PM360 recently spoke to Mike Rivas, Global Head, Ethics and Compliance, Cell & Gene Therapies at Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, about life on the links.
PM360: So you are a golfer. How did you first get into the game?
I took up the game of golf a long time ago when I was about 23. Now that my children are older I have been able to get out and play more often. Last season I was able to get in more than 70 rounds!
What do you like most about playing golf?
I really love the personal challenge to continuously better myself. Also, I am very fond of being outdoors and meeting new people. I would be remiss as a compliance officer if I didn’t mention that the rules of golf come into play quite often—and it’s good to know them.
How has your golf game improved since you first started?
Over the years I have noticed that I don’t try to overpower the game as much as I once did. I play a lot more strategically and try to execute good swings every time—and stay away from trouble.
I imagine as a golfer there is nothing better than taking a great swing. What else do find rewarding about playing golf?
Just seeing improvement in my game as I progress through a season is so satisfying. I also enjoy watching my regular partners improve as well. Last season I observed two of my friends make a hole in one. Such a thrill!
What about you? Any hole in ones or just a particular shot or game you like to look back on fondly?
I don’t have a hole in one or even a recent eagle to boast about, but last summer I managed to play three rounds in a row without losing my ball. I can’t bring myself to play another round with that one. I keep it on my desk at home.
Of all the golf courses you’ve played on, which is your favorite?
My favorite course is Harbor Town Golf Links in South Carolina. I generally play there a couple times a year. During the winter—when I play virtual golf—I always play that course so I get to know it better.
Besides golf, what else do you enjoy doing when you have free time?
I really enjoy hiking with my wife and two dogs. We have two German Shorthaired Pointers. If you have ever owned one, you’d understand that too much walking is still not enough!
Is there anything you wished you could do but haven’t yet had a chance?
One of these days, I hope to be able to afford the time to walk the Appalachian Trail.