tv The David Rubenstein Show Peer to Peer Conversations Bloomberg September 7, 2019 9:00am-9:31am EDT
this is how we heal. cancer treatment centers of america. appointments available now. david: in your career, you 118 majors, which is the most. -- the most of anyone. many think beating your record is possible. jack: i don't know, tiger is pretty good. david: in those days, the composition was good but not compared to today. jack: i was making as much money selling insurance as playing golf. david: what makes a great golfer? jack: i think winning breeds winning. >> would you fix your tie?
david: i don't think people would recognize me if i fixed my tie, but ok. i don't consider myself a journalist. nobody else would consider myself a journalist. i began taking on the life of an interviewer even though i have a day job of running a private equity firm. how do you define leadership? what is it that makes somebody tick? let me go back to the beginning of golf. i am not a golfer. i took it up when i was 10. -- i took it up when i was nine, i quit when i was 10. jack: i'm not one anymore either. david: but you were pretty famous. it was too frustrating and here is what i cannot understand. why is it some new people are addicted to something that is so humiliating and frustrating to so many people? it never goes where it supposed to go, why are people addicted to it? jack: that is a pretty good
question. it's a never-ending pursuit of an unattainable goal. david: right. jack: you could try all you want. nobody has ever mastered the game. other athletes left her play golf because -- love to play golf because it's difficult. it's challenging. the challenges at whatever level you play. that's why i enjoyed it. no matter how good i got, i can always be better. david: you played many different sports. you were recruited to play football at ohio state. jack: basketball. david: you were a good football player as well? jack: decent, yep. david: golf was not your most important sport. jack: golf was another sport at the time. once i started into college, i won a national trophy. they got me on the walker cup team. all of a sudden, i was one of the best 12 amateurs in the
country. i won the national and i was ranked number one. maybe i'm better at this than i thought i was. i almost won the u.s. open the next year. i did win it the next year. i said, maybe i need to play against the best. it was a process. david: your father got you into golf. was he a good golfer? jack: he was a decent golfer as a kid. then he quit for 15 years and was a pharmacist. he broke his ankle playing volleyball. he ended up having three operations. the doctor said, you don't want to end up in a wheelchair, start walking again. we went to the suburbs. he joined at a country club and took me along to carry the bag. he couldn't walk very far. that year, jack grout can -- came that year.
the pga championship came that year. i got all that in my first year of playing golf. it got me charged up to learn a sport. david: he became your coach for most of your career. jack: he was my coach until 1989 when he passed. david: they were the people who mostly got you on the way involved. jack: my dad was my best friend and my idol. i loved my dad. he did everything with me. he gave up everything for me. david: it wasn't clear that you can make a big career financially as a professional golfer. you were thinking of getting a degree as an accountant. jack: i started college. most kids want to be what their dad was. my dad was a pharmacist. i went through pre-pharmacy. i hated afternoon labs. my dad talked me into doing something else. i started selling insurance. i loved selling life insurance.
i sold to my fraternity brothers, they needed it. i did that for a while. i did pretty well at it. i was making good money. i got married and had my first child. i really wanted to play golf. david: you got married to barbara. you've been married how many years? jack: 59. next month 59. david: ok. the result is five children and 22 grandchildren. you never forget the name of a grandchild. jack: i know their name. i know 95% of their birthdays. david: that's pretty impressive. you were thinking of becoming professional. you weren't sure. you met with bob jones. david: yep. david: most famous amateur offer of them all. how did you come to meet him? jack: he was a speaker at the banquet at my first u.s. open when i was 15 years old.
at that time, he got paralyzed. he was walking with a cane at that time. he saw me play. he says, i'm going to watch you play tomorrow. i'm a 15-year-old kid. the greatest player that ever lived will watch me play. he came out and i with bogey, bogey, double bogey. it was a great experience. he became a good friend. he was great counsel. he was a good man. david: you decided to turn professional in the year after n the second amateur. you decided you would make a career out of it. jack: i didn't have any more goals to do. i wanted to be the best i could be at playing golf. the only way i can do that is to play against the best.
david: in those days, the compensation was good but not compared to today. jack: i was making as much money selling insurance as playing golf. i surpassed it. david: as you went on, you had a rivalry with arnold palmer. he was the leading golfer when you came in. you surpassed him in many ways. what was it like in the early days? jack: i wasn't real popular. because i started beating arnold. i wasn't popular myself because i was an arnold palmer fan. he was a good guy. we got to be close friends. our wives were close friends. he never really seemed to mind that i beat him more than he beat me. i'm sure he did inside. he never let me know it. he took me under his wing. he's 10 years older than i was. he was great to me. i have nothing but love for him. david: in your career, you won
18 majors. the most of anybody. one -- won many 15. think that beating your record is impossible. jack: i don't know. tiger is pretty good. [laughter] david: you won the masters six times. is that your favorite tournament? jack: probably so. david: in the course of your career, you won more than 100 tournaments. you were the leading money winner 17 times. the leading lowest shot for tournament for year seven times there's no record and golf you , haven't achieved. was there anything left for you? jack: i don't know. my record is good. you can always be better. that is the neat thing about golf. no matter how good you get, you can be better. david: in terms of being better,
it's hard to do better than you have done. what is the key to make somebody a great golfer? concentration, physical ability, a combination? jack: your mind is a big part about it. you have to believe in what you can do. you have to learn to play within yourself. in all walks of life, i don't care what business you are in, you need to work within yourself. you need to do what you can do, not what somebody else can do. start believing in that. winning breeds winning. i was lucky, my first year i won the u.s. open. i believed that i could play. all of a sudden, they said it coming in easier for me. david: was that in a playoff with arnold palmer? jack: i had to fight his gallery a lot. i never had to fight him. he always treated me with respect.
he treated me like a fellow competitor. i didn't have those issues. david: one of the most enjoyable tournaments to watch was the 1986 masters. you were an old man of 46. jack: a really old man. it's very young today. david: people -- no one had ever won a major over the age of 42. tiger won the masters now at 43. 46 was considered ready for a golf cart or wheelchair or something. you were not leading the tournament until near the end. you were four shots behind with the final nine holes to go. jack: the first time a lead was after 71 holes. david: you were four shots
behind at the final nine, did you think you could win? jack: i birdied 9, 10, 11. i messed up 12 little bit. i birdied 13. i eagled 15. i thought i could win. david: was that the most emotional win you have ever had? jack: it's funny. i had finished playing golf by then. i won two majors when i was 40 years old. i just enjoyed playing golf. i wanted to be part of the game. i struck lightning in a bottle that week. all of a sudden, i got around to the last nine holes. i remembered how to play. you get yourself in contention and all of a sudden, much like what happened to tiger at the masters this year, when i saw the 12th hole, he took a pretty shot out. i said, tournament is over.
he will remember how to play. i remembered how to play. i remembered how to finish. it was really fun being able to do that. david: you have played with a lot of presidents of the united states. jack: a few. david: which one is the best golf? jack: trump, probably. he plays pretty well. he plays a little bit like i do.
david: you early in your career decided that you wanted to be involved in golf course design. you have personally designed about 310 courses. your company has designed over 400 or so. about 1000 tournaments have been held on these courses. they are in 46 different countries and states. it's pretty impressive. jack: pete dye was the premier golf course designer over the last 30 years or so. he one day called me. this was mid 60's. jack, i would like to have you come out and review a course. i want you to see what it is. he says, i want you to critique
it for me. i don't know anything about design. he says you know more than you think you know. he asked me a couple things. i said i don't anything about that. he says, yeah you do. tell me what you would like to see. he did it. it peaked my interest. i got a call from the pines plantation from arbor town. they said, i would like to have you do our golf course design. i did that. i did that with pete. six months before the tournament, the heritage golf classic was there, arnold won the first sentiment. i loved it. i had a ball. it was tremendous. david: your favorite course to play of any, other than the ones
you designed, i assume you like those the most, which ones would you say were your favorites to play? jack: if i had one round, probably pebble beach. i love pebble beach. the scene out there, i love the atmosphere. i won three crosby's out there. i love the place. my two favorite places in the game are augustine national and st. andrews. david: you finished your professional career in 2005. your last tournament was the british open. was that emotional? jack: yeah. david: you had your family there. jack: they were all there. my son, steve, caddied for me. we stopped on the bridge across the 18th fairway. steve was crying too much for a decent picture.
tom watson was crying. they are all emotional. i'm trying to figure out how to finish the tournament. they are out there crying on me. we had a great time. it was fun. i loved it. i did not finish on friday. -- i did not want to finish on friday, but i did. david: your last shot was a birdy. jack: it's funny. i wanted to make the cup that day. i got to the 18th hole. the ball had not gotten anywhere near the hole all day. thew that that putt, tournament was over. i started my career in a major championship and 1957 with a birdie on the first leg played. i finished it on st. andrews with a birdie. david: you didn't think, maybe i should stay longer? jack: i stayed long enough. david: you played with many prominent golfers. if you could pick any to be her
-- your partner, who would you want to have? jack: tiger today. through the years, i never got to play with bobby jones. i knew him and really loved the man. i would love to play with jones. i played a bit of golf with hogan. he was fantastic. david: you played with a lot of presidents of the united states. jack: a few. david: which one is the best? jack: trump is probably the best player. he plays pretty well. he plays a little bit like i do. he doesn't really ever finish many holes. he can hit the ball. he goes out and place and enjoys it. he has won several club championships he can play. , gerald ford, i played 50 rounds with him. i used to play with him at the at&t every year. he was a 13 handicap.
he played with 13 handicap. clinton, i never knew what he might do. he might play to a 10 or a 30. he had a nice swing. all these guys enjoy playing golf. i don't think anyone of them was serious about the game. they all enjoyed playing it. it's good for the game of golf to have a president of the united states, this is my game. david: when you are playing in those kinds of matches, and the ball is 10 feet away from the hole, why do people not say, put it out? jack: that's a little bit of politics. you give me mine and i'll give you yours. david: you have a grandson who recently at a masters par 3 tournament got a hole in one.
was that really emotional? it's pretty good. it was a funny story. his name is gt. gary thomas after his father. we went out to play nine holes. i always ask the kids if they would caddy for me every year. i said, do you want to hit a ball? he says none of my cousins have got it on the green. i said, you might as well hit a hole in one. he says, people think i will make a hole in one. darn it if he doesn't knock it right in the hole. gary was jumping all over the place. tom watson was jumping all over the place.
arnold and i, we blew more tournaments by playing against each other instead of worrying about the field. we would get off the golf course and say we both shot 75 while everybody else shot 65. we were trying to beat each other. we would shake hands and ask where we were going to dinner. i love the golf kids today. i love watching when gary woodland finished. six other players congratulated him after. when justice thomas won the pga two years ago. ricky fowler and jordan's be and those guys waiting for him. the guys really support each other. they've got enough money. they are not worried about the money. they know it's a game. these guys are their friends. david: in recent years, tiger woods has struggled. he went 10 years between winning a major tournament. do you think today that your
record of 18 majors can be broken by tiger? or anybody? jack: i think so. the way brooks koepka is going, he will do it before tiger. tiger did torrey pines in san diego. he hit all over the place. and he won the tournament. yet that he had not had a back fusion. his swing is much better now than it was then. he has learned not to hit it hard. he doesn't want to hurt himself. tiger's short game is fantastic. he will win a lot more tournaments. whether he will win three or four more majors, i don't know. 43 in golf today is not really old. david: let's talk about philanthropy. i'd like to talk about -- how how you and your wife focused your philanthropy on children's hospitals. jack: we started back in 1966.
our daughter was 11 months old. she started choking. we could not understand why. we got her to the doctor. the doctor says, we need to get her down to the children's hospital. they found a crayon in her windpipe. they did not have a pediatric bronco scope. they dropped it into her lungs. she got pneumonia. for six days she was touch and go as we were sitting, waiting, , we said, if we ever are in a position to help out, we wanted -- want it to be children. the honda tournament moved to the palm beach area. they said, what you think of -- what do you think of
children's charities? barbara said, go for it. we started a foundation. we haven't done anything large. we raised over $100 million. david: pretty impressive. [applause] david: the miami city children's hospital has been renamed in your honor. jack: miami children's, we made in association with them. after a couple years, they said, we would like to be a global hospital. we would like to use your name. it's fantastic. to see what has happened with these kids, i want to tell you one thing, it is more important than a four foot putt. i enjoy it a lot more. david: the satisfaction of winning the masters. jack: it's fantastic. david: but saving a child's