Hello there readers! Yesterday was a great day for us at Cleveland Golf, as Larry Mize took time out of his busy schedule to put on a demo that was second to none and hit the links. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Mr. Mize, he has been a professional golfer for over 25 years and was the 1987 Masters champion. Afterwards he was kind enough to sit down with me and answer a few questions that I think all of would be interested to know…
When did you start playing?
I guess I started when I was about 5 or 6. A lot during the summer when I turned 9, and ever since then I have been playing a lot.
How did you get into the game?
My dad, he didn’t play golf when I was born but he took it up when he was about 35. So, he got me interested in it and I fell in love with the game.
Did growing up in Augusta have anything to do with that?
I don’t think there is any doubt. With the Masters, My dad would get us tickets to the tournament… I was lucky. I’m sure that sparked the flame of my love for golf.
Someone in the office asked if you would ever sneak on and played Augusta when you were a kid?
Of course not. No, I was afraid of getting shot, so I wouldn’t have done that.
Can you tell us a little bit about what you are doing out here today?
Yeah, we’ve got the sales meeting and I came to play some golf with the guys and just be here with them. I’m just happy to be here with everyone.
What’s in your bag right now?
I’ve got the Launcher Driver, 3W and hybrid, CG1Tour irons and 588 wedges.
As a former Masters Champion, what has been the biggest technological breakthrough in your mind?
The biggest way my clubs have changed… Well, I was all wooden then and now I am all metal, so that’s pretty good. It’s a cross between the metal woods and the ball. You have the big drivers with the sweet spots and then the graphite shafts to give you the extra club head speed. When you combine that with the better balls it’s just so much more of a power game, compared to what it used to be.
So, you won this year. How does that feeling compare to the wins you had on the PGA?
It’s still the same. Winning is winning is winning. The nerves were there, but I played well coming down the stretch to win. It was a blast, my wife and two sons were there with me which made it special. Winning is winning and it feels the same now as it did 20 years ago.
Do you prepare the same way now compared to 20 years ago?
Well, I practice smarter. I probably don’t practice as long but I practice smarter. I do a lot of mental work now.
What do you mean by mental work?
I work with a sports psychologist now and it’s been fun. I actually get mental strategies for when I am playing a golf course… What I need to be thinking, what I need to do to be more positive out there. Before, I used to just go out and play and didn’t think much about the mental side.
Let’s talk about the Masters for just a second… With that being in the home town, what was it like to win that one?
It really was amazing. You want to play well in your home town and to win a major championship in your home town was just incredible. It was a dream come true for me to play in the tournament back in ’84… But then to win it in 1987 was just incredible. The nice thing was, it is such a big tournament that there wasn’t that much pressure on me, which usually happens for home town events. Everyone wanted me to play well but since it was the Masters there wasn’t that pressure to perform which was a good thing. It was a great win for me.
How often are you asked about that chip shot on 11?
Quite a bit, but that’s ok… It’s a good subject to talk about. (laughs)
That shot was ranked by ESPN was the second most memorable golf shot of all time, how does that make you feel?
Kind of like “wow”. I don’t think about that really. It was a big shot for me, but I will leave all that for those guys at ESPN and it’s pretty cool that it was number two.