'He took things personally' |...

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'He took things personally' | Frank Nobilo on Tiger Woods' winning mentality

Shane Hannon
Shane Hannon

03:13 10 Apr 2020


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Golf fans, and sport fans generally, are fascinated by what has made Tiger Woods tick - and on Golf Weekly this week we got a great insight into the current Masters champion.

On this week's episode former pro turned announcer Frank Nobilo joined Joe Molloy, Fionn Davenport, and Peter Lawrie on the line.

Nobilo himself enjoyed a fruitful career, picking up fifteen professional wins that included a PGA Tour win in 1997, and five victories on the European Tour.

The New Zealander also managed to finish in the top-10 at all four Majors over the course of his career.

One particular anecdote from the 59-year-old really highlighted the psyche behind Tiger Woods' rise to the very top of the sport.

Ernie Els is one player who likely missed out on a number of big tournament wins over the years due to Woods' dominance, and Nobilo recalls how the South African actually inspired Woods to constantly evolve and improve his game.

"I remember seeing Ernie, and he was nearly in tears. He'd been beaten in Hawaii. I think Ernie matched Woods for talent early on, I really do.

"Plus he was bigger. It's a bit like a boxer, say Mike Tyson, he's the guy you have to beat.

"I remember being in Thailand, and Ernie was there and Tiger Woods was there. There were two exercise bikes in the gym in the hotel, they're both on the exercise bikes, and there's a TV screen up there.

"Ernie's hitting a five-iron into a par-five, and these days I got on pretty well with Tiger Woods. We're both cycling away... he's fitter and younger than I was then!

"But Ernie hits a magnificent five-iron into the middle of the green, and [Tiger] goes 'Shit, he makes it look easy'. And he put his head down and started peddling.

"So I really think early on Ernie had the respect, and that's the [tournament] where he shot like 66 to Ernie's 73 on that Sunday and beat him in a play-off. He did a number on him.

"The biggest difference with Tiger Woods is he took things personally. Therefore, it wasn't about beating you once, it's about beating you five times in a row.

"He did things that nobody else did. And you're right about the locker room, it was demoralising because you would shoot 65 and you would go into the media centre and there might be one question... the very next question was 'Tiger shot 68, are you looking in your rear-view mirror?'

"It really was like men playing with boys."


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Fionn Davenport Frank Nobilo Golf Golf Weekly Joe Molloy Off The Ball Peter Lawrie Tiger Woods

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