Neal Lancaster has long been known as both the PGA TOUR and Web.com Tour’s resident comedian. The man known as “Cuz” who didn’t take a golf lesson until he was 30, won his only PGA TOUR title in 1994 at the so-called Half Nelson when rain shortened the Byron Nelson Classic to 36 holes and Lancaster won a six-man playoff. The self-described hillbilly from Smithfield, N.C., holds the distinction of being the only player to shoot a pair of sub-30, 9-hole scores in the U.S. Open Championship. At Shinnecock Hills in 1995, Lancaster became the first player in U.S. Open history to post 29 for nine hole, doing so on the back nine in the final round to move from 46th place into a T4. One year later at Oakland Hills, Lancaster made history again when, after playing his first 27 holes in 7-over, he posted a 29 on the back nine to easily make the cut. As he prepares to embark on his Champions Tour career, debuting at this week’s SAS Championship, Lancaster recently spent a few minutes with Champions Tour Media Official Phil Stambaugh.
What are your initial thoughts about joining the Champions Tour?
Lancaster: I’m really looking forward to it. I haven’t seen some of these guys in a while so I know it will be interesting.
How about making your debut at the SAS Championship in your home state? It was good for both Mark Wiebe and Tom Pernice, Jr. when they played at Prestonwood in their first event.
Lancaster: I can’t thank Jim Goodnight and Larry Conner for giving me a sponsor exemption to get started. My exempt status is limited. There’s quite a few people from my hometown who will be there to support me.
Why the nickname “Cuz”?
Lancaster: I got it during my first year on the PGA TOUR. It’s short for cousin. I didn’t know anyone but all of the caddies had nicknames so, being from the South, I just called all of them Cuz. They eventually gave me the nickname and its stuck with me ever since.
What are your favorite TV shows?
Lancaster: The Sopranos and there’s also a new show called The Newsroom on HBO that I really like.
Outside of golf, what sport do you enjoy watching on TV?
Lancaster: College football and my favorite team is North Carolina State
What type of music do you enjoy listening to?
Lancaster: I have an iPod but don’t really use it. I listen to a variety of different music, pretty much anything but rap music.
Who would you love to trade places for a day with?
Lancaster: Anyone who has a yacht going down the intracoastal waterway from Maine to Florida.
Who was your favorite team as a kid and did you have a favorite athlete?
Lancaster: Washington Redskins and my favorite athlete was N.C. State basketball great David Thompson
Any websites that you go to every day on your computer?
Lancaster: I guess PGA TOUR.com. I really only use my computer for that and getting my e-mail. That’s it.
What was the first job you ever had?
Lancaster: When I was 17, I had a construction job at Johnston Memorial Hospital in Johnston County, N.C. for about three days. It was too tough for me so I quit
What is your favorite meal?
Lancaster: I pretty much like everything but liver.
What’s your favorite restaurant when you are on the road?
Lancaster: Professional golf is a grind so I really don’t eat out much when I’m at tournaments. Lots of room service for me.
What’s the one talent you’d most like to have?
Lancaster: The one that I have and make it better.
Do you have some all-time favorite movies?
Lancaster: The Color of Money with Paul Newman and also The Shawshank Redemption
What would your wife say is your worst habit?
Lancaster: Doing what I want to do too much.
One course you’ve never played that you’d love to play?
Lancaster: Seminole Golf Club in Florida.
Your most memorable vacation?
Lancaster: About six years ago, I went to my buddy Mike Allen’s home in Costa Rica. He rents it out to the stars at $40,000 per week. It’s got eight full-time butlers. It’s really nice.
What kind of car do you currently drive?
Lancaster: Right now I’m driving my wife’s Jeep Liberty because she’s working on buying a car. Until recently, I drove a GMC Denali.
Who would you most like to sit down for a discussion with and why?
Lancaster: Tim Finchem, the Commissioner of the PGA TOUR. I’d like to roll some things off him.
What was the first concert you ever attended as a kid?
Lancaster: Sometime in the early ‘80s, I went to a Lionel Richie concert.
What was your most memorable golf shot?
Lancaster: Probably the shot into the final green at Shinnecock Hills in 1995 that gave me the first sub-30 score in U.S. Open history. My win at the Byron Nelson Classic was only a 36-hole event. I want to do something else outstanding in my golf career.
What is your favorite charity that you support?
Lancaster: Actually, the same week as the SAS Championship, I have an auction for the local community college in Johnston County that raises money to support disabled parents, not disabled kids, who can’t afford to send their children to college. It’s called the Neal Lancaster Four Oaks Bank Golf Tournament for Johnston Community College.
Any special ringtone on your cellphone?
Lancaster: I despise cell phones. I carry one, but it seems like whenever they ring, it’s not good news.
If you are not playing golf, what do you enjoy doing?
Lancaster: I have a 20-month-old child now so I like hanging out with her.
What are a few things on your bucket list…
Lancaster: 1) Jump out of an airplane, 2) Go down the intercoastal from Maine to Florida on no timetable, 3) Drive a race car.