Exclusive: Johan Edfors interview
Former Loch Lomond champ Johan Edfors talks to Golf365’s Matt Cooper about fashion, shaving and Gandhi playing golf!
When Johan Edfors reflected on his second European Tour title (the 2006 British Masters at The Belfry), he came out with a brilliantly enigmatic quote that completely captured his elation.
“I was smiling so much,” he said, “it felt like I was going to swallow my head.”
The reason for his happiness was obvious: he had just overhauled a quality field, on a historic golf course, to collect his second tour title in two months meaning that he had made an awful lot of money in a very short space of time.
If ever a golfer deserved to swallow his own head, Edfors did.
But he had another reason to be happy: after winning the TCL Classic in China two months before he was, he later admitted, feeling under pressure because he didn’t want to become a one-hit wonder.
Perhaps he didn’t much fancy being a two-hit wonder either because within a few weeks he added a third title when a final round 63 turned a six-shot deficit into a two-shot win in the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond.
2007 was, perhaps inevitably, a bit of a comedown after the excitement of the hat-trick year whilst 2008 started well but failed to catch fire.
The 2009 season has seen the Varberg-born player get ever closer to the form of 2006 – he has twice finished in the top three on the European Tour (in the Dunhill Championship and Irish Open) and rediscovered the winning touch in the Black Mountain Masters on the Asian Tour.
Matt Cooper sat down for a chat with Johan recently and discovered that he is a golfer determined to make the most of his talent.
Golf365: Hello Johan. Ahead of the 2006 European Tour season you were relatively unknown, but Puma made you one of their star players. They did the same for Geoff Ogilvy in America and he also enjoyed a great year (he won two titles including the US Open). Puma must have a really good talent spotter?
Johan Edfors: I know! That was a pretty good year for me and Geoff and I think someone must have known something. It’s still happening though – Mark Brown started wearing our clothes last year and then won twice. And Daniel Vancsik won earlier this year after joining.
Golf365: How did it come about? Did you like Puma clothes anyway?
Johan Edfors: I did actually. I’ve always liked Puma because they were a big brand when I was growing up and then they sort of disappeared. But then there was a sort of revolution I think and after that they started doing golf. When they contacted me I was really happy to be able to wear clothes I liked.
Golf365: Is it important to you to feel good on the course?
Johan Edfors: Well I’ve always been interested in fashion and what I wear so I wouldn’t have signed up with them if I didn’t think they made nice clothes, with the expectations I have.
Golf365: You wouldn’t be too keen to wear pleated trousers then?
Johan Edfors: No! I think I had to when I was at college and in national teams – not since then though! Americans like big sizes but I prefer fitted.
Golf365: Talking of America, earlier this season the PGA Tour told their players to get “neat” haircuts, shave regularly and always tuck their shirts in. Do you think they had anyone in mind!?
Johan Edfors: I know – sounds a bit like me! We’ll see what happens when I go there!
Golf365: When you collected those three titles in 2006 was that the result of one simple thing or was it the culmination of lots of hard work?
Johan Edfors: It was definitely hard work. After I won the Challenge Tour in 2003 I thought I was ready to contend on the main tour. But I quite quickly realised I wasn’t good enough. Some aspects of my game just weren’t even close. Honestly, it wasn’t good. My strategy was really poor.
Golf365: Any examples?
Johan Edfors: Risk and reward: I took risk when the reward wasn’t worth it. In fact I just risked everything so no surprise I never got much reward. I lacked some shots too. My long irons weren’t good enough. My short game couldn’t cope with longer grass around the greens. So I decided to work even harder. I got together with a couple of new coaches, put in lots of hard work on and off the course. It paid off a little quicker than we thought it would.
Golf365: I remember when you won at the Belfry you said your success was a shock because you were still applying the new ideas to your swing.
Johan Edfors: Yeah, I was still a work in progress.
Golf365: Did you still think that when you made it three by claiming the title at Loch Lomond?
Johan Edfors: Maybe not so much. That was a great final round of 63, one of my best.
Golf365: So you’ll enjoy going back there?
Johan Edfors: It’s my favourite course, I think. Great place and when I won I had my whole family up there staying with me which we have done since too. It’s a really nice week by the loch.
Golf365: Last year seemed to be a frustrating one viewed from outside. I remember following your group at Celtic Manor and you hit green after green after green.
Johan Edfors: And didn’t hole anything? (Laughs) Yeah, that was the problem for a long while: my short game hasn’t been great. Last year I think I was second for Greens in Regulation, right up there for Distance, so basically I was great from tee to green. That’s still the case this year so if I have a good putting week I know I can contend.
Golf365: As you did in Thailand earlier this year?
Johan Edfors: Yeah that was a great experience. There is a big Swedish ex-pat community out there and it was not only good to finally win again but to do it in front of a sort of home crowd. I probably had a bigger crowd following me than when I won on the European Tour. I got an invite too so playing well when you get asked to play feels great, like you’re earning the invite.
Golf365: The Swedish community on Tour is pretty big, too. Are you all close?
Johan Edfors: I grew up playing a lot with Fredrik Jacobson so I know him pretty well but don’t see him so much now he is in America. I spend a lot of time with Pelle Edberg and we room together if we don’t have family travelling with us. But we all know each other; we just had lunch together actually, big table of Swedes and Ben Curtis!
Golf365: You’ve earned a spot in the Open so your good play on the links at the Irish Open must be encouraging.
Johan Edfors: Yeah, especially as the weather was so tough. I played really well that week. I was out late on Thursday and early Friday and it was so tough. I’m not kidding it was the toughest conditions I have played in – so cold and windy. It was a bit of a nasty joke because as soon as we got in it went dead calm. I think only 18 guys made the cut who played on Friday morning and 54 from the afternoon which shows you the difference. So to have had a chance to win the tournament was a good effort and to play with Shane (Lowry) in the last round was fantastic because the Irish crowd were really excited. I like being involved in a good atmosphere.
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