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Ten Questions with Craig Stadler

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Arriving a few days ahead of the start of the VIII Punta Mita Gourmet & Golf Classic, Pro golfer — and major personality — Craig Stadler took a few minutes away from warming up for a round of golf with Club Punta Mita members Wayne, Leslie, and Margaret to chat with LivePuntaMita.com. This year marks Stadler’s third appearance as the Special Guest Golfer in the Punta Mita Gourmet & Golf Classic, and our community is thrilled to have him back with us once again.

Aside from his 31 professional wins, his reputation for being a colorful – if not temperamental – player, and his nickname “The Walrus” – here’s what more we wanted to know about – and asked – Craig Stadler:

1. Describe yourself in 140 characters or less – Twitter-bio style: “Well, I don’t do Twitter or Facebook, so I don’t know what you put on there but here goes: 65-years-old-but-feel-like-35. Much lighter in size than last year. Happily married. Father of 2 great sons. Love Punta Mita. Totally enjoying life!”

2. Finish this sentence:  Punta Mita is, to me… After first joking that it’s “like Hawaii without the kids”, Stadler continues: “It’s wonderful here. During the four different months that I’ve spent time here – and always over the winter — it has just perfect weather. And this year the golf course is in the best condition that I’ve ever seen it in. What’s not to love?”

3. What is your favorite way to play in Punta Mita (— when you’re not in active competition?) “I’m never good at just laying around – I always have to have something to do…or, I want to have something to do. But here in Punta Mita I do find that it’s a great place for me to relax. I never feel the need to leave (the gated community) and enjoy being here. For me, Punta Mita is rejuvenating.”

4. Your favorite golf hole in Punta Mita, and why? “While it “should” be 3B, I’ll go with the 17th hole on Bahia – I the love the look of this hole. It’s a cool little hole, a short hole, but a great one to play.”

5. Where is your favorite Punta de Mita place to dine & drink? “The back patio of wherever I’m staying here is always my favorite – to put something on the grill and just enjoy being with friends. But if I am going out, a few of my favorites are Kupuri, Bahia, and Sufi. This week I had a great meal at Sufito. It was a treat and a surprise, because Sufi was booked up, so they asked if we wanted to go to Sufito. We were the only ones there in such a special setting, and the food was outstanding.” (specifically mentioning the bruschetta and shrimp)

6. Tell us about the first time you were face to face with an actual walrus? “We didn’t talk much. He was really smelly. It was in Sea World, in San Diego in the mid-eighties, and it was the one and only time. We gave each other a kiss. It’s the photo that Jan (Craig’s wife) still has as her screensaver.”

7. Wine, tequila, beer, or mezcal? “No mezcal, no tequila, not much beer anymore. But ‘yes’ to wine. Red wine. And I drink it religiously. I also enjoy a nice Sav Blanc on a hot day.”

(Wines he specifically mentioned included selections from the Napa Valley vineyards Frank Family and Flora Springs, as well as the Argentine Siete Hectareas Malbec.)

8. What is the one piece of advice you would give to someone who is a recreational golfer?  First response: “Try tennis.”Second Response: “They need to go with one swing. When recreational players get set up with an instructor, they receive instructions with so many steps… Then, when you go to execute it, by the time you get to step number 2, you’ve already hit the ball. What is most important is to set it up, and then swing it back low and slow.”

9. What is one thing most people would be surprised to learn about you (a habit, a passion, a fear… anything?) “That I’m a fairly kind soul. If you only know me from watching me play golf you might think that I’m a regularly pissed-off guy – and you wouldn’t be wrong in that context, but in the bigger picture, I’m really not that guy. I am involved in a number of charities, and it’s this work that I’m involved with that I find really rewarding, and that I really enjoy.” 

Stadler goes on to talk about the “Wine to Water” Pro-Am that he’s involved with that raises money to drill wells for providing fresh water in underserved regions – mostly Africa, Nepal, and Columbia. The benefit event takes place in Napa each year at the Silverado Country Club. He is also involved in events to support the Princess Margaret Hospital in Canada, the Peoria Children’s Home Association in Illinois, and the Press On fund in Augusta, Georgia, which works to eradicate childhood cancers. More details about his charitable work is found at: http://craigstadler.com/giving-back/

10. Anything else you’d like to say to your Punta Mita fans and friends? “It’s awesome to be back at Punta Mita Gourmet & Golf. This year we have 200 players! It’s a great way to support Lorena’s charity (Fundacion Lorena Ochoa). I’m happy I got invited again!”

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