How do you define excellence?
“Excellence is never being totally happy with where you are, and having the ability to always improve on oneself whatever it may be, and working diligently on doing that. Excellence comes from retaining a certain level of unhappiness where you tweak a little more and then a little more, and always work to improve. That’s how I think people get to the next level.”
Where does the inner drive to become excellent come from?
“For me as a golfer it is a quest for perfection and trying to perfect a game that is pretty much un-perfectable. There are so many moving parts in the body and you need to have that discipline to focus on the small little things. When you get the small thins right the big picture comes together. It is the discipline of working hard day in and day out.
“I look at it like this. Everybody in life is given a square block of wood. Those who are very talented have a big block. Those with not a lot of talent have a smaller block. But everybody has to make a perfect sphere. As you go through life you start to smooth it out. You start off with an axe or a saw but then you get down to a chisel and then down to another honing tool as you go. Very near the end you are working with the finest steel wool to get it to a perfect sphere. That’s what I try to tell the kids. You’re not going to make a perfect ‘sphere’ out of your golf swing overnight. It takes years and years to perfect it. When I look at guys I have played with they have built that foundation or sphere and they just keep working on it to get perfection.”
How do people get the desire to attain excellence?
“I think excellence and success go hand in hand. They are synonymous. I once asked Bob Rotella to define what makes a successful person. He said a somewhat successful person is someone who gets up in the morning with three things to do and if they accomplish those three things then they think they had a successful day. Those who become more successful finish the first three things and then do three more things. And the truly successful are the ones that continue to look for more things and keep going. I think that’s what will make you be excellent in life and the same thing is true on the golf course. If you go out and hit balls and then start to lose focus, but you switch it up and then go to putting green and then the chipping green. Then you continue to get better. Everyone thinks they are trying to get better, but you have to believe in your heart how to get better. I also tell the kids, the path is one step at a time. You’re not going from the outhouse to penthouse in one step. You have to build it until you get to the top.”