The steady Aussie and former Masters champion, 35, sounds off on the joys of fatherhood, his dream musical act and how setting small goals can pay big dividends.
What’s something you are terrible at?
Singing. Couldn’t hit a note. That is the truth.
What is the strangest thing you’ve ever seen on the golf course?
Probably players injuring themselves. I saw one walk straight into a tree limb and split his lip wide open. It was funny because he didn’t hurt himself too bad.
What moment did you realize you were good enough to compete on the PGA Tour?
When I was an amateur and was invited to play in a professional event. I actually made the cut and played pretty well. I was young and pretty green at the time. After that experience, I figured I might have a chance?
What current player most reminds you of yourself?
A couple of the young guys. A Justin Thomas kind of guy. They are so young and really talented, I see them as [I hope] people saw me when I was out there. I’m sure I would have lots of advice, but they’re there already, so I suppose I should stay out of the way.
If you were writing the story of your life, what is the title of the book?
That’s tough. That’s something you would have to give some thought to. Maybe “Adam?” That’s very simple.
If you could have concert tickets to any artist in history, who would it be?
Eric Clapton is my favorite musician, and I’ve never seen him perform live. I have to at some point.
You had a secret wedding, then announced the birth of your daughter, Bo Vera, on your own terms. How important is it for you to keep your private life private?
I don’t necessarily withhold things, but I try to make decisions that make things easier for me and my family. The wedding was a secret, not for everyone else, but for our family who were going and didn’t know they were attending. My wife [Marie] and I thought that would be fun, but it was a bigger headache than it was probably worth in the end. The white lies built as time got closer, and I couldn’t keep track of them.
Has fatherhood changed you?
It’s been an incredible six months. The time I have been able to spend with her has been great. She has been happy and healthy and is a lovely little girl. I’m sure it has changed the way I see things, even if I can’t pick one right now. But I think both my wife and I feel there is a huge purpose to what we are doing, and that is a great feeling.
Even though he is a competitor, how much pride do you take in watching a fellow Aussie in Jason Day win the PGA, and how much camaraderie is there between the Australians on the PGA Tour?
The Aussies are always close. We always feel very happy for anyone with success. I’m particularly proud of the way Jason played. The record-setting performance [at Whistling Straits] made it even better. To think at the start of the week that you had to shoot 21-under to win [seemed] downright impossible. It shows everyone, and Jason himself, to never limit yourself. I’m thrilled for him. I know he’s worked really hard. We’ve been down the stretch in majors a couple of times in the past, and those didn’t work out. Now he’s won one, he’s in his mid-20s and he has such a great opportunity to have an incredible career.
You have been the model for consistency throughout your career. What type of goals do you set at the beginning of each season?
You have to set little goals and not worry about the big picture so much. There’s obviously a big–picture goal, but that’s not the focus because that sometimes can look too far away or be too difficult. Piece together the little goals to get to this end point, which could be winning a major, or just winning a tournament, or just chipping the ball better. So even if the goal is to chip better, well, I’ll just practice this a little bit more and work on my technique a little bit more, and then you’ll be chipping better. It’s less daunting, especially with the game of golf where there are so many different facets to work on. Rather than saying, “I’m going to win a major this year,” you just have to figure out how that is going to be possible. The culmination of doing the right thing over and over again builds in, and you have a storage bank of good repetition and that turns into execution at the most crucial time.
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