For example, when I was 20, I was living near Wiesbaden, Germany. I was in a terrible automobile accident. My windshield shattered and ultimately, I lost vision in my left eye.
At that point in my life, I was pursuing professional sports – I just wasn’t sure if it would be soccer, squash, skiing, or track and field. That’s why I loved the decathlon so much, as it combines many disciplines into a single sport.
Then came the accident. And a lot of soul-searching.
After two years in and out of hospitals, I knew I was no longer going to become a professional athlete. But I wasn’t going to give up. So I set out for success again by switching to coaching, ultimately becoming an assistant golf pro on the beautiful island of Kauai, Hawaii.
It would all come full circle in 1993 when Xander was born.
My wife Ping-Yi and I raised both of our boys – Xander and his younger brother Nico – to be mentally tough. While they were growing up, they were both excellent soccer players. But around 12 years old, Xander’s passion for the game began to disappear.“I hate losing,” he told me.
He loved the team aspect, but he wanted to be more in control of his destiny. He told his coach he wanted to switch from defense to offense. For him, this meant generating goals, instead of simply trying to stop them. When his coach failed to put him on offense, Xander told him he was quitting.
That was it for Xander and soccer.
The next day, I said, “Let’s get you on the PGA Tour.”
You see, when you get to a certain level as an athlete, it becomes a question of what you want to focus on.
There are many athletes out there who can play with the best of them in many sports – like Bo Jackson, who was an All-Star in both baseball and football in the early 90s. But to be the very best, and reduce the chance of injury, they focus on a single sport, honing every aspect of their performance.
Today, data analysis can help with that constant evaluation and improvement. That’s why – as a team – we use whatever technology we can find to increase the depth of our statistical analysis. We use the data we collect in everything we do, all the way down to the specifics of decision-making, especially as it pertains to club choice during a particular shot.
That’s our X factor.