What effect does fatherhood have on professional golfers? 

Man playing golf
Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

Professional golf is a game that is won and lost in the mind.

Indeed, so often, success is determined by what goes on between the ears when the pressure is on.

History tells us that it is only those players who are able to possess clarity of thought when their brain is being bombarded with doubt that will finish at the top of the leaderboard.

So, how do golfers develop an impenetrable mindset that will allow them to win? As it turns out, becoming a father is a good place to start. 

Jon Rahm wins his first major ten weeks after becoming a father

Jon Rahm proved this in 2021 when just ten weeks after his son was born, he finally won his first major after years of trying. It was a development that seemed to be the catalyst for Rahm’s rapid rise to world number one. And tellingly, the latest golf betting odds prove that the Spaniard hasn’t looked back since, as he is priced at just 9/1 to win the 2023 US Open at the Los Angeles Country Club in June.

As things stand, no one in the field has a lower price than the 2021 US Open champion, who is now not only an expert on choosing the right golf club to hit, but also the best bedtime stories to read.

Mcllroy and Woods pile on the silverware

Rahm’s run of silverware since becoming a father is not an anomaly, as Rory Mcllroy has managed to win five times since his daughter was born at the end of 2020. This includes winning both the order of merit on the PGA Tour and European Tour. Crucially, his FedEx Cup win in 2022 earned the Northern Irishman a bonus of £14 million.

The same is true of Tiger Woods who won the PGA Championship in 2007 shortly after his daughter was born as well as following that up by claiming the FedEx Cup in the same year which at the time, earned him an £8 million bonus. 

As you can see, the stakes are exceptionally high in professional golf. But Rahm, Mcllory and Woods were all able to withstand the barrage of self-doubt that invariably floods the minds when the pressure is on to win golf’s biggest prizes. Yes, the trio all have in common that they are highly talented golfers, but entering fatherhood has helped them see golf for what it is; a sport.

Fatherhood takes the sting out of losing

With this greater perspective, it is, in essence, harder for them to become overrun psychologically to the point where they crack under the pressure. That’s not to say that new fathers will win every week or won’t. 

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