This is my first job in golf (that is me with the semi-mullet on the far left) at the 1984 Open caddying for my great friend John Garner, Ryder Cup player, short game genius and golfing mentor.
I had caddied for John in few Pro-Ams that year and he wanted to have a go at the Open. He sailed through local qualifying at Scotscraig where he played with Manuel Ballesteros and there we were at St Andrews. This was the third round in which John played with Ken Brown, it was quite an amazing experience.
In those days, the practice ground at St Andrews was the other side of town and there were courtesy cars to transfer players and caddies to the first tee. We were just about to depart when there was a knock on the window and there was the great Gary Player who asked if he could join us since he was running a bit late.
Gary got talking to John, told us how well he was playing (positive mindset) and even asked me a few questions. He was really charming and I’ll never forget it. Gary Player was the first superstar I had ever properly met and at the time assumed we would never meet again. I was wrong!
This picture (above) was taken the day after the 2014 Masters & I had been invited to perform for The Gary Player Invitational charity golf event at Champions Retreat near Augusta.
Instead of Jeremy watching Gary Player, Gary Player watched Jeremy: an unthinkable occurrence for either of us 30 years prior!
The teenage caddie would not have seen that in his future but John Garner saw something and gave me the chance to turn professional after university.
The caddie in the car was not enough at that time to be a golf professional and would have only dreamt that in the intervening years he would have switched hands and broken par in a professional event left handed, coached a national champion, obtained a degree in psychology, become PGA qualified in two countries, learned a foreign language fluently (Dutch), become an after-dinner speaker, met most of his golfing heroes, won a trick shot competition in the USA and performed in 40 different countries around the world!
It is quite a surprising story (don’t forget, it took me 30 years) but it leads to the conclusion that we can all do more than we imagine……..eventually!
Both John Garner and Gary Player told me – and I agree with them – that by starting something, you will be way ahead of most people. By persisting and never giving up, you’ll have a chance of achieving your dreams.
Both men believed that they could improve their game and take on the world, even before they actually could.
Everyone who watches my show assumes that they are watching natural talent. It is often assumed that I could always hit amazing shots or, that I was born ambidextrous.
The truth is quite different. I was not even in the top six juniors at my club as a right-handed teenager. However, I thought I could learn and resolved to keep going.
Psychologist Carol Dweck calls this a Growth Mindset. She has produced evidence showing that mindset determines success in education, learning and also the workplace.
I have recently adopted this theme as part of my after dinner speech and have found it always resonates with the experience of successful people.
It is not a new idea, but it is a good one as illustrated by the words of the similarly minded Henry Ford who said;
‘’If you think you can, then maybe you can. If you think you can’t, you’re right’’.