Country music star Darius Rucker is not giving up his day job by any means. But the “For the First Time” singer is expanding his resume just a little bit with the announcement that the Grammy winner, who is an avid golfer and passionate fan of the game, will host a new monthly show called On Par with Darius Rucker on SiriusXM’s 24/7 golf channel, SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. The show will debut July 26 (3-4 pm ET) and will feature Rucker’s perspective on the game as a devoted player (he is a single-digit handicap) and fan. In an interview with Billboard, Rucker says he’s looking forward to talking with golfers about the game – and a lot more.
“I think it will be more of a conversation than an interview. When they brought this to me, I thought it was a great idea. We decided to do it. Sure, we’ll talk about the game – that’s the point. But, I want to talk about what music they listen to, and talk about their life. What’s a perfect date night with your wife? Every interview they do is usually about the game or the last tournament. I want to discover a little more about them as people. You see them on the driving range with headphones on, hitting balls. I want to know what they’re listening to. When it was brought to me, I thought it was a great idea, so we’re going to try to have some fun with it and see what happens. Of course, you’re going to talk about the game, clubs, the swing, and their philosophy. But I also want to bring some of the human part of the game to the forefront of what they are doing – what motivates them and gets them excited about life – and also the things they like that are outside of the game, I want to talk about that too.”
What is it about the game that motivates the singer to spend time on the course? “First of all, I love being out in nature,” he confirms. “That’s probably my favorite part. I’m always looking at the wildlife that is out at all the places I play. The thing that really gets me about the game is I’ve never played two rounds that were anywhere close to being the same – ever. Even with the same golf course and set up, nothing is ever the same. I love that about golf.” Does Rucker perennially break par – the mark of a great player? “Goodness, no,” the Grand Ole Opry star says with a laugh. “I’ve shot par a few times, and shot under par a few times, but if I break even, I’m really happy.”
Rucker also took time to list his five favorite golfers of all time – and favorite courses.
Darius Rucker’s 5 Favorite Golfers
1. Arnold Palmer: Arnold Palmer is my favorite. Just getting to know him, and all of the film on him and his game. He was the first real superstar in golf. You had Bobby Jones and all of those guys, but Arnold Palmer was bigger than life.
2. Tiger Woods: I’ve known him for so long, and watched him grow up. We’ve been friends since he was eighteen. Watching him play the way he does is amazing.
3. Davis Love: His swing is so smooth. One of my favorite stories about him is that we were playing a round at Pebble Beach once at the same time that Duke and North Carolina were starting a basketball game – about five minutes before we finished. He talked the whole round about how he couldn’t wait to get back to his room and watch the game. We were hitting balls. I was hitting it well, but I wasn’t putting it worth a crap. At the end of the round, he wanted to go watch that game, but he said ‘Come with me,’ and he took me to the putting range, and gave me putting lessons for thirty minutes. I asked him if he wanted to watch the game, and he said ‘Yeah, but you’re hitting the ball too well to putt the way you putt.’ I just thought that was amazing. That’s the kind of guy he is. He wanted to do something else, but he felt like helping me was more important.
4. Jim Furyk: I love the unorthodox style of his swing. He’s an amazing guy.
5. Lee Elder: I’ve studied his career in every way I can. I’ve become friends with him. He did things and broke barriers. I believe that one of the reasons I get to play golf all over the world is because of the barriers that Lee Elder broke down. I just think he’s amazing.
Darius Rucker’s 5 Favorite Golf Courses
1. Augusta National (Augusta, GA): I’ve been blessed to play that course several times. There’s nothing close to it.
2. Pebble Beach (Pebble Beach, CA): The views and everything about it is absolutely amazing. I can’t get enough. Every time I play there, I’m just in awe of how great it is.
3. Bulls Bay (Charleston, SC): I think it’s the most underrated course in South Carolina. I play it so much. It’s a great course.
4. The Country Club of Charleston (Charleston, SC): They are going to be hosting the 2019 U.S. Women’s Open. We’re very excited about that. The course was built in 1925, and I think it’s amazing and wonderful.
5. The Ocean Course (Kiawah Island, SC): It’s so hard. I’ve been out there when the wind wasn’t blowing, and it’s still difficult. It’s so beautiful. I love that course.