just born with it?

Posted on Wednesday.6.10.2009



Tiger Woods has been the best golfer in the world for the last 10-plus years. No one can deny his greatness and all the results that he’s been able to obtain. He’s often heralded as being the most talented golfer around and that’s the reason for his success. He was on the Johnny Carson show when he was like 4 years old and had a swing as a child that amateurs today are jealous of. Until recently though, when NBC finally showed Tiger’s practice schedule, did his work ethic show up as a factor.

His practice schedule is as follows:

            6:00      Weight workout (90 minutes)

            7:30      Breakfast

            8:00      Practice tee  (2 hours)

            10:00    Putting green

            10:30    Play 9 holes

            12:00    Lunch

            1:00     Practice tee (2 hours)

            3:00     Short game work

            4:00     Play 9 holes

            5:00     Putting green

            5:30     Home

If you count it up, he spends about eight and a half hours a day working on his craft. The other thing that stands out to me is the fact that he starts his day at 6:00 in the gym working out, which means he has to be waking up at about 5 to 5:30 in the morning.

It’s really easy for me to look at someone like Tiger Woods, successful, rich, a winner, a golfer with great form, and idealize his life and/or success to come at no cost. I can sit on my ass and say well of course he can practice like that, it’s just golf, he gets to wake up every day and do something he loves. The more I look at his schedule, the more I realize that talent won’t get you everything you think you deserve.

I learned three things from Tiger’s “work” schedule.

  1. Start your day early. You would think someone so rich and successful, would wake up at 9 or 10 in the morning and saunter into their day. He’s actually much the opposite though. I don’t know many people who wake up at 5 am to continue to make themselves better. I don’t, but he does. He could stop palying golf RIGHT now and still be considered one of the best. All the titles, all the money, all the endorsements and all the succses hasn’t stopped him from working hard and getting up early. There’s not one thing I’ve been committed to enough to wake up that early on my own initiative.
  2. Intentionality and Focus: his day is focused. He knows exactly what he needs in his day and spends the appropriate amount of time on it. Though golf may not be the most physically draining activity in the world, it is mentally challenging, for Tiger to be able to spend 8.5 hours practicing with no real rests besides meals, is an impressive feat.
  3. Time. I’ve talked about this all the time, because it’s one of the most difficult things for me to remember. Growth and development take time. Clearly, Tiger is a talented golfer. Even though he has all that talent though, it’s taken him hours each day (year after year) to become one of the best. Most of us would rather look at the talent and not look at the amount of time it took to cultivate it.
Posted in: success, work