Dal­laglio’s book and hear­ing about the per­sonal losses he has suf­fered. Be­com­ing aware of that sort of thing made me com­fort­able with fail­ure in my own life and ca­reer.

Since then, I have used my own strug­gles as a learn­ing point to come back up. I nat­u­rally see the world that way. When peo­ple or teams be­come overly-suc­cess­ful I switch off.

So you have no de­sire to be Tiger?

It’s not about de­sires for my­self. Do I think I can be Tiger? No. Which is not to say I can’t be­come a great golfer and win ma­jors. I think I can do those things. But no, I don’t want to be Tiger.

I wouldn’t want his life.

Ex­actly. The prob­lem is that I have a great life. If some­one of­fered me the life I have now un­til I die, I’d take it now. But I’m aware you can’t think like that. You be­come com­pla­cent. Life isn’t straight­for­ward and there are go­ing to be ups-and-downs. So it’s about me con­cen­trat­ing on the right thing to en­sure that my life goes well. There are al­most two zones to life. Me as the pro­fes­sional sports­man and do­ing all the right things for my golf. Then there is my per­sonal self, the guy who can sit back and en­joy what I’ve got and the life I can live. So I have to make sure that those two things stay in or­der.

Are you a goal-set­ter then?

I haven’t set goals for a long time.

Although maybe I should. My prob­lem would be car­ing about them. It’s all very well set­ting a goal, but it has to mean some­thing. I’m so ap­a­thetic to­wards so many things, I’m not sure it would mean any­thing. Let’s say I set a goal of top 20 in the world. Then to­mor­row I go out and strug­gle. I’m such an ‘in the mo­ment’ kind of per­son, I find it dif­fi­cult to step back and think about the big­ger pic­ture. I get im­pa­tient. And the truth is I’d go home and won­der how much the top 20 ac­tu­ally means to me. It’s enough for me to say I want to be a world-class golfer. That might sound a bit generic, but all I want is for peo­ple to watch me play and go away think­ing “that was im­pres­sive”.

Okay, what have been the events in your life that had the most im­pact on you?

There have been a few, big and small. One of those fun­nily enough was los­ing to Chris Pais­ley in the sec­ond or third round of the English Am­a­teur at Woodall Spa. We had a great match. He beat me on the 21st af­ter I was some­thing like five-up through nine holes. I was play­ing great but he was some­thing like eight-un­der par for the last 10 holes and holed two 40-foot­ers on the last two greens. I was dev­as­tated. I started cry­ing. I was 17 or 18. So yes, mem­o­ries like that stay with me. Los­ing to Tom Lewis in the Bri­tish Boys, things like that.

The losses stay with you.

Oh, yes. I did a thing ear­lier where Titleist were ask­ing me to re­call things like best round and best shot. I couldn’t think. But if they had asked for my worst or least en­joy­able mo­ments on the course I would have known right away. Which is an in­sight into my mind and soul I guess. I wish I could see the best things in my life and other things. But I just don’t.

What ac­tu­ally got you into golf in the first place?

I started re­ally young. My dad got me and my brother, Joe, into it when I was four. But at that age you just muck about. When I was about 10 I got se­ri­ous. I started to re­alise I was quite good at this game. I played some na­tional events and won one when I was 12. So I stopped play­ing foot­ball, which I had al­ways loved do­ing. What I loved about golf was be­ing on my own. I wanted to­tal re­spon­si­bil­ity and con­trol of the out­come. And I wanted to get away from the par­ents and the other stuff around foot­ball. I didn’t en­joy that.

So you spent your ado­les­cence with a pile of balls at the end of a field?

Ex­actly. Golf was my life. Which changed my group of friends at sec­ondary school. I wasn’t the cool kid I had been un­til I got to a cer­tain age. Sud­denly I was the golfer and def­i­nitely not cool. But that was fine. I was so com­fort­able do­ing that. When I think about it now, that was a brave and strong thing to do at the age of 13, 14, 15. I wasn’t wor­ried about what peo­ple said about me. I re­ally be­lieved in what I did, which shows a strength of char­ac­ter.

You de­fined your­self as “the golfer”?

Yes. That was all I ever wanted to do. And all I ever did. There was no sec­ond op­tion for me. Which is an­other in­ter­est­ing ques­tion. Grow­ing up, I heard a lot of peo­ple say­ing I should go to col­lege and get a back-up plan. I think there is a fa­mous Will Smith quote about that. He says some­thing like, “why have a plan-B? It’s all about plan-A”.

That was my ap­proach. And it still would be my ap­proach. Es­pe­cially in a sport like golf. Even if you fail you are go­ing to learn so much, as long as you re­flect on it all along the way. Just by pay­ing at­ten­tion you can learn stuff you can ap­ply if and when you do have to go and do some­thing else.

How did it im­pact on you so­cially? How aware were you of the wider world? I, for ex­am­ple, have no clue about modern pop­u­lar mu­sic. Are you a bit like that?

I am. Pop­u­lar cul­ture frus­trates me to be hon­est. I don’t get it. But that is maybe be­cause I will be 27 soon. That stuff is for peo­ple younger than me. When I was that age, I didn’t go out. I didn’t drink. I didn’t have girl­friends. I didn’t do all the things teenagers nor­mally do. Yet when I was 16 I met Jen in the gym. She has been the one con­stant in my life over the last 10 years.

‘I’M DRAWN TO THE SHITTY, NITTY-GRITTY SIDE OF LIFE. WHEN PEO­PLE OR TEAMS ARE OVERLY-SUC­CESS­FUL I SWITCH OFF’

Tell me about her...

She’s very dif­fer­ent from me. She’s a clever girl. She stud­ied at school. She stud­ied law and got a first in her de­gree. She’s re­ally smart. She’s not ac­tu­ally do­ing law now. She’s train­ing to be a health coach, yoga and all that sort of stuff. She loves that. She goes to a few events, too. I some­times won­der what would have hap­pened to me over the last few years if I had been sin­gle. I’ve never been a party boy, but have spent money in some dodgy places (laughs).

How much does your level of hap­pi­ness de­pend on your level of play?

I think quite a lot. I think 2016 taught me that. I was very down back then, es­pe­cially at events. I was fear­ing what was go­ing to hap­pen the next day on the course. I wasn’t my usual up­beat self (laughs). It def­i­nitely af­fected me. I was hop­ing it wouldn’t af­fect me as much as it did. But it did. Which isn’t nec­es­sar­ily a bad thing. It made me re­alise how much I had to re­fo­cus and fig­ure things out. I al­ways be­lieved I would do that. And it was a good ex­pe­ri­ence in the sense that, if and when I go through an­other bad spell – we all do – I will cope bet­ter.

The one good thing I had go­ing for me in 2016 was see­ing my­self as a mar­ket. I’ve al­ways been in­ter­ested in eco­nomics. So I looked at my ca­reer as a whole, from age five to 26. That made me re­alise I’ve had two re­ces­sions and the rest has been re­ally good. I’ve had 22 or 23 years of gains. That’s good, re­ally suc­cess­ful. But the prob­lem is that, when the re­ces­sion comes along, it is hard to see the big­ger pic­ture. It be­comes a de­pres­sion. But see­ing things that way re­ally helped. I never pan­icked. I cer­tainly didn’t think go­ing back to Q School would de­fine my ca­reer. I didn’t think what hap­pened two years ago in Por­tu­gal would ei­ther.

You have joined the Euro­pean Tour’s Tour­na­ment Com­mit­tee. What do you hope to achieve?

I want to learn more than achieve, at least at first. I want to be more in­formed. I’m not one to moan, but if I do, I want to know it’s jus­ti­fied. I don’t want to find out in hind­sight there was more to the prob­lem than I knew. I don’t want to feel bad about that.

What en­er­gises you? What would you do if you were king for a day?

I don’t know. I’ve al­ready had one 90-minute phone call with (chair­man) David How­ell and (Euro­pean Tour of­fi­cial) David Probyn. At the end of it my re­ac­tion was, “Je­sus, this is tricky”. There’s a rea­son for ev­ery­thing and so many con­se­quences for ev­ery de­ci­sion. So there is go­ing to be a lot to mull over in or­der to be fair to ev­ery­one. That’s one thing I’ve picked up al­ready. Given the di­rec­tion in which the tour is mov­ing, there are go­ing to be win­ners and losers. I’ve al­ready seen that. There are about three tours go­ing on at once. The tour is in a dif­fi­cult spot eco­nom­i­cally and that drives a lot of the de­ci­sions. It’s al­most im­pos­si­ble to com­pete with the PGA Tour fi­nan­cially. But the beauty of the PGA Tour is not that they play for loads of money. For me, it’s more im­por­tant that they play for roughly the same amount of money ev­ery week. That makes the money list a true indi­ca­tion of who is do­ing well and who is not. In Europe we can’t say the same. The range in prize money is huge. Af­ter, say, the top-five play­ers on the Race to Dubai, there is no cor­re­la­tion be­tween how much any­one has earned. There are three dif­fer­ent tours go­ing on within the Euro­pean Tour, de­pend­ing on what level of player we are talk­ing about. So we al­ready know who the win­ners and losers are to an ex­tent – and who they are go­ing to be in the fu­ture.

So when it comes to mak­ing a de­ci­sion that ad­versely af­fects one group, it is not fine to make 10 more de­ci­sions that af­fect that same group.

I’m not sure how long I will be on the com­mit­tee, but I hope that ev­ery de­ci­sion I am part of will not com­pound the pain for one sec­tion of the mem­ber­ship. We’ve got to be fair. The best will al­ways sur­vive. So we have to think of those a lit­tle fur­ther down the peck­ing or­der.

Isn’t that the same in ev­ery walk of life?

I guess it is. As I get older, I have be­come more aware of that. It’s not right or wrong, it’s just the di­rec­tion we are head­ing in. The Euro­pean Tour isn’t strong enough right now to re­ally help out the guys fur­ther down the food chain. This tour needs the top play­ers, so we need to keep them happy.

What about slow play? Are you a fan of things like shot-clocks?

I have mis­giv­ings about that. To me, how long guys take to hit a shot is not the is­sue. Take the event we played in Den­mark this year. The first two rounds

each took five hours and 20 min­utes. But it wouldn’t have mat­tered much if ev­ery­one had hit within 40 sec­onds. It still would have taken close to five hours to get round. It would have taken that long be­cause peo­ple were los­ing balls. There are many long walks be­tween greens and tees. And the course was set up with a few short par 4s and reach­able par 5s. So it took ages.

The best that can hap­pen with a 40-sec­ond shot clock is that we go from four-and-a-half hours to four hours. It’s still go­ing to be four hours. Which is still slow. But even that won’t hap­pen. Slow play is a prod­uct of the dif­fi­culty of the cour­ses we play and the length of them.

How would you de­fine your re­la­tion­ship with golf?

That’s a good ques­tion. It’s like a mar­riage re­ally. It’s a mas­sive part of my life. It al­ways has been. If I had to stop play­ing to­mor­row, what would I feel? There would prob­a­bly be a bit of re­lief (laughs). But there would be a lot of re­gret. I’d miss the ex­cite­ment and the adren­a­line rush. Those are the things I en­joy. I like to get out there and show off. I am a bit of a show-off. I al­ways have been. I want to play in front of peo­ple and show what I can do. I want to con­tend in golf tour­na­ments. That’s where I get my buzz.

I’m def­i­nitely more artis­tic than sci­en­tific. And that is how I’m play­ing my golf this year. I’m match­ing my golf with my char­ac­ter. I got away from that for a while – too much em­pha­sis on tech­nique fried my brain. The hard thing for me is to just keep do­ing what I’m do­ing. I’ve never been very good – when I’m do­ing some­thing well – at just stay­ing with what I’m do­ing.

I’ve had six months of re­ally good golf. My stroke av­er­age has been much im­proved. And if I keep do­ing that for an­other 12 months I sus­pect I will be in the top 50. Can I do it? I think I can. But it’s about knuck­ling down and re­al­is­ing that is what a great ca­reer looks like.

So what have been the high­lights and low­lights so far?

In my rookie year I was sixth in the BMW PGA at Went­worth. That was a great thing. I ac­tu­ally had a chance to win and only lost by two. That was big for me. And last year at the US Open was a lot of fun. Had that event come along last Oc­to­ber, when I had al­ready had two months of good golf, it would have been less of a thing. But in June it was huge. At that time I hadn’t had much to sing and dance about for at least a year. So to play as well as I did for four rounds of a US Open was a great ex­pe­ri­ence. I’m proud of how I played there.

Then there was the rest of last year. It’s not that long ago. But I played a lot of good golf over a sus­tained pe­riod.

What is the big­gest thing you have won?

That would have to be the ‘Wee Won­ders’ (laughs). And there was a chip­ping com­pe­ti­tion. I haven’t won a tour­na­ment since the Chal­lenge Tour six years ago. I did win some stuff as an am­a­teur – the Welsh Am­a­teur, the Por­tuguese Am­a­teur. I wasn’t a world-beater back then. But I was a good am­a­teur. I’m a way bet­ter golfer now. And I feel I have the po­ten­tial to do some re­ally good things this year. I’m still build­ing. [See end of the in­ter­view, for his happy end­ing .... ].

Where are you in the world rank­ings?

Around 130.

That makes it al­most im­pos­si­ble for you to make the Ry­der Cup team.

Yeah. I know the stats sug­gest that. But if I were to win the right tour­na­ment my world would change. Let’s say I win at Went­worth, or the Ir­ish or Scottish Open. That would surely go a long way to get­ting me in the team. I think I’m ninth or some­thing right now. So I’m not that far away.

But when you start miss­ing the WGCs and the ma­jors it is very dif­fi­cult.

Of course, in terms of the world points list. But I’ve got a chance off the Euro­pean points list. If I play re­ally well of course. It’s achiev­able. But I’m not say­ing it is a goal. If I won once, I will prob­a­bly gain a bit more hunger to win again. It will be­come a ma­cho thing, an ego thing. Which is not to say I’m not fussed about win­ning now. I will win, but only when I’m good enough. This year my plan is to play only the big­gest events I can. I’m not

‘DON’T BE SO PRE­CIOUS IS MY MES­SAGE. YES, I KNOW THAT IS GO­ING HIN­DER ME. I’LL LET PEO­PLE DOWN AT SOME POINT’

go­ing to play where I’m think­ing the field is weak and I have a chance to win. I’m more likely to miss the cut than win think­ing like that. I wouldn’t be ‘up’ for it and end up drink­ing too much wine on the Wed­nes­day evening (laughs). I wouldn’t be like that in a big event. I’d be fully fo­cused.

Is there an irony that you guys spend so much time and effort try­ing to qual­ify for a team event in such an in­di­vid­ual sport?

I sup­pose there is. But from what I hear, the Ry­der Cup is one of the best ex­pe­ri­ences a golfer can have. We all know that. Work­ing on a team can pro­vide an amaz­ing buzz. But yes, it is ironic.

What are your strengths and weak­nesses as a golfer?

My iron play is a strength, es­pe­cially the mid-to-short irons. When I’m play­ing well, that is my strength. His­tor­i­cally, my weak­ness has been off the tee. But I’m a lot bet­ter than I used to be.

Why on both counts?

Tech­ni­cally speak­ing, my swing is a bit steep when I’m go­ing badly. And I tend to get a bit ‘ahead’ of the ball with the driver in my hands. When I live on the sweet spot, it doesn’t last very long. If I stop liv­ing on the sweet spot, it’s be­cause I lean too much to­wards be­ing good with the irons rather than the driver.

I’m good at keep­ing my ball flight down. Which makes me good in the wind. I also have a strong 3-wood in the bag, one I’ve utilised in the same way Hen­rik Sten­son has. In cer­tain ground con­di­tions, I can hit that club as far as my driver. It doesn’t fly as far but it rolls more. So I have two op­tions now to get the ball in play. That made a huge dif­fer­ence last year. When I wasn’t com­fort­able with the driver, I went with the 3-wood. I was in play so much more and out of play only rarely. That is a big thing for ev­ery­one at tour level. But for me it was even big­ger. Sta­tis­ti­cally, my ap­proach play was re­ally hot at times, even if my putting was re­ally ter­ri­ble.

You are only as good as your worst shot.

Ex­actly. It’s all about your bad shots. I do hit a lot of good iron shots. I’m close of­ten enough to be com­pet­i­tive. It’s all about, “how am I go­ing to putt?” Or how fre­quently I hit that re­ally bad tee shot. If I can tighten up on those two things I’m go­ing to get bet­ter.

Hank Haney’s line about suc­cess in golf is: Don’t three-putt, have two chips on one hole and don’t in­cur penalty shots.

Well, yeah, that makes sense. And I know what he means. Last year in In­dia, for ex­am­ple, I didn’t use my driver. I knew it could bring a dou­ble-bo­gey into play. So I used my 3-wood – although I did make an eight on one hole. But it was such a tough course. A bo­gey was fine, but a dou­ble was not. So just keep the ball in play. So Hank’s thing makes to­tal sense, es­pe­cially on a tough course.

The game is changing though. Look at the way the likes of Rory and Dustin John­son play. I’m not short or long, but the dis­tances they can hit the ball are just ex­tra­or­di­nary. I can carry the ball about 285-290 off the tee and hit it about 305. So, my to­tal yardage is okay. But Justin Rose car­ries the ball 305 and hits it 330. And Dustin hits it 325 through the air. That means he’s got 30 yards on me on ev­ery tee shot.

He should get an ad­van­tage, but is that dis­tance ad­van­tage not be­com­ing dis­pro­por­tion­ate?

I get that point of view, but I would also say that if you took 10 per cent off the ball and re­duced the dis­tances we all hit, I think he would have more of an ad­van­tage. Be­cause we would all have to hit our drivers more of­ten. And he is a great driver.

The ball is the easy fix. But it isn’t the only prob­lem. Look at the size of the driver heads. They are so for­giv­ing.

You say that, but I’ve hit some shock­ers (laughs). We all have. I saw a 40-page slideshow from a man­u­fac­turer. They went through ev­ery­thing. The ball. The agron­omy. The player’s fit­ness. Swing speeds. And the num­ber one thing that struck me was the changes in agron­omy over the years. Fair­ways used to be cut

‘THE BEST WRIT­ING AND MU­SIC OF­TEN COMES FROM PEO­PLE’S PAIN. THERE IS AN OB­VI­OUS PAT­TERN TO THAT’

half-an-inch longer than they typ­i­cally are now. If you equate that to how far balls run on the ground it is huge. I found that fas­ci­nat­ing, es­pe­cially when other things have not changed that much in terms of how far guys drive the ball now.

If you watch tapes of the Mas­ters from the 1970s they are ham­mer­ing putts on the greens. Now they just touch the ball. That isn’t even putting. It’s “drib­bling”.

I love quick greens though.

So do I. I grew up on them. But it gets to a point where it is too quick.

I don’t like fast greens be­cause I putt bet­ter on them. I like them be­cause there is more fear in­volved. If you have a putt that is run­ning away from you and you are un­der pres­sure, it is a bet­ter test.

But who do you think de­cided slow greens were bad?

Okay, but who de­cided the Hoover Build­ing is ugly (laughs)? It is bloody ugly. But 40 years ago, peo­ple thought it was beau­ti­ful.

Don’t you think slower greens would test more of your tech­nique? You would have to hit the ball solidly.

Don’t tell Colm Har­ring­ton that, Padraig’s brother. Ev­ery time I play him in the win­ter he takes money off me play­ing on shitty slow greens. He holes ev­ery­thing. So maybe his tech­nique is bet­ter than mine (laughs).

Tell me about your dog, Gus. He is ev­ery­where on your Twit­ter feed.

I am pre­pared to con­cede that I have posted too many shots of him. He’s such a great dog. He is a great char­ac­ter. And he is re­ally good look­ing. I want an­other one ac­tu­ally. We’re nowhere near hav­ing kids yet, so it makes sense to have a dog. Be­fore I die, I want to have as many dogs as pos­si­ble.

Let’s fin­ish with your writ­ing. How did you start blog­ging and why?

It was when I started read­ing a lot of books. I thought I’d have a go at writ­ing. I had all th­ese thoughts in my head and I had to write them down some­where. A blog seemed like a good idea. So I started a Word­Press ac­count.

You told me be­fore that you write bet­ter when you are a lit­tle bit down or de­pressed.

Or drunk. But that is true. The best writ­ing and mu­sic of­ten comes from peo­ple’s pain. There is an ob­vi­ous pat­tern to that. My last few blogs have been a bit tougher. I’ve re­ally had to think about what I was go­ing to write. Suc­cess is harder to re­late to be­cause not ev­ery­one achieves it. But we’ve all felt a bit down at times. I’m not sure how I came upon my writ­ing style. It prob­a­bly stems from the book I was read­ing back then. I in­stinc­tively copied, I think. Plus, read­ing is the best thing for writ­ing, I’ve found. The more I’ve read, the more I’ve wanted to write. My style has changed over the years though, as I have read less. Now I try to tell more sto­ries and go from there. The blog I did from the US Open last year was re­ally about two or three lit­tle mo­ments that oc­curred over the week. Funny things hap­pened. And I en­joyed writ­ing that stuff.

Were you good at English at school?

No, I was ter­ri­ble. I just didn’t care. I didn’t ap­ply my­self. Then again, some peo­ple are re­ally in­tel­li­gent but use­less in real life. There’s a big dif­fer­ence be­tween in­tel­li­gence and com­mon sense.

I left school with one B, five Cs and an E in my GCSEs. But my school let me drop a cou­ple of sub­jects be­cause of my golf. The teach­ers were great. They got the mes­sage that all I wanted to be was a golfer.

One thing I do is delete lots tweets be­fore I hit send. I can’t tweet ev­ery­thing that comes into my mind. That’s my first rule of thumb.

My big hope for the next few years is that peo­ple will stop be­ing so po­lit­i­cally cor­rect all the time. A sense of hu­mour is an in­creas­ingly rare thing. And that does my head in. Life is a bal­anc­ing act and we have def­i­nitely gone too far one way. But there is def­i­nitely an ap­petite for rawer hu­mour.

Last week I went to see the ‘Book of Mor­mon’ in Lon­don. The hu­mour is shock­ing. But it’s hi­lar­i­ous. Peo­ple were cry­ing with laugh­ter. I love that. A joke is a joke. We’re only here for 80 years out of a bil­lion. It’s f*ck-all. So we should look at it that way. Don’t be so pre­cious is my mes­sage. And yes, I know that is go­ing to hin­der me at times. But I have to be care­ful, tozo. I know that peo­ple do have feel­ings. Which is why I delete all those tweets. I’ll let peo­ple down at some point though. It’s in­evitable.

Pepperell was part of the ’07 Jac­ques Leglise Tro­phy-win­ning team with Tommy Fleet­wood and Andrew ‘Beef’ John­ston.

Fin­ish­ing run­ner-up to fel­low English­man Tom Lewis at ’09 Boys Am­a­teur Cham­pi­onship.

xxxnked by the 2018 Ry­der Cup teamP­claapyt-aoifn­f­shTe­haort­mac­ahse Bjorn and Ji­matF­tuhreyk20d1u5riIn­rigsh a re­cen­tOvip­siet­ntoatPRaoriys.al County Down.

Pepperell’s iron-play ex­cel­lence helped him clinch a first Euro­pean Tour ti­tle ear­lier this year.

Pepperell rues a missed chance at the 2013 BMW PGA in his rookie year, where he fin­ished two back of win­ner Mat­teo Manassero.

Pepperell en­joyed his best ma­jor fin­ish in 2017 – T-16th at the US Open at Erin Hills.

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