Are you aware of the Secret Tour Pro? If you are on Twitter, chances are you have come across his account at some stage over the past few months. His posts and photos from ‘players only’ access zones at various events, seems to suggest that he may actually be a current tour pro. He says he is, but he says a lot of questionable things…He was kind enough to conduct an in-depth interview (via email for obvious reasons) recently, but I’m not convinced he was totally honest with his replies. I’ll let you decide…
OK, let’s make this the shortest interview in history and cut to the chase straight away, who are you…?
STP: (Said in his best Jose Mourinho impression) I am the Secret One.
Hmm, OK, well Mourinho is not having his best year, so hopefully you are not a Chelsea fan…are you?
STP: No, and my season is going/went much better than Chelsea’s…
OK, that’s not saying much…moving on…how’s your golf game at the moment? So you had a successful 2015?
STP: My game is more good than bad, my good moments have been what I have been aiming for in 2015. It seems like it has all come together finally. Hard work does pay off, and this year I’d like to say it has. I don’t think I’ve had many bad days, there has been a few, but not enough to leave a sour taste on 2015!
Attempt number two…If I was to donate 1,000,000 to the charity of your choice, would you reveal yourself?
STP: Surely it depends on what currency this is in? Vietnamese Dong for example…. No chance!
Ha, you got me there…that’s the exact currency I was going to suggest…you must be playing in the Ho Tram Open this week to give me that answer?
STP: The STP is playing in the event, so it’s a good job I’ve got some practice on haggling a price already. Thanks Kenneth!
You’re welcome… So who will you be buying Christmas gifts for in Vietnam?
STP: Just a few close family and friends. Maybe my parents and girlfriend of course. Can’t leave her out, or I won’t be able to go home!
Home to a snowy or sunny Christmas?
STP: Snowy! Is there anything better at Christmas than snow? Sun is nice, but I see it every week so some snow is the way to go!
Back to initial question…what charity would you choose to donate to?
STP: Kids with cancer, a great cause for kids who haven’t got a life, it lets them do things, holiday, meeting celebrities etc.
Good choice. Any particular celebrity would you like to meet some day?
STP: I’ve heard Brian McFadden is performing at the Ho Tram Open, he sounds like a bandit too! I hope I get him in my pro-am team…
Ha ha, would you say your golf is better than his singing? Not a difficult question, surely…
STP: I wouldn’t like to be so cruel. Let’s just say we are both experts at our chosen professions!
When I requested a photo to use with the article, he sent me this…
What set of golf clubs would you like for the 2016 season?
STP: I’m happy with my current set, thanks! But if no money was being exchanged and I had free roam of the market, I don’t think you could go wrong with a set of Mizunos or Titleist. Both make the best irons on the market, in my opinion.
Have you ever been generous enough to give away one of your clubs like what McIlroy and Lowry did recently?
STP: I have but I don’t think I’ve ever done it so publicly like they both did. Such a generous offer from them both to do it, I bet the recipients had the shock of their lives!
Speaking of the recent generosity shown by the Irish golfers, have you ever played in the Irish Open? Thoughts in comparison to other tournaments? Fans, weather, beers…etc.
STP: Yes, I have played in the Irish Open on a number of occasions, it’s one of my favourite events on the calendar. I find that it’s very diverse. It’s a different style of course every year and no other tournament does that. Going from Fota Island to Royal County Down, then to the K Club in 2016. It’s always fun. I just wish the weather would get better, I don’t mind wind, but rain and cold air isn’t my thing. But, the fans always seem to come out in the force no matter what the weather is like, they certainly are brave souls!
So you’re not used to the rain and cold weather where you’re from?
STP: Well, I guess you have me there. But I spend most of the year in warmer climates, the rain isn’t my most favourite choice of weather, let’s put it that way. It can have funny effects on your game too, especially when you’re going from solid/hard fast greens to soft/slow greens. You’d be surprised how much of an effect it can have on a lot of guys.
Well, I believe the weather is why Ireland has so many pubs… It’s always warm and dry inside them!
STP: I don’t blame them… My favourite club on a wet and windy day is the clubhouse!
Speaking of pubs, what is your beer of choice? You seem to be open to drink anything that’s wet based on your Twitter photos…
STP: Anything is right! I like lighter beers, but have been known to have a Guinness or two sometimes. The occasional cocktail is always fun, also a glass of wine or even champagne.
That’s a pretty open selection…Have you ever been to the Guinness factory in Dublin for the perfect pint of the black stuff?
STP: I was planning on going a few years ago, but my flight had been delayed and couldn’t make it. Do you recommend a visit Kenneth?
Believe it or not, I am possibly the only Irishman in the world to have not drank a pint of Guinness! I’m more of a tea and biscuit man myself these days…
STP: (In total shock) surely you should have your Irish passport revoked! I thought it was a passage of life for all Irish people.
Why do you think I am living in South Korea…? Moving on…Have you ever done any golf commentating on TV, even if only for a few minutes?
STP: Yes… Always good fun, and I think more should do it. It gives people a great insight (during the round or the shot) into what a player’s mentality is. Recently, Bones (Phil Mickelson’s caddy) was on course at Sea Island; I thought it was great to see a different approach to what they thought.
Personally, I think Tony Johnstone is the most interesting commentator on TV nowadays. I have seen a few others like Monty and Mark Roe get a lot of abuse on social media. Any thoughts on this?
STP: (Laughs) Tony Johnstone, what a character! There should be more in the game like him, he’s such a gentleman but he’s also very funny. We had a chat before a round in Dubai earlier this year, he told me a story which probably can’t be repeated, I’ve never been able to look at him again with a straight face! As for Monty and Roe, the least said, or heard, the better I think. Really surprised Sky have continued with Roe, Monty I feel is good in the studio, but not in the commentary box!
Anyone else you would like to see in the commentary box on a more permanent basis?
STP: Eddie Pep, he’s a good commentator. Bernd did a good job too in his short stint; Tommy Fleetwood also. It’s great to listen to guys who are currently playing on the tour, offer the opinion over commentary to the audience. It gives the viewers more understanding of our mindset. Having Bones do some course work last week should have been a huge eye opener to a lot of viewers on how professionals and caddies look at a course!
OK, I must check that out someday…So, when you look in the mirror is there more than one of you looking back?
STP: As I said already, there is only one… “The Secret One”!
But you have said that you have an assistant or possibly assistants..?
STP: Yes, I have assistants. But doesn’t every secret mastermind!? I have to throw people off the scent somehow!
Are these assistants’ also pro golfers or just some unemployed friends sleeping in their parent’s basement..?
STP: Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t… Who knows…Only me! (Laughs)
How many pro golfers know your identity?
STP: A good question, not many, if any at all! I always play dumb on the range, asking “do you know who’s behind it?”. Then sometimes I will try and pin it on people, accuse them of doing it. It’s funny listening to theories, and what everyone thinks, sometimes I have to walk away before I laugh too hard!
Who have you tried to pin it on..? Also, if you were not the STP who do you think it may be…?
STP: Oh I couldn’t possibly tell you that, it would take a few of the candidates out of the picture wouldn’t it! If I had to guess, I’d say it’s Andy Sullivan, certainly something he’d do!
Somehow I don’t think Sully’s Army would be able to keep it a secret if it was him…so that’s one person definitely ruled out! Who have been the main guesses that you can dismiss?
STP: I don’t think Sully’s Army are capable of being quiet… I honestly couldn’t tell you who to rule out. That would reduce the list of suspects… But I drop enough clues for everyone, it’s just about piecing them together and working it out. Whatever you do, don’t try and work me out from the schedule I say I play! You’re fishing in an empty lake doing that!
Hmm, sounds like you need an extended visit to the confession box…What goals have you set for 2016? EurAsia Cup? Rio? Ryder Cup? Hollywood? Retirement?
STP: All of your suggestions sound good, but I’ll keep my own goals to myself! I try to set realistic targets, ones that I feel aren’t out of reach. I think if you start doing that, you end up trying too hard and your game comes apart somewhat.
So are you eligible to play in both the EurAsia Cup and Ryder Cup?
STP: That would be nice, but I’m not sure I’d be able to tweet from the events, as it would narrow down my identity quite dramatically!
But you do qualify to play in both if selected..?
STP: I might do…. I’ll leave it open to the public if they wish me to tweet from those events!
You also admitted that you are definitely not British or Irish? Correct?
STP: I’m certainly not British, I’ve always said that!
Not Irish either?
STP: Is Ireland part of Britain?
Whoa…lost yourself some fans there…does your personal Twitter account have more followers than your S.T.P. one?
STP: No it doesn’t, which is quite alarming really…It must mean that I’m a boring person or that my dual person, the STP, is more interesting!
So are you worried that when your identity is eventually revealed, you will lose most of your followers?
STP: I honestly don’t know, it’s not something I think will ever be revealed. Well I’m hoping not anyway!
Which tour pro would you regard as a good friend?
STP: There are loads of guys that I value as good friends, but to name and shame them would clearly give them an advantage, and a clue to who I was.
But assuming they are good friends, they surely know you are the STP…
STP: Nope. I’ve managed to keep it a super-secret. That way it’s more fun for everyone isn’t it!?
In contrast to friends on tour, which pro would make you knock back your beer and grab your jacket, if he entered the bar you were in?
STP: Robert Allenby; I can’t stand the man. He has made my skin crawl ever since I first met him. The whole Hawaii incident last year kind of sums him up as a person; he’s a complete d##k…
Language please…Have you actually had a run in with him or just from general observation?
STP: No, but I watched him on the range earlier in the year. His attitude was awful. He treated his caddy like a slave (maybe the wrong word), but he wasn’t nice to him, throwing clubs, towels, balls at him, ordering him about; certainly not cool. Afterwards, he wasn’t any better in the locker room, I think he’s a ……..
Lovely…are you not worried that if your identity is revealed, you will regret some of the things you have said? There are no long term secrets on the Internet…
STP: Many people have tried to guess who I am, but I’m yet to see any solid shred of evidence to back up their guesses. They’ll have to try much harder to try and catch me out!
But you only started this a few months ago…I give it a few more months and all will be revealed…unless you live on the Moon…and if you do, Andy Sullivan can go visit you with his prize from last year…(Awkward silence…)
What do you enjoy the most about being a pro on tour?
STP: Doing your hobby and getting paid for it! Nothing can beat that!
Did you get paid a lot this year…?
STP: (Laughs) Enough!
What do you feel about the possibility of eventually merging the European Tour and Asian Tour into a Eurasian Tour? Would it be good for the game?
STP: Yes, It will certainly bring new sponsors to the game, and hopefully better events for us all. I just hope, like in my previous statement, that they get the scheduling correct. It’s a big part of a player’s season. If they get that right, they’d see more players in the field and better purse. I think they will, and I’m sure it will only improve our golf and tour.
Finally, can you provide one clue to your identity/identities please?
STP: Sure, the clue is in the title!
OK, my work is done here, for now…thank you for your time, but no Vietnamese Dong for the charity of your choice so… The investigation continues….