HHI Celebrity Golf: Q&A With Robert Irvine

Robert IrvineBy Lance Hanlin, lhanlin@golfersguide.com

Of the all the celebrities at this year’s Hilton Head Island Celebrity Golf Tournament, chef Robert Irvine may be the easiest to spot.

The muscle-bound Brit has become one of the most recognizable hosts on television, thanks to the success of his shows Dinner: Impossible, Restaurant: Impossible, Worst Cooks in America and The Next Iron Chef.

Irvine moved to Hilton Head Island in 2007 and owns two restaurants in the area. He took a few minutes from his busy schedule to talk with Golfer’s Guide about his favorite show, his celebrity wife and the upcoming golf tournament, which takes place Labor Day Weekend at Palmetto Dunes (Aug. 31), Colleton River Plantation (Sept. 1) and Sea Pines Resort (Sept. 2).

Golfer’s Guide: You are one of the celebrities in the upcoming Hilton Head Island Celebrity Golf Tournament. What made you want to be involved in the event?

Robert Irvine: Carol Kavanaugh and their team over there do such an amazing job with kids’ charities. This money helps 20 kids’ charities in the area and kids are our future. The businesses all of us (celebrities) are in have done really well for us. We’ve reached the point in our careers where it’s time to give back.

GG: I know you’ve got an extremely busy schedule. How much golf do you play?

RI: Twice a year, if I’m lucky.

GG: How would you describe yourself as a golfer?

RI: I consider myself a funny golfer. I enjoy the game, I enjoy the camaraderie as we play and I enjoy the end-benefits that we give other people. I laugh an awful lot around the course.

GG: What part of the game troubles you the most?

RI: I’m good at driving. Probably pitching onto the green I would say. My iron work needs a lot of work.

GG: How long have you been involved in the tournament?

RI: Three years. It’s a neat golf tournament for me simply because I don’t play a lot of golf and this gives me a chance to hang around with old friends, new friends and do some good stuff.

GG: I know you just married (TNA wrestling star) Gail Kim. Is she going to be at the event, too?

RI: Yes. She will be there.

GG: You met on the set of Dinner: Impossible?

RI: Yeah. It was three years ago when I was did a show for the WWE. We married on May 10 at (California’s) Charles Krug Winery. We had an amazing time with Chef (Masaharu) Morimoto and (best man) Guy Fieri. It was a great night.

GG: When you two are out together, who draws the most attention?

RI: Unfortunately, me. She’s better looking than me, hands down, but the wrestling world is very unique. My show airs in like 240 countries. We were just in Honduras for the Fourth of July and I got stopped if you can believe that. It’s an interesting life, that’s for sure.

GG: Do either of you have to put on a disguise when you go out around here?

RI: I used to but it’s not worth it anymore. I’m a local now so it doesn’t really matter.

GG: With your crazy schedule how much time do you actually spend here?

RI: A couple of days a month.  

GG: Obviously, you can live anywhere in the world. What made you choose Hilton Head Island?

RI: I visited many years ago and fell in love with the people, the place, how clean it was and the accessibility of getting from Point A to Point B. You can go to the Hilton Head airport, which I think I have the key to, or you can drive up to Savannah. When you go away and you come back, it’s like you cross the bridge or you come out of the airport and all of a sudden, you are in a different world. All the pressure is gone. It’s just like, ‘Ahhhh.’

GG: I can relate to what you’re saying. Where is your place here?

RI: Palmetto Hall.

GG: I got you. I wasn’t sure if it was some place like Berkeley Hall.

RI: Give me a break. I work for Food Network, man.

GG: Of all your shows, which is your favorite?

RI: Right now I would say Restaurant: Impossible because we’re actually helping people. We take a family that is broken down and not only fix their restaurant, we help fix their relationships. We just finished our 50th episode and there is a huge, “Where Are They Now?” episode coming out soon. Of the 50 (restaurants), two closed, one was sold and one was repossessed by the tax man. The other 46 are doing gangbusters. It’s really great.


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