It may not be often when you receive a bona fide life lesson, but when you do it’s something that’ll stick with you until the day you die.
It was April of 1999 when I received one of my bigger educations in life – a giant confirmation that, sometimes, you just need to go for it.
I was a newly minted professional golfer living and working part-time near Tampa, Fla., and had heard through the grapevine about an audition for a Nike Golf TV commercial shoot with Tiger Woods in neighboring Orlando. And, because I was finally an official “adult” who had no business being shy anymore (as I had worked so hard to overcome as a kid), I figured why the hell not try something new.
So I arrived at the tiny, tucked away photography studio in downtown Tampa that fateful afternoon to take my shot at becoming a TV star; no clue what to expect, just hopes of something cool that could be out there for me.
But after a two-hour wait combined with seeing over 100 other “golf actors” walk in and out of the studio with resumes, head shots and the whole nine, and then getting into the audition for just two golf swings and speaking my name on camera before the “don’t call us, we’ll call you” parting comment, I was out of there, thinking I had no shot but at least tried something new, which was probably a good thing.
Fast forward four days – the audition already far out of mind – and my phone rings to the tune of directions to show up at Orange County National Golf Club at 6:30 a.m. the next morning.
So, I did so and the rest is history (or, another tale, at least). I spent a day working closely with the No. 1 golfer in the world, shooting an award-winning TV ad that was the first to cross over into mainstream television (appearing in the U.S., Europe and Asia, nonetheless), creating a lasting relationship with Nike Golf, and, most importantly, learning that if you just get out of your comfort zone every once in a while, it can pay off. Big time.
Check out the below ad, called ‘Driving Range’, in which I am the golfer directly behind Woods. A life lesson, indeed …