The success of Australian golf in 2016 continues to grow, with both Scott Hend and Matt Griffin picking up a title in Thailand and New Zealand respectively. Golf Digest recently caught up with Melbourne native Griffin to talk about his latest victory, amongst other things.
When the birdie putt dropped on the 72nd hole at the New Zealand Open, what were your immediate feelings?
I was extremely excited and relieved. Once my second shot landed on the green I was doing my breathing exercises to try and calm my heart rate and fortunately the putt dropped and I picked up my sixth professional win.
Any advice offered up by your long-term caddie as you reached the home stretch?
Craig was just trying to keep me patient as the round drew to a close. He said to me that I was playing well and that a birdie wasn’t far away. He was correct!
Any plans to have your partner Liz back on the bag again? Possibly Korea? I hear she has mastered the language…
Yes, Liz speaks Korean extremely well and I plan to return to Korea for at least one event this year, in which I hope she can caddy. She caddied for me in 3 events early this year and I played well and we had a great time.
How did you celebrate afterwards?
Fortunately, I had a number of family and friends over there, so it was a great celebration. We headed to a bar in Queenstown and celebrated by drinking some champagne and wine out of the Brodie Breeze trophy. I treated them all for the evening as an appreciation for their ongoing support.
Nice! Any plans to spend the rest of the winnings?
Well, after the Sunday celebration, we took a trip to Milford and tried out the power jet experience in Queenstown, which was a lot of fun. I’m still trying to work out what to do with the rest of the prize money…
Your sponsors must be very pleased with this victory too?
Yes, of course! I am very grateful to Drummond Golf in particular. They have been with me since day one and kept their faith in me. I’m glad I was able to give them something to cheer about! Also, I must mention K2 Asset Management, Oakley and Titleist; with their support, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
You previously stated that the Korean PGA Championship was your greatest achievement. Has this victory surpassed that?
The Korean PGA was a huge win for me, but yes, I think this just surpasses it. To win a National Championship and to beat such a quality field including some of Japan’s best players means it would have to be my biggest win.
I believe you have the same coach as Marcus Fraser and Marc Leishman? No doubt you’re pretty pleased with him?
Yes, I’m lucky to have Denis McDade as my coach, who also coaches Marc and Marcus. Denis works extremely hard with us all and I believe he is one of the best coaches in the world.
Aussie golf seems to be in a very dominant position at the moment. Do you stay in regular contact with other Aussies on the various tours?
Australian golf has had a huge 18 months and I definitely think we all feed off each other in a some way. With Australia being so isolated from the rest of the world, all Australian pro’s travel a lot and often without their families, so we are all close and support each other. It’s always exciting to see another Aussie winner, wherever in the world it may be.
Has this win altered your 2016 plans in any way?
The win has given me a huge boost up the Australasian Order of Merit and the winner of that at the end of the year gains several important exemptions. Due to this, I will try to fit a few more events into my schedule to give myself the best chance to win the OOM.
Back to Japan next?
Yeah, I begin with the Token Homemade Classic the week after the US Masters.
So a few weeks rest in Melbourne before this tournament in Japan?
Yeah, I’m back in Melbourne now. I’m taking a 2 week break and that will give me another 2 weeks to work with Denis McDade and prepare for the season opener on the Japan Tour. There will also be plenty of visits to the gym between now and then!
How are you enjoying life there? Much different to Korea?
Life playing the Japan Tour is great. There is a lot of quality players playing there. I really enjoy the food and lifestyle in Japan, as I also did with Korea. I guess the biggest difference between the two is that the Japan Tour has more events than Korea does, which makes my travelling to and from Australia easier to cope with.
Can we expect to see another blog post soon?
Yes, it’s been a while since my last post, but I’m just working on one now so it should be out pretty soon.