Besides Jordan Spieth, the SMBC Singapore Open will also be playing host to some of the most talented golfers in the world today. Athletes such as Yang Yong-eun, the first Asian golfer to win a golfing major, and Darren Clarke, the Ryder Cup captain for the European team, are making their way to Sentosa’s Serapong golf course to participate in the country’s most prestigious and storied golf tournament.
We managed to grab some time with Clarke and Spieth to get their thoughts on the heat and humidity in Singapore and on the game of golf.
Welcome back to Singapore Clarke!
Thank you. It’s great to be back in Singapore, which I think is one of the best and most beautiful cities in the world. It’s clean and safe and there is always so much to do and eat. I also love the golf course in Sentosa. I’m probably coming back a bit lighter than the last time I was in Singapore. Hopefully the heat won’t be too bad!
How are you going to adjust to the heat?
Thankfully I don’t spend too much time back home in Northern Ireland during winter. I’m travelling all of the time so the heat is part and parcel of what I do, and I have no doubt that it’s going to be warm as it always is in Singapore. I’m crossing my fingers that the storms will stay away and we’ll have a great tournament.
You’ve been golfing for a long time. What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in the game?
Definitely fitness and technology. The guys are way fitter now. When I first started playing the game, we didn’t play 18 holes. We would go and hit a few balls, then head to the bar and have a couple of pints or glasses of wine and relax. That doesn’t really happen anymore. The guys are in the gym all the time if they’re not in the course. They are fitter, stronger and more flexible now.
As for technology, everything from the balls to the shafts have changed. Having said that, at the end of the day, you still need your nerves to hole a three-foot putt that’s going down from left to right. The mental game is never going to change.
Thanks Clarke. Spieth, it’s going to be your first time in Singapore, yes?
Yes. I am expecting it to be hot but also beautiful. I’ve seen pictures of the infinity pools on top of the buildings and I’m quite keen to explore those! I’ve seen pictures of Singapore and I’m excited to finally set foot on your country.
It was tough to pin you down. How did you manage to fit the Singapore Open into your 2016 schedule?
You’re right. It’s quite a busy period for me during the start of 2016. Coming from Abu Dhabi to Singapore during a time and season when I would normally play in California will be a bit of adjustment, especially when it comes to the weather. But opportunities like this don’t come often. I get to explore some of the coolest cities in the world. I’m also trying to do as much as I can in 2016, to take advantage of the momentum of 2015 and spread my brand in different countries to hopefully have an impact.
Catch Clarke and Spieth in the SMBC Singapore Open happening at the Serapong Golf Course in Sentosa, 28 – 31 January.