tv The David Rubenstein Show Peer to Peer Conversations Bloomberg September 15, 2019 3:00am-3:30am EDT
david: though, in your career, you won 18 majors, which was the most of anybody. many people think that trying to beat your record is impossible. jack: i don't know, tiger is pretty good. [laughter] 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, though. david: what is the key that makes somebody a great golfer? is it concentration? physical ability? jack: i think winning breeds winning. >> would you fix your tie, please? david: well, people wouldn't recognize me if my tie was fixed, but ok. just leave it this way. alright. ♪
david: i don't consider myself a journalist. and nobody else would consider myself a journalist. i began to take on the life of being 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 and so forth. i am not a golfer, i have to be honest with you. 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 in golf. 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 all the time? the ball never goes where it is 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. [laughter] david: right. jack: you could try all you want. nobody has ever mastered the game. most athletes in all their sports love to play golf because it's difficult. it's challenging for them. it challenges them at whatever level they play. and i think that's why they enjoy it. that's why i enjoyed it. because no matter how good i got, i could always be better. david: when you grew up, you played many different sports. jack: yes. david: you were recruited to play football at ohio state? jack: basketball. david: you were a good football player as well? jack: decent, yep. david: so, at the time golf was , not your most important sport? or was it one of the three most important? jack: golf was another sport at the time. once i started into college, i won a national trophy. it got me on the walker cup team.
all of a sudden, i was one of the best 12 amateurs in the country. later that year, i won the national amateur and i was ranked number one. i thought, maybe i'm better at this than i thought i was. i almost won the u.s. open the next year. then i did win the u.s. amateur again the next year. i said, maybe i need to play against the best. so it was a process. david: your father got you into golf initially? jack: yes. david: was he a good golfer himself? 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 and had it fused. the doctor said, charlie, he says, if you don't want to end up in a wheelchair, start walking again. we went to the suburbs. upper arlington, he joined at a country club and took me along to carry the bag. he couldn't make a game because he couldn't walk very far. that particular year, a fellow named jack grout came that year. and the pga championship came that year.
so i got all that in my first year of playing golf. and it just got me charged up to learn a sport. david: jack grout became your coach for most of your career. jack: he was my coach until 1989 he passed in david: so your 1989. father and jack grout were the people who mostly got you on the way in golf, you would say? jack: my dad was my best friend and my idol. i loved my dad. he just did everything with me. he just gave up everything for me. david: in those days it wasn't clear that you could make a big career financially as a professional golfer. so you were thinking of getting a degree as an accountant, or being a pharmacist? jack: i started college. i mean, most kids want to be what their dad was. my dad was a pharmacist. so i went through pre-pharmacy. i hated afternoon labs. [laughter] david: right, so. jack: my dad talked me into doing something else. so i started selling insurance. david: ok. jack: i just loved selling life insurance to my fraternity brothers, they needed it. [laughter] jack: so i did that for a while,
and i did pretty well at it. i was making good money. i got married and had my first child. but i really wanted to play golf. so that is what i did. david: now you -- you got married to barbara. you've been married how many years? jack: 59 next month. david: 59 years. [applause] david: ok. the result is five children and 22 grandchildren? jack: that's right. david: you never forget the name of a grandchild when they come along. you know their names? jack: i know their name. i know 95% of their birthdays. [laughter] david: really? ok. that's pretty impressive. in those days you were thinking of becoming professional. you weren't sure. you met with bob jones. robert jones? david: yep. david: the most famous amateur golfer of them all. how did you actually come to meet him? jack: well, he was a speaker at the banquet of my first u.s. amateur when i was 15 years old.
at that time, he had gotten paralyzed as he went on, but he was still walking with canes at that time. and he saw me play. in the last practice round, he says, young man, i am going to come and watch you play tomorrow. here i am a 15-year-old kid, playing in my first amateur, and the greatest player who ever bob jones, wanted to come and watch me play. he came out in a merely bogey, bogey, double bogey. lost my match, but it was a great experience. he became a good friend. he was great counsel. he was a really, really good man. david: so you decided ultimately to turn professional in the year after you won the second amateur. you won the u.s. amateur twice. jack: yeah. david: you decided you would make a career out of it? jack: i didn't have any more goals to do in amateur golf. and i wanted to be the best i could be at playing golf. so i said, the on the record do that is to play against the best -- the only way that i could do that is to play against the
best. play against the pros. 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. david: but you did -- jack: i surpassed it. david: so, as you went on, you had a rivalry with arnold palmer a bit. he was the leading golfer when you came into the pros. and then you surpassed him in many ways. what was it like in the early days when you were rising and he was at the top? jack: well, i wasn't real popular, because i started beating arnold. i wasn't popular myself because i was an arnold palmer fan. and arnold was a good guy. we got to be really close friends, our wives got to be close friends. but he was, and he never really seemed to mind that i beat him more than he beat me. i'm sure he probably did inside. but 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. so i have nothing but love for arnold palmer. david: in your career, you won 18 majors. which is the most of anybody. jack: yeah.
david: and tiger woods has now come with most recent masters win but many people think trying , 15. to beat your record is impossible. jack: i don't know. tiger is pretty good. [laughter] jack: pretty good. david: so let's see, you won the masters six times. jack: yeah. david: is that your favorite tournament? the masters? jack: probably so. david: in the course of your career, you won more than 100 tournaments. jack: yeah. david: is that right? and 18 majors, and you were the leading money winner 7 times. the leading lowest shot for a tournament for a year seven times. there is no record in golf you haven't achieved. is that right? was there anything left for you? jack: i don't know if there's any record i haven't achieved, but my record is good. but you know you can always be , better. that is the neat thing about the game of golf. no matter how good you get at something, you can be better. david: in terms of being better, it's hard to know how you can do much better than you have done. let's ask you a couple of
things. what is the key to make somebody a great golfer? is it concentration? is it physical ability? is it just a combination of those things? jack: i think your mind is a big part about it. believeyou have got to in what you can do. i think you have got to learn to play within yourself. i think anybody, in all walks of life, i don't care what business you are in, you need to work within yourself. and then you need to do what you can do, not what somebody else can do. you start believing in that. and i think winning breeds winning. my first year i won the u.s. open. i won the biggest tournament in golf my first year out. and i believed that i could play. so all of a sudden, they started coming in a little easier for me. david: so in the first year that you won the u.s. open, was that in a playoff with arnold palmer? arnold'sad to fight gallery a lot, but i never had to fight arnold. he always treated me with respect. he treated me like a fellow
competitor. and so i didn't have those issues. david: one of the most enjoyable tournaments people say to ever have watched, anybody could have ever watched, was the 1986 masters. you were an old, old man of 46. jack: 46, yeah, i was 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. jack: yeah. david: 46 was considered ready for a golf cart or wheelchair, or something. jack: close. david: you were not leading the tournament until near the end. you were four shots behind with the final nine holes to go. is that right? jack: yeah, the first time i led the tournament was after 71 holes. going to the last hole. 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. but then i birdied 13. and then when i eagled 15, and birdied 16 and 17, yeah, i thought i could win. [laughter] jack: because i was in the lead. david: was that the most emotional win you have ever had? jack: well, you know, it is kind of funny. i had really finished playing golf by then. i had won two majors when i was 40 years old. and i really just enjoyed playing golf and i wanted to be part of the game. i just struck lightning in a bottle a little bit that week. and all of a sudden, i got around to the last nine or 10 holes and i remembered how to play. i mean, 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 fellow start to fill up the creek at the 12th hole, he took this pretty little shot out, cut it in the middle of the
green, i said tournament is , over. he will remember how to play. i remembered how to play. and i remembered how to finish. that was really fun being able to do that. ♪ david: you have also played a lot of presidents of the united states. jack: i have played with a few. david: which one is the best at playing golf? jack: the ones i have played with, actually, trump is. david: really? jack: trump 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. and as i now understand it, you have personally designed about 310 courses. and your company has designed over 400 or so. jack: over 400, yeah. david: and about 1000 tournaments have been held on courses, and they are in 46 different countries and 40 different states. so it's pretty impressive. jack: i got into it by following pete dye. pete dye was the premier golf course designer over the last 30 years or so. and pete one day called me. this was mid 1960's. he said, jack, i would like to have you come out and review a course. i said, what do you want me to see? he says, i want you to critique it for me. i said, pete, i don't know
anything about design. he says, you know more than you think you know. i looked through the golf course, he asked me a couple things. i said i don't know anything about that. he says, yeah you do. just tell me what you would like to see. and he did it. it peaked my interest. and i got a call from charles frazier from the pines plantation from arbor town, hilton head island. he said, jack, i would like to have you do our golf course design. i said i don't know anything about that, but i have a young guy i am working with called pete dye, that i would like to work with. i did that. i did that with pete. and about six months before the tournament, they had a heritage golf classic there since 1959. arnold won the first tournament. i loved it. i had a ball. it was just tremendous. david: talking about golf, your favorite course to play of any, other than the ones you might have designed, i assume you like those the most --
jack: absolutely. it's like, who is your favorite child, the same thing. david: which ones would you say were your favorites to play? jack: well, if i had one round, to play, i would probably go to pebble beach. we just left the u.s. open last week -- i love pebble beach. the scene out there, i love the place. i won the u.s. open, three others out there. i just love the place. my two favorite places in the game are probably augusta national, and st. andrews. david: when you finish your professional career, it was in 2005. your last tournament was the british open. was that pretty emotional? jack: yeah. yeah. david: you had your family there. jack: i had my family there. they were all there. my son, steve, caddied for me. we stopped on what is called a civic and bridge across the 18th fairway. we didn't get a decent picture of steve steve was crying too , much. tom watson was crying. they are all emotional. i'm trying to figure out how to
finish the golf tournament. they are out there crying on me. [laughter] so, we had a great time, though. it was fun. i loved it. i did not want to finish on friday, but i did finish on friday. david: so you, your last shot was a birdie? jack: you know, it is kind of funny because i wanted to make the cut that day. utted, ir three-p got to the 18th hole. the ball had not gotten anywhere near the hole all day. and i knew that that putt, the tournament was over. no matter where i hit it, the hole was going to move in front of it. i started my career in major championships in 1957 with a birdie on the first leg played. and i finished it on st. andrews with a 14-oot putt, a birdie. david: you didn't think, maybe i should stay longer? jack: i stayed long enough. [laughter] david: ok. so you have played with many prominent individuals over the years and prominent golfers. if you could pick any golfer to be your partner in a twosome, who would you pick?
-- who would you want to have as your partner? jack: i think i would have to pick tiger today. but through the years, i never got to play with bobby jones. i knew him and really loved the man. i would have loved to play with jones. i would have loved -- i played quite a bit of golf with hogan. hogan was fantastic. david: you have also played with a lot of presidents of the united states. jack: i've played with a few. david: which one is the best? at playing golf? jack: well, the ones i have played with, actually trump is , probably the best player. david: really? jack: trump plays a little bit like i do. he doesn't really ever finish many holes, but he can hit the ball. he goes out and plays and enjoys it. but he has won several club championships. he can play. gerald ford, i played 50 rounds with ford. i used to play with him at the at&t every year. forward was about a 13 handicap. but he played to a 13 handicap. clinton, i never knew what he
might do. clinton, he might play to a 10 or play to a 30. but he had a nice golf swing. all these guys enjoy playing golf. i don't think any one of them really were very serious about the game, but they all enjoyed playing. 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, putt it out as opposed to you can have it? why is that done so much? jack: i think that is a little bit of politics. david: courtesy, or? jack: i think that is a little bit of politics [laughter] , too. jack: you give me mine and i'll give you yours. that kind of routine, which is not golf. david: you have a grandson who recently at a masters par 3 tournament got a hole in one. is that a fairly emotional thing
, to see your grandson get a hole in one? jack: that's pretty good. it was a funny story. his name is gt. gary thomas after his father. he is a junior. we went out to play nine holes. i always ask the kids if they would caddy for me every year. the masters tournament, i said, do you want to hit a ball? he says, well none of my cousins have gotten it on the green. i said, ok. he says i would love to hit a ball. i said, you might as well hit a hole in one. he says, ok. he says papaw, i'm papaw, thinks i will make a hole in one. he says, really? darn it if the next day he knocks it right in the hole. gary was jumping all over the place. my son gary. -- who my son gary is named after. he was such a great role model. tom watson was jumping all over the place. ♪ david: i'd like to talk about how you and your wife have decided to focus your
david: so, when players are playing golf in a tournament, say you are paired with somebody, do you actually talk during when you're walking down the fairway? jack: sure. david: i thought they didn't even talk to each other. jack: the guys are good friends. arnold and i had a fierce rivalry. and we blew more tournaments
ourselves trying to beat each other than worrying about the field. but we would get off the golf course, and we would look at it and say, we did it again. we both shot 75 while everybody else shot 65. but just the two of us tried to beat each other. we would shake hands and ask where are you going to dinner , tonight? i love the golf kids today. i love watching when gary woodland finished. i don't know if you saw on television, but you saw four or five of the other players congratulated him after. when justin thomas won the pga two years ago, ricky fowler and jordan spieth were waiting for him when he finished. the guys really support each other. and they've got enough money. they are not worried about the money. they know it's a game. those guys are their friends and they enjoy it. david: in recent years, tiger woods has struggled a bit. 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 by anybody?
jack: i think so. the way brooks koepka is going, he could do it before tiger. i remember, the last one that wasr won before day this torrey pines in san diego. tiger hit it off over the place and he won the tournament. 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 because he doesn't want to hurt himself. and tiger's short game is fantastic. tiger is going to win a lot more tournaments. whether he is going to win three or four more major tournaments, tiger his 43,but and in the game of golf today, that 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: well, we started, david, back in 1966.
our daughter was 11 months old. and she started choking. and we couldn't understand why. we thought we would get her to the doctor and she would be fine. finally the doctor says, we need to get her down to the children's hospital. we went down to columbus children's hospital, now nationwide children's hospital. they found a crayon in her windpipe. and they didn't have -- i don't know what they did, but they did not have a pediatric broncoscope. they had an adult broncoscope. broke the crayon, dropped it into her lungs. she got pneumonia. for about six days she was touch and go. and as barbara and i were sitting, waiting, we said, if we ever are in a position to help others, we want it to be children. and then 15 years ago, the honda tournament moved up from fort lauderdale to the palm beach area. a fellow named fred millsaps came to me, he ran charities, and he said jack, what do you , think of this area for children's charities? i looked at barbara and said, do you want to go for it?
she said, go for it. so we started our foundation. we have been the main beneficiary, honda, several other events. and we haven't really done anything large. but we have raised a little over $100 million in the past 15 years. david: that is pretty impressive. jack: that is pretty good. [applause] david: the miami city children's hospital has been renamed in your honor. jack: miami was miami children's, and we made in association with miami children's. after a couple years, they said, we would like to be a global hospital. so we would like to use the nicklaus name. and it's fantastic. to see what has happened with these kids, i want to tell you one thing, it is far more important than a four-foot putt. and i enjoy it a lot more. david: you enjoy it -- in other words, the satisfaction of winning the masters. jack: it's fantastic. ofid: but the satisfaction saving a child's life is -- jack: it's unbelievable.
david: it's been a great life and a great inspiration for so many americans and for those around the world. thank you for everything you've done for the golf world and for our country, and for philanthropy. thank you. jack: well, david, thank you for having me. i appreciate it. david: thank you very much. jack: thanks. [applause] ♪
♪ emily: 10 years ago, travis kalanick and garrett camp launched uber cab, an elite car service in san francisco. within five years, uber had a shortened name and completed one billion rides. two years after that, the number grew to five billion across 600 cities and 70 countries. it became one of the fastest growing start-ups ever. services ballooned to cover nearly all modes of transportation, carpool, helicopter, even water taxi. but all that growth came with many challenges. regulators and taxi drivers protested uber's expansion.