These 4 hilarious quotes from top golfers will jumpstart your 2021

golf philosophers

When these four golf philosophers are speaking, take notes.

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Other talented members of this staff have given you various blueprints with which to tackle the new year. We’ve had stories about how golfers can lose weight sustainably, how to get in better shape to improve your game, how to plan a buddies’ trip, how to tackle your lawn like a greenskeeper and even a list of reasons to get excited for golf in the new year.

But before we leave 2020 too far behind, it’s important we hear from a few of the game’s wisest minds. PGA Tour players had plenty of opportunities to speak their minds this year, whether in person or over video, and the four philosophers who follow are must-listens every time they step behind a microphone. Will these quotes change your life? Maybe not. But they’re funny, and they’re not particularly serious, and you’d be lucky to catch a vibe from them — plus take a lesson or two into the new year.

Let’s get to it.

1. Keep things simple.

The philosopher: Rory McIlroy

The situation: After his final round at the Northern Trust in August, a reporter asked Rory McIlroy the following question:

“What’s the difference between a birdie and a triple?”

The quote: McIlroy had his response lined up.

“Four shots, usually.”

The lesson: Let’s not overcomplicate things this year, on or off the course. Let’s not make one triple-bogey into something bigger than it is. Let’s all channel our wry, nihilist Rory McIlroy, keep some proper perspective, resist the urge to make mountains out of molehills and take one shot at a time. A triple bogey on one hole does not have to mean another triple bogey on the next.

Also, this exchange just made me laugh.

2. Enjoy life.

The philosopher: Miguel Angel Jimenez

The situation: Jimenez was coming off his victory at the Sanford International, a PGA Tour Champions event in South Dakota, when he was asked how he planned to celebrate and dropped a few pearls of wisdom to the Sioux Falls Argus Leader.

The quote: “How am I going to celebrate? We start already. We have some wine here. It’s my favorite drink. Nice cigar, Arturo Fuentes. What else? What else?

“You only get one life. You’re dead for a lot longer than you’re alive. All you can do is enjoy yourself. That’s the big thing. Take what’s coming, try to be good and enjoy the people around yourself. That’s life.”

The lesson: I’m not sure what I can add that The Mechanic didn’t lay out pretty clearly here. Enjoy your life! You could argue it’s easier to enjoy the moment when you’ve just won a first-prize check of $270,000, but still — the sentiment is useful. And it’s good to be Miguel Angel Jimenez.

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3. Manage your expectations

The philosopher: Dustin Johnson

The situation: Johnson’s season was suddenly interrupted when he tested positive for the coronavirus and subsequently shacked up in a hotel room for 11 days, where he said he did absolutely nothing. When he returned at the Houston Open, golf fans weren’t sure what to expect. Johnson wasn’t quite sure either.

The quote: “My health is good. The state of my game is — undetermined.”

The lesson: Read the above again, taking care to use Johnson’s unbothered cadence as you do. It’s a relatable, evergreen statement if I’ve ever heard one, and coming from the world No. 1, we should all take note.

Recall that in mid-summer, Johnson had shot 80-80 at Memorial and then 78-MC at the 3M the following week. Then he went on a tear — T12-T2-1-2-T3-T6 — before the positive test.

Then recall that several days after this quote, Johnson finished T2 at the Houston Open. The week after that he won his first green jacket in domineering fashion. He kept an open mind, accepted the unknown and let his talent take over.

You’re not Dustin Johnson, but you’d do well to adopt a bit of his mindset. If you’re fortunate enough to be in good health entering 2021, count your blessings. And remember: This year’s a blank slate. The state of your game is, as of yet, undetermined.

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4. Speed up your dinners

The philosopher: Harry Higgs

The situation: At the Safeway Open, Higgs was asked how he had been adjusting to golf’s Covid-era policies. In short? He, “the king of ordering dinner on my phone and just having somebody bring it to me,” was enjoying this new rhythm of life. That’s how a question about coronavirus restrictions turned into an insightful answer about the nature of dinners in general. That’s how you know you’re dealing with one of the game’s master philosophers.

The quote: “The problem is that most of my friends like fancy dinners, and I don’t mind them, but a fancy dinner turns into a two, two-and-a-half, three-hour ordeal. I’m out on that,” Higgs said.

“If we could keep it 30-45 minutes, sit down, order, eat and leave, I would go to dinner more often. But my fancy friends like fancy dinners and then that keeps me there for two hours.”

The lesson: This is perhaps the most literal philosophy lesson, but also the most practical. With luck, we’ll be able to return to proper dinners out on the town at some point in 2021. That doesn’t mean they all have to be marathons. We can work together to achieve a more perfect dinner.

And if you’re inviting Harry, maybe head to Chipotle.

Dylan Dethier
Golf.com Photographer

Dylan Dethier is a senior writer for GOLF Magazine/GOLF.com, The Williamstown, Mass. native joined GOLF in 2017 after two years scuffling on the mini-tours. Dethier is a 2014 graduate of Williams College, where he majored in English, and he’s the author of 18 in America, which details the year he spent as an 18-year-old living from his car and playing a round of golf in every state.