I think I have a capacity to accept difficulties and overcome them that is superior to many of my rivals. Maybe that is why I like golf so much, because it's a game that also plays to the discipline I've acquired in tennis to stay calm under pressure.
You need a base of talent, obviously, and lots of practice, but what's decisive in golf is not letting one bad shot affect the rest of your game.
I find it impossible to play any game without giving 100 per cent. As a little boy I'd hate losing at anything. Cards, a little football game in the garage, whatever. I'd throw fits of rage if I lost; I still do. Just a couple of years ago I lost at cards with my family and I went so far as to accuse the others of cheating, which I now see was going a little too far.
I don't know where all that comes from. Maybe from watching my uncles compete in the bar at billiards with their friends. Yet it used to amaze even them that, sweet as I supposedly was, I became transformed into a little demon whenever there was a game on.
This means that when I go out on the golf course with my friends everyday human feelings are put on hold. I have a phrase I use before a game to set the boundary between our enmity on the course and our affection off it. I look hard at my golfing pals and say: "Hostile match, right?" I know they laugh at me behind my back about this, but I am not going to change.
I am decidedly unfriendly during a golf game, from the first hole to the last. It's true that you don't need the same intensity of concentration as in tennis, where, if your mind wanders for three or four minutes, you can lose three or four games.
In golf you have more than three or four minutes between shots. Which means there's plenty of time to joke and chat about other things during a round.
But that's not the way I play the game. I take my cue from Tiger Woods. From start to finish, I barely say a word to my rivals; I certainly don't compliment them on a good shot. They complain, they get angry with me, curse me for my rudeness.
They say I'm more aggressive even than I am on the tennis court. The difference between me and my friends, some of whom are much better golfers than I am (I have a handicap of 11), is that I just don't see the point of playing a sport unless you're giving it your all.