Nick Dougherty, a Lynx Golf brand ambassador, European Tour winner and lead presenter for Sky Sports and Golf Channel sat down to discuss the hottest topics in golf. From competing against Tiger Woods – the greatest of all time in Nick’s opinion – to how his popular Tee Time Tips can benefit players of all skill levels right up to the professional ranks.
Additionally, Nick talks through his relationship with Lynx Golf and the exciting developments on the horizon. Get to know Nick below in this edition of 10 questions.
What are your thoughts on the new PGA TOUR schedule?
I think it’s good. It’s worked really well this year because of the excitement around the majors, which have been condensed. From the PGA Tour’s standpoint, you’ve also got THE PLAYERS that precedes the majors, so it’s been great. I think there has been a bit of blending that’s gone on with the European Tour as well and it’s coming into its own. It’s worked really well, the only thing that will take a bit of time to settle will be how quickly those majors come around, which is great in the moment, but now there’s a big wait between the last one and the Masters next year. So time will tell whether or not the players love that, but they’ve been pretty exciting so you have to say it’s been a good adjustment.
Rory McIlroy narrowly edged-out Brooks Koepka for Player of the Year honors. Who did you have in that debate?
Rory nicked it, but it’s tough, I understand why people feel that Brooks had a better year. They both won three times, Brooks won a major though and that counts for a lot. However, the one thing on Rory’s side is he won THE PLAYERS. Of course, you are measured by what you do in major championships, so it’s a toughie. I think both guys can probably defend their cases. I thought Brooks might get it if I’m honest, but I’m not that surprised because THE PLAYERS Championship is huge and Rory won the national title in Canada as well. They are big wins and he’s played great in Europe. Rory is a truly global player and he does it on both sides of the pond.
Along the lines of great players, who do you have as the “GOAT?” Jack, Tiger or someone else?
It depends on how you look at it, I’ll give you two versions and then my actual answer. If it’s purely based on who has achieved the most, Jack Nicklaus had 19 runner-up finishes and 18 major victories. I know they are seconds, but they still count for a lot. Everyone talks about the 18 majors, but how about the 19 seconds? I don’t think Tiger is going to get past that either, he’s at 15, so in that sense it’s Jack. But, who do I think has played the best golf in any one moment in time? Tiger Woods. On that basis Tiger is the greatest of all time for me.
Tell us about your experience playing in the Walker Cup and the talent level in today’s amateur ranks.
Playing in the Walker Cup was one of my greatest memories of everything I’ve done, including the professional game. Representing the team is a wonderful thing in golf and you do it a lot as an amateur. You don’t do it a lot as a pro and when you do it’s something important. Obviously, the one thing I didn’t get to do was play in the Ryder Cup which must be an amazing experience. The Walker Cup was awesome and I’m lucky to have been part of a team that won by a significant margin in the United States, 15-9 in 2001. It was a really strong team and it was an amazing achievement because it’s really hard to beat the Americans, and when you look at the modern-day level of [American] play, that’s not getting any easier. There are so many great young American players coming out on Tour, and they seem to win within the first few months, which is a bit disconcerting for what GB&I is going to be able to do to in response. However, we do have a lot of really great young players coming through as well. Keeping up with the Americans has never been harder though.
What is the most memorable moment you’ve been a part of on the golf course – as competitor, commentator or spectator?
I’ll give you one for each thing I’ve done. As a player, it was winning at St. Andrews, because to win at the home of golf is a very special thing. Obviously, I wish it was The Open, but it was the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, which is a big event on the European Tour. To walk up that final hole over the Swilcan Bridge is something as a player that is really special. So that’s my greatest moment I think I’ve been a part of as a player. Playing with Tiger Woods came close as well. That was during the third round of The U.S. Open, an event that obviously he would want to win. He was all about the major championships and still is, so to play with him in contention was a pretty amazing experience for me. The biggest moment I’ve been a part of though in total would have to be as a presenter now for Sky Sports Golf, because being at The Masters in April was my first time presenting the tournament or presenting a major championship. I mean it was over, he [Tiger] was done. There were no more majors that were going to go his way. He had just had a brilliant win at East Lake when he won the Tour Championship but that was supposed to be the one last fling for Tiger Woods. We all thought the injuries and all the tough times he’d had, the problems with his game, he was definitely on the downward trend. But to win at Augusta, I think it’s one of the most special things I’ve ever witnessed in the game. Of all the miraculous things he’s done that is probably the one that stands out to me.
How did you come to be involved with Lynx Golf?
It was actually originally through my wife who introduced me to the equipment, because she was with the company with Steph and Steve. It’s really cool to be a part of something that’s British and a family-owned business which is very unusual in golf. I really liked that as a Brit and I really liked the enthusiasm behind the company, that was evident from the very beginning, and after that the product really sold itself. So the initial involvement was seeing this family-owned business mixing it up with the titans of the industry.
Lynx is generating a lot of buzz lately. What is it that you think separates them from other competitors in the club manufacturing space?
First, that it’s a British family-owned business which I think is unique in the modern world. Club manufacturers are huge corporations these days and Lynx is moving in a big way towards the top of all of that. It’s a small business that has really blown up into something exciting and it’s incredible the speed with which it’s grown. It doesn’t surprise me because you have a brand that is synonymous with world class golf and has a history of Great major champions that have had their name connected with the brand before it went away. But now it’s come back and it still has that same brand name but it feels new so it doesn’t have a history it has to obey. It can be whatever it wants to be and it can be a trailblazer. It can reinvent the wheel and that’s what it does and what the other manufacturers can’t do because they have a tradition of doing things a certain way. So I think there is a big advantage for us at Lynx because we can revolutionize the way we look at the game. It’s not just doing what everybody else does, it’s making brand new things that you haven’t seen before with a Lynx twist on it.
If a mid-to-high handicapper could improve one aspect of their game – driving, putting, short game or iron play – what will have the greatest impact on lowering scores?
The obvious answer is the short game, because that’s where people spend most of their shots around the green. The ability to turn 3 shots into 2 is what makes or breaks a score, Nick Faldo said that and it’s so true. But, turning 4 shots into 2 is even better which is what a lot of high handicappers can do with a bit of practice. However, getting the ball in play off the tee is kind of key, so finding your go-to shot, understanding your game, understanding your misses with the big stick I think is one of the things I would go to first.
You have a large and growing following for your instructional content, both in terms of Instagram and on broadcast television. What are some of the most common mistakes you see from amateur golfers?
Tee Time Tips is all about those simple, obvious things that hopefully when people watch, whether it be on Instagram or the TV show they think ‘yeah of course.’ Then they think about it a little bit more and think, ‘yeah I don’t do that, I actually do that thing wrong as well.’ For me, that’s what this is all about and I think we’re in the modern-day world where it’s very easy to over complicate. There’s a lot of information out there, some of which is really good, but we can get ourselves all wrapped up. Knowledge is power as long as you know how to use it. That’s the great thing with what we have with Tee Time Tips, everybody can use it. I’ve had talks with pros who are better than I ever was, I won’t name who, but they have spoken to me and said things like “I had never heard that little tip you did on how Seve would lower his hands to point the loft back to the toe and open up the face”. This has revolutionized the way they played their lob shots and that’s someone who was better than I ever was at golf. At the same time, I’ve got people who have just started playing and they love the fact they can understand it and the results are almost immediate. There are no quick fixes in golf, but what Tee Time Tips does is set certain parameters out that make the game very easy to understand and more fun to consume, and if you can have fun while learning I think you’re on your way.
Lynx has a new Stinger driving iron. Who has the best “stinger shot” on TOUR?
Easiest question out of them all today because the answer is Tiger Woods. He didn’t need a stinger iron for it, he can do it with pretty much any club in the bag. But now we’ve got one, we can keep up, so we should look at it like that.