When you’re Michael Jordan you get to play rounds of golf with Tiger Woods, Luke Donald, Ernie Ells and pretty much anyone else you want to. Because you’re Michael Jordan.
And he talks to them. About winning. And golf.
When I asked tiger Woods recently if there was one iconic athlete, entertainment star or business leader who he tapped for advice on life at the top, there was no hesitation: “M.J.”…
Els was doing a putting drill recently when he heard “I’ve got $100 you don’t make it.” Knowing the voice to be Jordan’s, Els said, “Make it $150,” then made the putt. That’s the mindset Jordan was hoping to see from the reigning British Open Champion.
“Just like a free throw,” Jordan said. “You need the right fundamentals, like to make sure you extend. But you should never be defensive, never assume you’re going to miss it, never think, ‘What if?’”
Jordan has an understanding of dealing with mental pressure at an elite level of athleticism like few others walking the planet. You hear athletes say all the time that the “game is 90 percent mental” and that’s true for them in a way that it’s not for you and me. I’m not ever going to be Jordan or Kobe Bryant or even Steve Novak because I was not blessed with the genetics, I do not have the baseline of athleticism needed to get into the NBA club (or college club, or a whole lot of clubs in my case). But if you cross that threshold of having the athleticism, then it does become mental as much or more so than physical (there are certainly still degrees of athleticism within the NBA).
It’s smart for players to lean on Jordan a little. Just don’t call him coach.
“This is all very flattering to Jordan, but he wants everybody to know he is not in the golf instruction business. “This is where I become uncomfortable, Jordan said…. “I’m not a golf coach, never will be, won’t try to be.”