Golf Digest editors picks

My Shot: Chubby Chandler

Continued (page 2 of 3)

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The most common business mistake a pro golfer can make is investing money in things they know little or nothing about. What I urge our players to do is invest their brand, but not their cash. They are not property experts or equity experts; they are golfers. The rule of thumb is an old one: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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When you're negotiating, never set a price that is twice as high as you'll settle for, figuring you can settle for half as much. Nor should you offer a firm price straight out. When I negotiate a three-year deal—three years is typical in many of our business relationships—I'm not overly insistent on getting the better of the deal, because if one person walks out feeling a little screwed, the relationship is going to be poor, and everyone will suffer in the long run. At all cost, make sure both parties are happy.

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Also, don't be too concerned with what other people are getting. You'll go wrong because most people lie about what they're getting anyway—the price they tell you is usually more, never less. I do it based on what I feel our client deserves.

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I discourage one player in our group discussing with others what they're getting for a deal. I guarantee Charl Schwartzel does not know what Louis Oosthuizen is getting. Lee and Darren traveled around together for 10 years, and I'm sure one didn't know what the other was making at all. The only person who knows about both is me. No good can come from comparing notes.

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When I took the break from pro golf in 1984, I spent the year playing gambling social golf. I hung out at Mere Golf & Country Club. There were 10 to 12 guys who played there every day, and they played for proper money. The games were fierce and expensive, and I couldn't afford to lose. So I practiced much more than I had on tour, which had a very positive effect on my game. My competitiveness and confidence improved to where I decided to try the tour again. The year I came back, that's when I won in Brazil.

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Chubby Chandler

If you want to have a go at betting on professional golf, here's what to do: The 72-hole matchups—Lee Westwood versus Phil Mickelson, say—are the easiest. The most fun bets are the three-balls for the first two rounds. In that one you bet on which player of a three-man group will finish lowest. Bets for a certain player to finish within the top 20 are attractive. Then there is winning score, whether it will be above or below a certain number. At the U.S. Open I sensed the winning score the shops posted was too high, and I was right. Rory blew that one away.

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Most lucrative bet I ever made? Scottish Open, 2008, third round. They offered two-ball bets, and I selected eight of them in an "accumulator," meaning the payoffs were exponential if you got them all right. I thought the bet was lost when Ernie trailed his "opponent" at the turn, but Ernie came back and won. All of my choices came through. I bet £80 and won £31,000. You can do the conversion to American dollars [about $50,000]. That evening was a very pleasant one indeed.

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But here's how a punter thinks: I made four individual match bets that day, and all four of them came through in addition to the accumulator. This of course left me thinking what could have been if I had attached them to the accumulator and gone 12-0. The payoff would have been three or four hundred grand.

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It's difficult to describe the period when Darren Clarke's wife, Heather, went through her illness and then passed away. It was terrible for Darren and his family, and we all felt for them. Everyone stood by Darren, of course, perhaps no one more than Billy Foster, his caddie at the time. As for me, every time the phone rang, I just held my breath wondering what the news was going to be. It was a shattering experience for Darren, which, in addition to the great personal loss, cost him a good four years of his career. He wasn't the same for two years while Heather was ill, and he wasn't the same for two years after. Only this year have I seen him back to a semblance of normal.

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Before ernie went public with his son, Ben, having autism, it weighed on him enormously. It was a big drain, and he kept it on a personal level. I remember discussing with Ernie a few years ago how he might turn it into something positive. You've seen what's happened since. In 2009 he and his wife, Liezl, established the Els for Autism Foundation in Florida. Ernie's dream is to build a medical facility designed especially to help young people with autism. They need $15 million to get the facility underway and $30 million to finish it. Ernie's donated $6 million of his money and has raised more than $12 million overall. What I've learned by seeing this is how doing something constructive can lift the weight from a person's shoulders.

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There are uncomfortable cases where our players are right up against each other. Charl against Rory at the Masters is a good example. Cases where you have the winner and the loser are always difficult. Fortunately during the Masters we had Stuart Cage looking after Rory each day, while I looked after Charl. Now, supposing I was the only person to look after them both, who do you guess I would have attended to most at the end? The answer would have been Rory. It's the loser that needs the attention, not the winner. I'm not Don King.

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The evening Charl won the Masters, there was a dinner for him at the club. I didn't get over to the house where Rory was staying until 9:15 p.m. I had no idea what I was going to say after that final round. I walked in the house completely blank. But when I looked at Rory, the words came to me: "At least I know what's going to happen next year."

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The Monday of the 2010 Open, Louis Oosthuizen asked for an invite to a tournament in Sweden the following week. On Sunday morning, as he's leading by four, he asks, "What are we going to do about Sweden?" I said, "Don't worry; I've got you covered." After he won, that night he again asked about Sweden, and this time I say, "Unfortunately, as Open champion, you have to go. If you'd lost, I could have gotten you out of it." Fast-forward to the 2011 Masters. The week after Augusta, Louis, Charl and Rory were all supposed to play in Malaysia, a 24-hour flight. With Charl winning and the disaster that struck Rory, I was fearful of one or both of them wanting to pull out. But because of what Louis had done the year previous, they climbed onto the plane without a word of protest. They knew that was how our company worked.

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July 28, 2014

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