CONTENTS

Eddie Pepperell

Prepare for The Pepper Pod

Former Betfred British Masters Champion, Eddie Pepperell, has been keeping himself busy ahead of the European Tour’s return to action at this week’s tournament at Close House. The 29-year-old started a podcast – The Pepper Pod – with BBC commentator Andrew Cotter shortly after his last outing at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, where he was disqualified for signing for an incorrect scorecard. Pepperell has become an adept coffee-maker. But with the starter’s gun cocked and ready to kick-start the action again he’s gradually got back into the swing of things with his coach, Simon Shanks. We spoke to the two-time European Tour winner as his preparations began to go up a few notches.

Q: Aside from blogging, commentating, podcasting and the usual activities on Twitter, how else have you been keeping busy during lockdown?
EP: As you’ve highlighted, I have done more media work than I normally would, and I’ve enjoyed speaking with Andrew each week on The Pepper Pod. Other than that, I’ve been cooking a lot of steaks as part of my carnivore diet that my girlfriend Jen and I have been on for a few months. We also bought a coffee machine at the start of lockdown so my barista skills have definitely improved, unlike my car cleaning ability, which didn’t go so well. More recently, I’ve been practicing and playing again which has been good.

You’re well-known for your dry sense of humour on social media and it’s often delivered with a sharp wit – are you that way inclined when you’re competing on Tour?
EP: Twitter for me is 90 per cent tongue in cheek – albeit there are plenty of followers out there who don’t seem to realise that. I believe it’s important to have fun when you can, particularly in these difficult times and I don’t think I’m that different playing on Tour. That said, I do have ‘grown-up’ conversations at times, and I enjoy that element of socialising. I also appreciate that golf is my career, and I do take it more seriously than I perhaps project at times.

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What would you say your strengths and weaknesses are on the golf course?
EP: Historically, I would say I’ve been known for my iron play, which was widely talked about a lot at the end of 2017 and in 2018. Since then, I would possibly say my strength has been in reducing, or minimising my weaknesses. I have definitely improved off the tee, and more recently, I’ve added the putting claw grip, which seems to have made a difference. I started working on my game before lockdown, so I look forward to seeing how that progresses this year at Close House.

The Betfred British Masters is an historic tournament for golf fans around the country. Did you feel that sense of history and prestige when you won in 2018?
EP: It’s certainly a great tournament, and the quality of the players who have hosted the tournament in recent years has raised the profile of the event. The big thing for me was winning in the UK in front of home crowds. I always enjoy playing in the UK and Ireland, and as much as it’s a positive step going back to tournament golf, I will miss playing in front of the fans. Having my family and friends at Walton Heath was also really special.

The two courses (and conditions) where you achieved success on Tour – Doha GC in Qatar and Walton Heath – couldn’t have been more different. Can you explain this – or was it merely finding something in your game that week?
EP: At the 2018 Qatar Masters,, I had just started working with a new coach, Simon Shanks, and a couple of simple swing thoughts helped me – particularly, as the pressure increased in the latter stages of the tournament. At the British Masters I found something on the driving range on the Wednesday, having hit the ball really poorly during the Pro-Am. After the first round, I felt comfortable all week. Whilst they are different courses, visually, they suited my eye, particularly from the tee.

En route to British Masters victory you holed a crazy hole-in-one during the first round. How many aces have you holed and was that the wildest one you’ve seen?
EP: It was definitely an unusual one, and I had to watch it a few times to work out exactly what had happened in terms of the spin on the ball as it hit the flag and the ground almost simultaneously. It’s the only ace I can recall in tournament golf, and whilst I’ve had a fair few in practice I haven’t been keeping count.

What was your reaction when you saw the celebrations from your friends and family in the pub when you won in Qatar?
EP: I think the footage you are referring to is my brother’s video in the local pub, which I watched later that evening after the win. The ‘Pepper Army’ had clearly been in position for a while and they were in fine form. I remember Mad Gazza celebrated before the final putt had even reached the hole, so it’s a good job it went in! It was nice to see, and as I mentioned, the fact that they weren’t there in Qatar made the British Masters win all the more special.

The US Open was the only Major you missed out on last year but you’ve qualified for this year’s edition. How excited are you to test yourself against the USGA’s set-up at Winged Foot?
EP: Obviously I’m pleased to have the opportunity to play, albeit playing in the United States this year, either for the US PGA Championship or the US Open, isn’t a straightforward decision with the current quarantine regulations. You look forward to playing any Major – and the word ‘test’ is accurate. It’s what we all strive for, but the stress levels are definitely higher during those weeks.

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You missed out on last year’s DP World Tour Championship and had to retire after round one in 2018. How eager are you to qualify for this year’s season-ending event and what do you enjoy about being out in Dubai?
EP: The Tour Championship is a tournament all the players look forward to and I think friends and family enjoy it equally in terms of it being a week away and it’s a great place to visit. I do think this year will have a slightly different feel to it with everything we have experienced over the past few months, but having such an extended period away from competitive golf, should make for a good week.

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What’s in the BAG:

WOODS

PING G410 Plus 9%

Diamana ZF 60 TX Tip 3/4” 45” D3

MCC Align Grip

PING G410 14.5 3wood

Diamana ZF 70 TX Tip 1”

Big Minus Setting to 12.5 % 43” D3

MCC Align Grip

PING G410 17.5 Wood

Diamana ZF 70 TX Tip 1.5”

Small Minus to 16.5 % 42.75” D3+

MCC Align Grip

IRONS

PING I210 3 iron (1 deg weak loft)

Dynamic Gold X100 Tour Issue

STD Length RED LIE (1 Flat) MCC ALIGN grip D3

PING iBLADE 4-PW (Increased Offset Tour Proto)

Dynamic Gold X100 Tour Issue

STD Length RED LIE (1/2 Flat)

Std LoftMCC ALIGN grip D3

WEDGES

PING GLIDE 3.0 Wedges

52 SS @ 51 Loft, Back Grind, D3

56 SS @ 55 Loft, Std Half Moon Grind, D3+

60 SS @ 59 Loft Std Half Moon Grind, D4

Dynamic Gold X100 Tour Issue

Orange Lie (2 Flat)

MCC Align Grip (Round grip on 60)

PUTTER

Tour PLD Prime Tyne (Smooth Face)

71 deg , 2.5% 34”

Heppler PP60 grip