Q. What’s your favourite golf course?
MJ: Difficult question as I have many courses I like. However, here are some I love to play: the Open Championship courses of Carnoustie, Royal Birkdale and Turnberry; Shinnecock Hills in America and El Saler in Spain.

Q. Which player do you most admire?
MJ: Tiger Woods – his record in golf is superb.

Q. What’s the best shot you’ve ever hit?
MJ: Three-iron at the par-5 17th hole at Valderrama during the 1994 Volvo Masters. It went straight into the hole for an albatross! That was a very special moment.

Q. Do you get nervous?
MJ: Not nervous, but of course sometimes a little tense. However that can make me concentrate more and because of that I often play better under pressure.

Q. If you could only take rioja wine or cigars to a desert island, which would it be?
MJ: If I can’t take both I won’t go!

Q. Will Spain win the soccer World Cup this year?
MJ: What a question! Of course!

Q. What is your most treasured possession?
MJ: I love many of my possessions but perhaps most of all would be my Ferrari. It’s a truly wonderful car to drive and it’s one of the first things I do when I get home from a tournament.

Q. What’s your favourite song?
MJ: It’s a Spanish song Cantares, written by Antonio Machado and sung by Serrat.

Q. Who or what makes you laugh?
MJ: Oh, so many things make me laugh. I laugh often. The world can be a serious place but it’s also a beautiful place and we must enjoy it and laughter is a part of that enjoyment.

Q. When was the last time you went to the gym?
MJ: I try to go at least every two weeks at home. It’s actually easier to go regularly when I’m out on tour as there’s usually a gym somewhere nearby and there’s often a long time between rounds at a tournament.

Q. Where can you walk down the street unrecognised?
MJ: Difficult to say as I usually only visit countries where golf is played and I think many golf professionals are well known in those countries. Perhaps in the Far East, say Hong Kong, I’m recognised less than in European countries.

Q. What’s your favourite movie?
MJ: A Spanish film called Mar Adentro [The Sea Inside]. It’s a very moving film and stars Javier Bardem.

Q. How do you relax after a round?
MJ: With a favourite cigar, a nice glass of wine and with good friends. What could be better?

Q. Ballantine’s likes to “Leave an impression” – do you hope to do this in Korea?
MJ: Well, I always like to leave a good impression, win or lose. Of course, it would be wonderful to play well in the Ballantine’s Championship but I’m sure I’ll enjoy the week very much anyway.

Q. What would you like written on your gravestone?
MJ: I shall see you there!

Where next?

Thongchai Jaidee: Ballantine’s Championship defence
Graeme McDowell: Ballantine’s Championship 2008 winner
Competitions: Win golf prizes
Equipment: Latest equipment reviews