Thursday, May 8, 2014
Follow The Bear, Not The Tiger
During this time of year when men honor the mothers in their lives, the best way to do that is to be the best father you can be. Perhaps there is no greater contrast in how to do this than the choices made by Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.
Before the ascendancy of Tiger Woods, the Golden Bear, Jack Nicklaus, was overwhelmingly considered the greatest golfer of all time and he still holds this acclaim. During his PGA playing days, he won 95 golf tournaments including 18 of the highly prestigious Major golf tournaments. Until Tiger Woods came along, no won was even close to reaching this level of accomplishment.
So far in his professional golf career, Tiger Woods has won more golf tournaments (138) and up to 14 Majors by 2008. Since then he has gone five full years of golf tournaments without another Major win. He won six Majors in the previous five years. Since 2008 Woods has had to deal with different injuries but his performance has not been helped by the notoriety caused by surprising news of his serial adultery that became public knowledge in late 2009. Woods did not care how his bad behavior would affect his wife or his daughters. He was more concerned with his own needs both on and off the golf course. He has not been successful at breaking Nicklaus's record of Major wins, but he has been able to achieve a broken marriage and divorced fatherhood.
Jack Nicklaus could not be more different in his approach to golf and family life. Jack and his wife Barbara decided to make raising a family away from attention of fame their priority. Golf came second. When Jack was home, it was family time, not golf practice time. Nicklaus has now been married for more than 50 years and none of his five children have ended up like many children of the rich and famous with drug and alcohol problems, or other harmful lifestyle choices.
Nicklaus and his wife made a conscious decision that he would never be away from home more than 14 days in a row. When he was home the attention was on the kids, not Jack. Nicklaus liked this break from his golfing. He said it left him refreshed and better prepared to do well at his game.
If there is a lesson to be learned from the lives of these two accomplished men, it is that being focused on your career and your personal needs to the detriment of your wife and children has painful, negative consequences. Far better to give your family the attention they deserve and let your career benefit from the results.
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