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Podcast No. 39: Scott McCarron, 11-Time PGA Tour Champions Winner

By Will Ahmed

Podcast No. 39: Scott McCarron, 11-Time PGA Tour Champions Winner

My guest today is pro golfer Scott McCarron, the current money leader on the PGA Tour Champions.

Listen on:

In the 1990s and early 2000s, Scott won 3 tournaments and had top-10 finishes at the Masters, US Open and PGA Championship. However, his career has reached new heights since turning 50 and joining the senior tour, where he’s won 11 times and finished second in the year-end Charles Schwab Cup standings in each of the past two seasons. A WHOOP user for nearly 3 years, Scott credits a lot of his recent success to his physical fitness and staying in better shape than the competition. We talk about the mental aspect of golf and how he maintains a healthy and positive mindset, including the things he does to play his best even when he’s in the red. Additionally, Scott and I discuss his goals going forward and how he believes he can continue to improve his game at 54 years old. He’s also got some great stories about Tiger Woods that you’ve probably never heard before.

Show Notes:

3:52 - Discovering WHOOP. “I first got interested in WHOOP by reading an article about a major league baseball player who was wearing it. … I won the second event I played in while wearing it, and since then I’ve lifted 9 different trophies wearing WHOOP.” 4:57 - Success at Later Age. What does Scott attribute it to? “Staying in shape. … That mindset, knowing ‘that there is an end in sight, let’s put everything I can into this’ has certainly helped me in my golf and in my life.” 6:36 - Qualifying for PGA Tour in 1994. “I quite golf for about 4 years after I graduated college. That dream of playing golf, that ship had sailed.” But, then he found a new way to put with the long putter. At the qualifying school, “I shot on the number at each of the three stages to get my PGA Tour card.” 11:47 - Life on Tour. “It doesn’t guarantee you spots each week, It was hard just to get in tournaments.” Scott shares a story of just barely keeping his tour card. “If it wasn’t for Mark O’Meara missing that put, I might be back to selling shirts and hats again.” 14:41 - Learning from Legends. “I had a lot of great mentors at the time,” including NFL coach Bill Walsh (check out his book, The Score Takes Care of Itself). At first Scott was intimidated by the other pros on tour, but then he got out of his comfort zone and became friends with them. “That separated me a lot from a lot of the other rookies.” 20:41 - Mental Aspect. What makes the winners stand out? “Who plays really well on Sunday on the back 9, under the most extreme pressure? … I have a very short-term memory for things that I’ve done wrong, and I have a very long-term memory for great shots.” 22:51 - Using WHOOP. “It’s like my pacifier now, I can’t go anywhere without it. The thing that’s helped me the most is being accountable.” 24:12 - Performing when Red. “A lot of times if I’m sleeping on the lead, it’s hard to get good sleep. If I’m in the red I might drive slower to the golf course, I might take some deep breaths, walk slower, try to be very relaxed and calm getting to the first tee.” 26:33 - What Improves his Sleep? “Not drinking much, and staying off my computer. I’ll read a book for 20 minutes.” 27:22 - CBD Oil. “I take a pill 20 minutes before I go to bed, and it has noticeable changed my sleep. Because I’m wearing WHOOP I can track it.” 30:06 - Meditation. “Just clearing my mind, sitting in a comfortable place, and letting go of my thoughts.” Scott uses FocusBand and Versus, “Basically just to get my brain to slow down.” 33:59 - Staying Focused while on the course. “A lot of it is breathing to calm yourself down, you have to be able to stay in the moment.” 35:09 - Gratitude. “I’ll visualize what really makes me feel good right now.” 35:53 - Working as a TV Broadcaster. “I could tell on the back 9 who was going to win,” by how the players carried themselves. 37:18 - Tiger Woods. “He knew that he was the best player out there, and he knew that you knew he was the best player out there.” Tiger once told Scott he never wanted to make friends with many other golfers, saying “When I stepped on the tee I had a 2-shot advantage because they were intimidated.” Scott also reveals the little-known fact that Tiger meditated and did breath work to become a master diver. “He was able to rise to the big moments because he stayed calm in those times.” 41:16 - Setting Goals. “I have some plans I want to accomplish on the PGA Tour Champions. It feels exactly the same as playing on the PGA Tour because I’m playing against the same guys. ... I want to win the Schwab Cup. I’m constantly learning, even at 54 I’m still working on my game. Am I at the peak? No, I think I can still get better.” 44:14 - Advice from Olympic Speedskater Dan Jansen. “How do you prepare yourself when there’s only one event left and you have to win?” Dan told Scott to realize how lucky you are, then “Remember you’re a bad-ass mother-f---er,” BAMF for short. “Find that balance between gratitude and feeling of BAMF.” 48:50 - Improving Happiness. “Married the right woman. … She came into my life at a crossroads.” Scott’s wife Jennifer convinced him to stick with golf and even caddied for him. “She taught me that even at 50, dream big. We work out together, we push each other.” 51:18 - Caddy Qualities. “Being there right on your side every step of the way. … Good caddies have to wear so many hats, it’s a tough job. They are part of the team, when we win, I don’t say I win, I say WE win.” 55:45 - Optimal Performance. Who does Scott think of? “Joe Montana, Tiger Woods.” 56:05 - Most Memorable Moment of Career. “The last hole of Q school in 1994. … Those type of moments define you.” 57:23 - Recommended Readings. Winning the Battle Within by Dr. Glen Albaugh, Golf in the Kingdom by Michael Murphy, and Fluid Motion Factor by Steven Yellin. 1:00:17 - Pursuit of the Flow State. “It can help you in all aspects in your life.” 1:01:38 - Social Media. “Twitter can be so negative.” Scott discusses how people often accuse him of cheating for using the long putter. “If I’m in the hunt I’m not looking, I’m not reading the paper, I kind of go dark.” 1:04:01 - Future of Golf in Good Hands. “These kids are so good coming out of college, I’m just amazed. They’re so much better than we were. … They do a great job with the fans.” 1:05:17 - Popularity of WHOOP on Tour. “I think all these guys on tour should be wearing it. … What can I do to give myself the best opportunity to play my best? WHOOP is a huge part of that.”