We were honored to have professional golfer and author Nick O’Hern on the show recently. He talked about beating Tiger, his new books & his transition from the course to the business world.

 

RYAN KNUPPEL

Hey, what’s going on everybody? Ryan Knuppel here, Knup Sports Show. Hey, it’s a very special episode. We like to celebrate every 25. I don’t know why that is, but every 25 episodes we always throw a little party, we have some fun, we have special guests on, and we are excited. This is Episode #175, and we have a treat for you today. We have professional golfer Nick O’Hern on this show. I am super pumped, super jacked for this. Excited he’s giving us a little time to tell us all about his career and what he has going on. So, first off, thank you for listening, thank you for tuning in to this show each and every time, we really appreciate your support as we grow the Knup Sports Show. Alright, without further ado, I’m gonna go ahead and bring on our guest, as I mentioned, professional golfer all the way from Australia, Nick O’Hearn is with me. Nick, how are you today buddy?

NICK O’HERN

I’m great, thanks, Ryan. It’s uh, looking forward to the chat.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Yeah, I’m excited to have you on. Really appreciate your time. I know you’re a busy man, and I know it’s probably late there in Australia, right?

NICK O’HERN

Yeah, it’s just gone 11 p.m., so, uh, it’s not too bad. I usually go to bed around this time, so I can hang around for another half hour or so.

RYAN KNUPPEL

There you go, a little pre-bed podcast for yourself. I love it. Well, I appreciate your time and I’m excited to dive into everything you’ve got going on. I know, you know, listeners and followers of this show probably have heard your name before. I know I had when I was introduced to you. But first, tell us a little bit about yourself as a professional golfer, and I guess just over the career, about yourself that led up to where you are today.

NICK O’HERN

Yeah, sure. Yeah, you know, I grew up in Western Australia, over in Perth there, and um, wasn’t much, funnily enough, wasn’t much good as an amateur golfer. I ended up doing a traineeship, where I learned to teach, and I started my professional golf career as a teaching pro, interestingly enough, in my early 20s, and then, I guess, in my mid 20s I sort of figured the game out and connected with the right people as far as a coach goes and a sports psychologist, and got really, started improving through my mid to late 20s, and then kind of worked my way up through the rankings. I ended up playing, probably, well started here in Australia, then went across to the European tour, and then eventually got my world ranking down into the top 50 in the world, and headed across to the U.S., and played on the PGA Tour for a number of years as well. So probably about a 20 year playing career all-up, and about 5 years or so ago, um, I stopped playing full-time, and uh, my family and I moved back to Australia about 3 years ago, after living in your neck of the woods. We lived in Orlando, FL for about 13 years, and uh, just decided to move back to Australia and, uh, sort of, you know, finish off life down here, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it back down here. I’ve almost come full circle in a way because I’m back to helping golfers of all levels, doing a bit of coaching, some corporate golf outings, writing some books, doing a bit of TV commentary, and involved in a couple of exciting new companies. So, um, plenty going on, that’s for sure.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Yeah, that’s for sure. I want to stay on your career for a little bit here before we dive in to the future. Um, you know, you’ve had, you had some success, you know, you were a very successful golfer, probably still are. Uh, tell us about the, one of the biggest feats, I mean I keep reading all around, the only man to beat Tiger Woods twice in the World Match Play Championship. I mean, nobody else can claim that, is that correct? That is amazing. Tell us a little bit about what it was like to play Tiger in Match Play.

NICK O’HERN

Yeah, that’s a pretty cool thing to be known for, I guess. It’s funny, when I was playing a lot1 in the U.S., people would sort of say, “Hey, that’s the guy that beat Tiger”, they actually probably didn’t know my name, but they knew that I beat him. As I like to sort of joke around and tell people, I always say, “Well, you know, I figured out Tiger’s weakness.”. And they say, “Oh, weakness? What’s that?”. And I say, “Well, he doesn’t like short-hitting left-handed Australians”. [Laughs]. So, yeah, you know, I wasn’t the longest hitter on Tour, that’s for sure, probably one of the shortest, but I had a very good short game, and from a mental standpoint, I was pretty solid as well, so Match Play was one of my favorite formats of the game, I just wish there was a lot more around. I mean, growing up in Australia, we play a lot of Match Play down here and in club golf,s o I always enjoyed the aspect of you only have to beat one other person, and I came up against Tiger twice. The first time in 2005 and the 2nd time in 2007, and I guess probably the main strategy I had when I played against him was, um, heading into that first match, funnily enough, my caddy and I, we sat down the night before, and we thought, “Okay, how are we gonna beat this guy? I mean, he’s number one in the world, he’s obviously winning everything, going until that point”. Let’s see, 2005, he was on an absolute record run at that particular stage, and we came up with a strategy of, Tiger’s only, at that particular point, won a major when he’s been tied for the league or leading going into the final round, and he never won a major coming from behind, so I sort of used that strategy of, “Okay, if I can get ahead of this guy, I’ve got a chance, but if I’m behind, I kind of have no chance.”. Because he’s basically the ultimate frontrunner, and as it turned out in that first match, uh, when I played him on the first hole, I had about a 10 foot putt for par to have the hole, and I was lining the par up, and my caddy kind of comes over, and I’m saying, “Oh, what do you think the read is?”, and he said, “Well, I don’t know about the read, but I think this putt right here is for the match”. [Laughs]. So, uh, you know, he was, that was an interesting comment of Mike, but he, um, but he knew that would block my mind in, and sure enough I rolled that in, birdied the next couple, and I got up, 2 up after 3 and so the rest is history, I guess. I never relinquished the lead, and then same thing happened in the second match. I had a nice lead in the beginning, and after the two matches I never trailed to him, so I guess my theory holds true in the fact that I can say that if you get a lead on him, you’ve got a chance. And two, that was a pretty cool record to have, that’s for sure.

RYAN KNUPPEL

It really is, that’s awesome. I’m sure those memories are in your mind, engrained forever, and just, you know, with him being at the pinnacle during that time, I mean, I’m guessing looking back at it now, what a, just a very cool moment. I mean, I know you played against all sorts of great golfers, but Tiger was like, to most of us, was larger than life, still is larger than life, but back then when he was really succeeding so much. So I’m sure that experience was just amazing.

NICK O’HERN

Oh, it certainly was. I mean, he’s, through my ear, obviously the greatest golfer that I’ve ever come across. I mean, Jack Nicklaus was my idol growing up, and then we had Greg Norman, obviously was an Australian icon for a lot of young players coming through, but um, who knows who they’re gonna count as the greatest of all time. I guess you could say that Jack’s major record is up there, but Tiger, you know, all the events he won and [inaudible] number one player in the world, it’s uh, it was pretty cool to play in that era, I guess you could say, and it’s great to see him, you know, still back playing the odd event. He played the Open Championship, obviously. You know, fitness is now a bit of an issue for him, but um. You know, I’ve been fortunate in my career to play with a lot of, um, you know, former World number ones, like Nick Faldo for a bit, Greg Norman, Vijay Singh, Ernie, Tiger, you know, but um, it’s pretty cool to play with those guys and experience how they go about their craft.

RYAN KNUPPEL

That’s awesome. Well, let’s shift gears a little bit. I know you mentioned, kind of, stepping away from playing the game at a professional level maybe about 5 years ago, when you started shifting into more of the business side of things. Before we dive into all the ventures you have going on, how was that transition, you know, because I know that playing professional anything, when you step away, you’re gonna miss it, right? You’re gonna miss that piece of it. How was that transition for you going from player to business person. Um, how was that transition?

NICK O’HERN

It was a little tough to be honest, yeah. I mean, when I first stepped away, I guess the reason I stopped playing was I found myself in hotel rooms, just thinking, “I don’t really want to be here”, you know? I had a, I’ve got two girls in my life who were based in Orlando, so I just, the grind at that particular point, I guess I was in my mid-40s, and um, all those years of traveling and being away from birthdays and parties and things that go on at home, um, it can sort of get to you, and um, the first year or two was interesting, I sort of, um, did, I guess you could say sort of consulting work in different fields and things like that, just to get away from the game completely. And then, um, and then I just realized, you know, that I love golf, I want to get back into it, and that’s when I actually wrote my first book called “Tour Mentality: Inside the Mind of a Tour Pro”, which kind of came about by accident, so I kind of became an author, more than anything which was a bit weird at the time. I never thought of myself as a writer, but it just kind of came about, and then from that, I had some young pros and college players reach out, just to sort of pick my brain, and I became a bit of a mentor in a sense. So I got back into the coaching and the mentoring side of things, and uh, and that’s sort of the path that I’ve really been, really been going down ever since. And then, just as I was, just before we left to come back to Australia, I, uh, I got involved with a company, which is called D3Golf, which has to do with golf and wagering on the golf course, and I mean, when I was first approached about this, I thought, “Oh, okay. This kind of combines my two loves, you know”. It’s a game of golf and you get to wager on the course, because that’s what I did growing up. Basically every time you went out on the gold course, you had a bit of a wager or bet on the game, and I thought, “Oh, wow, there’s a cool app out like this. I’d love to get involved”. And, uh, sort of been working on that ever since, along with a couple of other things.

RYAN KNUPPEL

That’s amazing. Yeah, we had Tom Naramore of D3Golf.com. He was on Episode 173, so for those of you listening that do want to learn a lot more about D3Golf, and we dove in with him. Great guy, awesome concept, I love that concept, and yeah, like you said, when we’re on the golf course, that’s what we’re doing. We’re making little side bets, we’re betting on whatever, even if it’s not, the way we do it currently is very unprofessional. Now there’s an actual platform around it. So I love that concept, and pretty awesome that you’re involved in that, uh, in that as well.

NICK O’HERN

Yeah, no, I’m really excited. And when I first met Tom, I mean, I tell you, I thought I was passionate about the game of golf, but Tom, man, he loves it. [Laughs]. He’s uh, he’s really right into the game, and we’ve hit it off ever since I first connected with him a few years ago, and uh, it’s a great platform. I mean, I’m excited to be involved with it, and golf’s just the beginning, you know. We’re gonna look at taking this into some other sports, this peer-to-peer wagering is a really cool thing, and you know, at the moment it’s launched in the US, it’s not down here in Australia, we’re still working through some things in that regard, but um once it comes down here, I’m gonna be spreading the word, that’s for sure.

RYAN KNUPPEL

That’s awesome. As a professional golfer, this is maybe a random side question here, and really doesn’t apply to D3Golf, but I’m curious what your stance is on just legalizing sports betting and betting on, let’s say the PGA Tour, or betting on these professional events. Does it, uh, as a player, do you even think about, “People are betting on me, or people are not betting on me”, I mean, does it affect you as a player at all that this is going on around your event?

NICK O’HERN

Uh, no, it never used to when I was playing. I mean, it’s funny, back on the European Tour, when I was playing over there and even down here in Australia, um, the people would bet on you, and uh, as far as a lot of it was betting on who would win in your group, so if there was three players and you had to beat the other players, and sometimes people would send you messages saying, “Hey, I’ve got my money on you today”, which is a bit awkward at times.

RYAN KNUPPEL

[Laughs]. “No pressure”.

NICK O’HERN

Yeah. But as a player, you don’t even worry about that sort of stuff. And I know, you know, betting and gambling is coming into the sport as well. I think it’s a good thing, you know, it’s, obviously there are areas that, when addictions and things like that come into it it’s not great, but for most people, I think, you know, a friendly little wager here and there, it adds to the competition and it’s a bit of fun.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Well sounds like you have the right mentality, obviously with your book name and everything that you have going, but, I mean it seems like it could affect some people. If you don’t have the right mentality, right, you could start getting sidetracked. But let’s talk a little bit about mentality, because I think that was the first book. You wrote “Tour Mentality: Inside the Mind of a Tour Pro”. Tell us a little bit about that book and what it’s all about.

NICK O’HERN

Yeah, well it came about, I was actually playing a round of golf with some friends at Isleworth where I was a member at there in Orlando, and um, you know, one guy, he just, he was having these issues with his game, and I said, “Look, I know you have a million thoughts going through your head. Don’t worry about that. Just focus on this one thing”. And I sort of spoke to him about visualizing a target and so on. Anyway, started playing well, and he said, we started talking about the mental game, and in the end, after the round, he said, “You know, you should write a book on all stuff”. And I said, “Nah”. There are plenty of mental game books out there, you know, Bob Rotella obviously written a lot of good ones, etc., etc. And he said, “Yeah, but all those are written by sports psychologists. You played the game for a living, I think you’ve got some good ideas”. And the more I thought about it, the more I thought, “Ah, okay, I’ll write down a few notes for my friend”, which I gave to him. And then once he read those, he really enjoyed those, and he said, “Well can you give me some more?”, and I said, “Yeah sure.”. So, you know, one page turned into five, and 10, and 20, 30, and after about 50 pages, I thought, “Well maybe I’ve got a bit of a book here”. [Laughs]. So, um, it’s really, the book is, I guess in a nutshell, about how I went about the mental side of the game throughout my career, I sort of tell stories around that, when I did well from a mental standpoint, and when I didn’t. You know, there’s some examples of when I kinda screwed up, so uh, it’s a bit of both sides of the coin, I guess you could say, but it’s told through stories in my career, and I think that’s always a nice way to relay messages is when you tell it through stories, and um, giving people examples. And then there’s also a lot of information in there about how to practice and some other thoughts on the game as well.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Sure, and you must have enjoyed it enough to wrote Book #2. I mean, if one book wasn’t enough, he had to jump in and do a 2nd book. “How to Play Your Best Golf”. That’s your most recent book. Uh, tell us a little bit about that one, and I guess, same story. How’d that come about and what’s the book all about?

NICK O’HERN

Yeah, well we moved back to Australia a few years ago, and I live in Melbourne, Victoria, where all the great sandbelt courses are, but as it turned out, when COVID came along, um, Melbourne became the most locked-down city in the world, so we had no golf, we couldn’t get out and do anything, basically. And, and I’d always had a bit of an idea of a follow-up to “Tour Mentality” because it proved quite popular, to be honest. And um, I thought “Well, I’m locked down, I can’t do much for about a year here, let’s start writing this new one”. And that’s sort of how it took shape. And the follow-up, I guess, this book is more about, um, all the things I’ve been helping golfers with, I guess since I stopped playing, and things that I’ve always known as a professional golfer and I’ve worked on throughout my career, but probably a lot of golfers out there don’t really know about. And I think, it’s funny, my wife summed it up the best the other day, which she said to me: “You know, your new book is about everything you don’t learn on the driving range”. And I thought, “Ah, yeah, that’s a pretty cool way to think about it”. It’s really about all the things on the golf course that no one really teaches you, I mean, when you have a lesson from someone, you tend to go to the range and you work on your golf swing. You don’t learn about how to hit shots into the wind or how to play off slopey [inaudible], or when you get into a fairway bunker and you’ve got a bad lie, what should you do, and all those sorts of things. So there’s a lot of things on strategy, course management, um, some things on preparation, how to warm up properly, there’s still some mental game elements there. I talk more about the mental game, and I think probably, a section which is one of the most important is one what I call the scoring clubs. So your short-game, your chipping bunker, and putting, and not so much from a technical standpoint, you know, I talk a lot about rhythm and tempo and how to read greens and etc., etc., how to play different shots in different situations. So, it’s, it’s not your typical instructional book in that sense, as I say, it’s more about how to play than how to swing the golf club because everyone’s got their own swing and style. These are sort of things that, uh, will help you just to shave strokes off your score. Someone said to me the other day, you know, if I caddied for a handicap, how many strokes could you take off? And I said, “Oh, I could probably take 6 strokes off at least to begin with”, and that’s without even practicing, which is a fun thing to think about, really. [Laughs].

RYAN KNUPPEL

Sure, sure, absolutely. So, you know, Nick, talk to us a little bit about the business that you have. You’re a board member of Dollar Dollar Dollar, D3Golf.com, uh, Founder/Director of the TourPro Experience, you know, you’ve obviously written books and stuff now, so you kind of have this entrepreneurial mindset now, coming out of golf, now you’re in the business world, tell us a little bit about, I guess, how that is for you. Do you look at that as like, you know, because when you’re golfing, you’re competing, right? In business you have to compete as well. Do you have that similar mindset in business?

NICK O’HERN

Yeah, a little bit, I mean it’s funny; I have a philosophy, um, you know, I used throughout my entire career, was how can I get better today? And I’ve sort of taken that into the business side of things as well. I thought, “Well, okay. How can I improve things from a business perspective today?”. So if you think about that, and you can structure your days with that in mind, I think that success can kind of follow. And it’s a slow process, that’s for sure, you can never sort of make, um large [inaudible] a day at a time, but um, but if you just approach each day in that regard and in a similar vein in how I went about, how I played golf, things can work out, and yeah, I’ve got a few different things going on. I just enjoy being involved with golf, I guess, I’m doing a bit of TV commentary here in Australia which is a lot of fun, and talking about the game that I love is always nice. And uh, and then these two pro experiences, yeah I created those a while about for the corporate market and to sort of show people what it’s like to be a Tour Pro for a day, and entertain clients and things like that, which is a lot of fun, but uh, but the D3Golf is another main focus of mine at the moment. And yeah, it’s exciting to work with Tom and the team and really get that going in the United States and grow that to, uh, to who knows what it could be.

RYAN KNUPPEL

I love that principle and that mindset of “How do we move the needle forward today?”, right? Because us as entrepreneurs and business owners, we tend to, like, think too big and too fast and try to like, “Oh, what am I gonna do in three, four, five months?”. No. What are you gonna do today to move your business forward? I love that mindset. Super powerful for, you know, people listening that may be trying to start up a business or are just getting into the space. I love that, I know you didn’t even mean to give a tip, but it’s a great tip for those listening there, Nick.

NICK O’HERN

Yeah, no it is. I mean, everyone look for the future, and it’s funny, you get caught up with that, as a golfer especially, but as a business person. You obviously want your long term strategy, but I always find that okay, we need to break that down into very short term goals, and there’s no better day to do it, a day at a time. And as a golfer, as I said, my goal was to improve on a daily basis, and if you can carry that into other aspects of your life, it can only lead to good things I think.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Amazing. Well, Nick, I will let you go, I know you’re a busy man, you’ve got a lot going on. But before I let you go, what’s the future look like? I mean, is it just more of this, is it continuing to write books, continuing to invest and be a part of business, what’s the future look like for you?

NICK O’HERN

Yeah, uh, bookwise, you know, I’m a little tapped-out at the moment, because that second book, “How to Play Your Best Golf”, I’ve put a lot of good ideas, a lot of my ideas into that. I haven’t given away all my secrets, but most of them, I guess you could say. [Laughs]. But, uh, who knows? There might be another one down the line, but um, yeah my main focus at the moment is really, um, I love helping golfers. You know, I’m doing two of these corporate outings that I spoke about, and also I’m coaching quite a few golfers as well, um…But again, mostly on the golf course, uh, very rarely do I get on the range with people. And the other good thing, which has come about after all this, funnily enough, my wife just started playing golf, which is amazing. I mean, she was a big tennis player when we lived in the U.S., played a lot of tennis, but she wasn’t into golf, but the last couple of years we’ve been back in Australia, she’s picked up the game of golf, so my goal is to get her down to a single figure handicap, so how’s that for a goal? [Laughs].

RYAN KNUPPEL

Now, tell me the truth here. Do you and your wife get on D3Golf.com and make a little friendly wager when you’re out on the course? [Laughs].

NICK O’HERN

Well, we can’t do that in Australia yet because it’s not down here, but I can guarantee you we will, and it’s a good thing it’s not here at the moment, because with the handicap system, which is the beauty of golf, I mean I play off a +3, and she’s off about a 20 handicap, so it’s very rare that I win, so it’s probably a good thing we don’t wager. [Laughs].

RYAN KNUPPEL

[Laughs]. Nah, you’re never gonna win playing the wife. Even if you do, you’re just not gonna win. [Laughs]. That’s amazing, though. It’s amazing you’re getting the family out there to play. Sounds like, uh, lots going on in your world Nick, and really appreciate your time here that you gave to this show, and I’m sure everybody listening has enjoyed this episode thoroughly. So thank you for being here. Hey, where can people grab a copy of the two books that you mentioned? What’s the best way of getting one of those?

NICK O’HERN

The best way and the simplest is just to get it on Amazon. Amazon.com, and both my books are on there, and um, if you love them, it’d be great if you’d leave a review or something like that, or I also have a website, NickOHern.com, you can always reach me through email if anyone’s got any questions, I’d be happy to answer.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Amazing, I’ll make sure to put those exact Amazon links out in the show notes, that way people can click, buy, leave reviews, I’m definitely gonna pick up a copy of both and make sure I get in the mind of Nick O’Hern. I’m excited to learn your tips. I’m not the best golfer in the world, but maybe if I read “How to Play Your Best Golf”, I can at least get a few more tips, we’ll see.

NICK O’HERN

Oh, I guarantee. You’ll shave strokes off no problem. [Laughs].

RYAN KNUPPEL

Awesome, Nick. Well I appreciate your time. Hey, Episode 175, you were a milestone episode, so thank you for being here. If you ever get back down to Orlando, I mean you spent 13 years here, so if you ever get over here, make sure you look me up, we’ll go out to coffee or something.

NICK O’HERN

Absolutely, great. Thanks for the chat Ryan.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Alright, Nick. Have a great day. We’ll talk to you soon.

NICK O’HERN

Cheers.

RYAN KNUPPEL

Cheers.

Alright, that was Nick O’Hern, Episode #175 is in the books. We really appreciate him giving us some time at 11 p.m. there in Australia. Uh, couple books you gotta go check out, we’ll put those links in the show notes. Um, “How to Play Your Best Golf”, “Tour Mentality: Inside the Mind of a Tour Pro”, I can’t wait to learn a little bit from those books. Thank you so much again for your time, I’m Ryan Knuppel, @Knup, you’ll find us out there on any social media platform. I’m mostly on LinkedIn, if you wanna talk to me out there you can leave me a message and we can chat out there as well. Alright, until next time, stay safe, we’ll talk to you soon. Checking out, Ryan Knuppel, talk to you soon. Bye-bye.

Relevant Links

More Knup Sports Links

Contact Ryan Knuppel

  • LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ryanknuppel
  • Email: ryan@knupsolutions.com

Knup Sports Show - 175 - Professional Golfer Nick O'Hern Joins the Knup Sports Show (square)