Zimbabwe’s Price felt he needed a birdie to get a chance while playing the par 5 on the 71st hole. He did better than that. He hit a 50-foot shot to steal an eagle and win by one stroke. Jesper Parnevik Swedish.
Calling from his home in Florida, Price, 66, reflected on his recent British Open win and why it was so special. Conversations have been edited and condensed.
Where would you place your victory at Turnberry?
I was second twice in 1982 and 1988, so it was something I really wanted. It was the first major championship I saw on TV. It meant the most to me.
What are the challenges facing Royal Liverpool players?
I think it’s normal links golf. One of the true keys to links golf is hitting the ball straight. Tom Watson, always a links course master, that was his philosophy. He said it doesn’t matter if he misses the ball, but if he hits it straight, he’ll be on a links course, and no more truthful words were spoken.
What was the first opening you saw?
In 1969, when Tony Jacklin won the Royal Lytham. There was no live television in those days. A tobacco company once had all these 16mm films of his to take to the golf club. They had two screenings Friday night and Saturday night. I remember sitting on the floor in front of the screen in the main lounge of the golf course, watching with two or three buddies. It was such an eye-opening event. I didn’t know you could make money playing professional golf.
What was the key to your victory?
My putt on the 17th was big, but I birdied on the 16th, so I was really close to winning. I played that hole absolutely flawlessly. I hit the driver to hit a 60-degree sand wedge, and it had the most spin. Using a small slope behind the pin as a backboard, I pulled the ball back about 15 feet off the slope and held a very difficult downhill left-to-right putt.
What about Bernhard Langer, who recently set the record for most wins among seniors?
What strikes me about him is his willingness. He still has that desire. To many of us who have retired or retired, he’s just an amazing human being.
You are only 7 months older. Can you imagine yourself doing what he is doing?
No, I was hit with an injury and was going downhill towards retirement in 2012. Still, if it wasn’t for that, I probably wouldn’t have played as many games. I competed in some events, but not like him.
Anyway, you were never in the mood for the Senior Tour, were you?
not much. I fought hard on the regular tour until I turned 50, so the first three of my four years on the Champions Tour were a little burnt out. It didn’t inspire me.
what is your biggest regret?
I wish I had come to America sooner. Here my progress accelerated even further. It should have come in late 1980, not 1983.
What motivates you when you play with your friends these days?
Love for games, that’s all. You have to keep your target moving. it wasn’t. Yesterday I hit 71 and broke par. I am playing from the 2nd set tees on a course of about 6,700 yards. It’s still fun for me, especially with the people I play with. I try to be picky about the courses I play. I only want to play courses that I enjoy playing. That’s one thing you can do when you’re my age.