The Proust Questionnaire, popular with magazines such as Vanity Fair as an interview format these days, is a fun personality questionnaire made popular by the responses the 19th century French writer Marcel Proust gave to a similar list of questions when he was in his teens. We tested Graeme McDowell’s patience with a few of the questions recently and discovered, among other things, that Proust is not his preferred bedtime reading material.
What’s your idea of perfect happiness?
A happy, healthy family.
What’s you greatest fear?
Probably the opposite of that - an unhealthy, unhappy family. Especially my parents and my loved ones. Your folks getting old, it’s not a nice feeling. It’s a fear. A fear of getting that call one day. And it’s an inevitable call.
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
That’s a really tough one. No idea.
What’s the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Probably procrastination, mixed in which indecisiveness and lack of punctuality. If you could encompass that in one word. Leaving things to tomorrow that I can do today. Procrastination.
What’s the trait you most deplore in others?
Rudeness. Especially in restaurants. Common courtesy doesn’t cost anything. I don’t like rudeness or impoliteness in people.
On what occasions do you lie?
To journalists. (Laughing). Bet that’s a common answer.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
I say the expression, ‘you know’ a lot. I’ve seen myself on TV and I’m going to work hard to stop doing that. But that’s not what were really talking about. “Yes”? “no”? Don’t know. Hard one.
What’s your greatest regret?
I try to live life having no regrets. Everyone has regrets but you try to live your life looking towards the future rather than looking back at the past. Any regrets I have are buried deep inside me and I try not to go there. I have very few and I try not to think about them. I try to live my life in the present and where I want to go as opposed to why I am here. I wouldn’t even want to cast my mind back. Anyway, I’m a big believer that things happen for a reason as well, whether it be bad or good. Sometimes, when the bad things happen, it is very hard to acknowledge the fact that they happen for a reason. But you may look back in years to come and say, you know what, that was a key moment. I look at bad stuff, bad rounds, bad shots, bad stuff that happened to me and feel like I’ve learned a lot from those times.
Who or what is the greatest love of your life?
The love of my life is obviously my fiancée and my wife to be Kristin. Followed closely by my mum and dad. Hopefully it is soon to be my kids to be. I am excited about that chapter in my life. It is definitely something I am looking forward to.
When and where were you happiest?
Flying back from Tiger’s event last December with Kristin and my dad and having Kenny and his dad there. That was a happy time, a happy moment. I am at my happiest when I am surrounded by people I love and everyone is healthy and well. It is not materialistic things that make me happy, like winning a million bucks. It is more just about everyone happy and healthy. Your life needs to have a holistic happiness around it. It’s hard to achieve. No-one has got that perfect. I’m as happy right now as I have been maybe ever in my life. I feel like I am scratching the surface of new happiness levels I have never been to. That’s cool.
Graeme McDowell and his fiancée Kristin Stape fly back to Florida following his win in Tiger Woods’ World Challenge last December. Picture via twitter.com/graeme_mcdowell
What’s your current state of mind?
It’s good. I am trying not to get too far ahead of myself. Trying to stay nice and patient. Trying to enjoy what I am doing. I am in a good space right now. I like to use the expression that I have got a lot of my ducks in a row right now. Things are good.
If you could change on thing about yourself, what would it be?
Six foot two, six pack, look like Brad Pitt. (laughing). That would probably bring its own problems.
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, whom or what would you be?
I don’t care what I do as long as I am driven and passionate about what I do and I am just a good person.
What’s your most treasured possession?
I am not really a possessions person. I was going to say my US Open. I’ve got two replicas but it’s not even that. It’s probably not a material thing. It’s probably just myself, my mind. Just my life.
What’s your favourite occupation?
I like what I do. It would be nice to be a rock star or a movie star or something like that, but I love what I do.
What’s your most marked characteristic?
I don’t know. When I look at golf and what people think of me they always say, just my mental strength, which I feel when I look at my mum. I feel like I get a lot of mental toughness from her. Tough. My toughness. When my mum got sick I realised where I got it from pretty quickly.
What characteristic or quality do you most admire in a man?
Anybody who is happy. I don’t care what brings you happiness, whether it be family or what you do. Whether it is just being who you are. I look at my little brother and I compare my life to his life and we are polar opposites. But he has his job and his three kids in Portrush with his wife and his little house and the guy just couldn’t be happier. You can’t buy that. You can’t buy happiness.
Who are your favourite writers?
Most of the stuff I have read of late has been fiction - James Patterson, Harlan Coben, John Grisham. I’m into non-fiction but I love well-written fictional stuff like that.
Who is your favourite fictional hero?
Someone like Batman. He has all the cars and the toys and still gets the chicks. Love Jason Bourne. Bond. All that stuff.
Who are your heroes in real life?
My golfing idols were Seve, Faldo, Tiger to a certain extent. People that I grew up idolising in the game. Outside the game of golf, Federer, guys like that. Cantona, Georgie Best, Keano. Tainted heres with a passion and a desire for the sport.
How would you like to die?
Slowly. No, wait. Not slowly. Hahaha. I mean deep into old age, hopefully surrounded by people I love and pain-free and quick. No suffering for me and more importantly, no suffering for my family.
What’s your motto?
Prepare well and have no regrets. It’s being able to look back and say, you know what, I gave that everything I had.