How I was raised to be a Tour Pro
Some of the world's best players reveal how they became just that
Turned pro: 2005
Kid's stuff: Learned the game from his father "as soon as I could walk"; two-time AJGA All-American
"When I was a kid, my dad ran a driving range, and I was always out there hitting balls. My swing was definitely my own, self-taught. I guess you wouldn't call it a classic swing. At one point, a teaching pro looked at my swing, and he told my dad, 'I'll give you some advice: Don't ever let anyone try to change the way he swings.' And he didn't."
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Turned pro: 2001
Kid's stuff: MVP of his high-school basketball team; he and his three older brothers all played Division I athletics
"I started at an early age, which was the whole key. [My parents] did everything I wanted them to, like drive me to tourneys, but they didn't force it on me. You can't push [kids] too hard, because that's going to make them react the opposite way. But they were more than supportive of taking me where I wanted to go. They sacrificed a lot of their time."
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Turned pro: 1998
Kid's stuff: Was a talented junior athlete in several sports, including cricket, Australian Rules football and running
"If I would've said, 'All right, I'm done,' my parents would've said, 'All right, what else do you want to do?' It was more of them helping me along the way. For me, they took the right approach. Some of my friends might have needed a kick up the ass to get them out there. But I was right into it. They had to drag me away at dark most of the time."
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Turned pro: 1990
Kid's stuff: Began playing right-handed before switching to his natural left side
"My dad was an athlete, and I played a lot of sports, but I never felt like I was pushed to play golf. Once I decided that golf was what I wanted to do, my mom was the one who urged me to practice, but not in an overbearing way. My dad wanted me to have fun, and when I wasn't, he would say, 'Hey, let's go do something else like shoot hoops or play baseball or whatever.'"
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How I raised Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson Sr. explains how his kid hit the big time
"We didn't set out to raise the world's greatest golfer, though judging from Phil's birth announcement, which showed him as the fourth in a foursome of golfers, you might have thought that was our aim. Golf was never designed or intended to be the only thing in his life. He played many other sports and was engaged in many activities. The simple truth was that I got a tremendous amount of enjoyment from golf and I hoped that he would too. I saw it as a way our family could spend extended time together. Of course, he wound up loving it. I don't remember ever having to say to him, 'Phil, don't you think you should head out and practice?' He just did."
Phil Mickelson won a record 12 times on the AJGA Tour. He attended Arizona State University, where he won three NCAA individual titles.
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