I've been asked the same questions for four years: Why are you playing so badly? When did it start? Why did it start? Once and for all, here are the answers: I don't know, I don't know, and I don't know. If I did know, I might not be in the situation I'm in—returning to Royal Birkdale, where I won the 1991 British Open, as a television commentator instead of as a player.
To be honest, I'm looking forward to the Open. Maybe after this week all the questions will finally cease.
A lot has been made of my playing difficulties, but I've got nothing to be depressed about. I have a new life now with ABC Sports. Curtis Strange, one of my coworkers, and I play golf every day. (Curtis is playing as well as he ever has, by the way.) Along with Mike Tirico and Steve Melnyk, he's been helping me make the adjustment to TV. I had done a bit of television back in Australia, but nothing as complicated as a worldwide broadcast of the Open. I'm still learning how to handle taped sequences and live feeds, how to avoid stepping on comments from out on the course by Rossi [ Bob Rosburg] or Judy [Rankin], and how to think and speak cogently while our producer talks in my headphones.
Broadcasting for 12 hours a day for ABC and ESPN, I'll be too busy to reminisce about my '91 victory. I did return to Birkdale for a few practice rounds last month, though. The grandstands were in place, empty of spectators. It was like playing the British Open alone. I stopped by the house I'd rented seven years ago. I had a cup of tea, took a look around, played all those holes that I remember so well.
How did I play? I knew you'd ask. The answer is, not bad. I was in the low 70s each day.
Perhaps I'll play in the next Open at Royal Birkdale.