IS FOOD a passion or fuel for me? Both. I say both because I’ve travelled a lot around the world as a golfer and businessman and I have developed a great palate, and generally love the cuisine of whatever country I’m in. I love spicy food. I’m a big sushi fan. And I really love the simple, raw foods that come out of Australia like roast pork, chicken and beef. My palate is really favourable to experimenting with a lot of different foods while I’m away from home.
When I workout, I’ll always consume a protein shake at the end of every gym session to ensure my muscles and body are getting what they need to replenish after what are generally about two-hour workouts.
Food For The Fairways
When I played professional golf, for breakfast I would have steak and eggs with honey on top. As weird as that sounds, I needed to have food that was sustainable for a large portion of the day – I couldn’t afford to go through periods of peaks and troughs where my energy levels dropped. So I never ate anything with added sugar in it for breakfast.
I found the honey on top of steak and eggs worked for me and I would also have a bowl of oatmeal and some wholemeal toast if required. Again, the reason I did this was for sustained energy. I generally had an 8.30am tee-time for a round that took about five hours to complete. So that’s a 1.30pm finish, and then when you throw in my post-round media commitments and a trip to the driving range to work on my game, it’s 3pm and I simply didn’t have time to eat. I supplemented this by keeping a low-sugar protein bar in my golf bag for a snack during the round and I would make sure I had a great meal in the evening.
The steak and eggs thing was trial and error. I realised when it came to my intestinal health, what you put into it is what you get out of it. I used to get bad gas pains because I was putting the wrong foods in my body and you simply can’t afford to do that out on the golf course. So my solution was to find the most sustainable foods and put them in my body in the morning to get me through to the end of the day. I learnt very quickly that the combination of protein-rich eggs and low-fat steak, along with the honey, kept me going for five to six hours. My gulty pleasure? I loved peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches on wholemeal bread. I’d put them in my golf bag for ‘emergency supplies’.
When I wasn’t playing golf I had entirely different dietary habits. I have cereal and wholemeal toast when I’m at home. When I’m on the road I might have an omelette or eggs of some sort. When you’re sitting in a boardroom you sometimes forget your brain actually needs energy – it needs fuel to be able to properly function. So, like when I’m playing golf, I like to get a constant balance so I avoid those dips in energy. One thing that never changes is my lunch – I always eat a salad here at home or in the office. Salads are healthy, clean and an easy food to prepare with fresh ingredients.
At dinner time the world is my oyster, basically. Donna Hay is my favourite celebrity chef out of Australia. We have maybe a dozen of her books in our pantry. Everything she does we love to prepare and eat so I can just throw a dart at one of the pages and we will make that meal for the evening.
What The Shark Won’t Bite
What foods shouldn’t you eat? Well I pretty much don’t eat anything white. I don’t eat white rice or white bread. I don’t avoid them 100 percent – every now and then you can’t avoid them – but anything white, like potatoes, I keep to a bare minimum.
Snack options on a golf course can be difficult depending on what’s available at your halfway house but I always go for the chicken salad or similar, preferably without mayonnaise.
I don’t eat a lot when I’m playing. I like my stomach to have something in it but not growling. It’s important not to feel like you’ve eaten something too heavy because your body starts to process it and then you really feel like you’ve eaten something and become lethargic.
When He Was Hooked On Good Health
A turning point in my career came in 1993 at the PGA Championship at Inverness. I was walking off the golf course with these violent headaches and I couldn’t work out what was going on. I eventually figured out I wasn’t drinking enough water.
Back in those days a lot of tournaments were sponsored by soft-drink companies and when I saw their products in Eskies on the tees, I naturally gravitated towards them as a refreshment. It turned out my body was reacting badly to the sugar content in these drinks and from that day in August 1993 I haven’t consumed a soft drink since. As a result my headaches have gone away and I drink at least three litres of water a day, routinely, no matter what because it cleanses my body.
This also proved to be the catalyst for change in the rest of my diet because it motivated me to find out what foods worked best for me. Whether it’s a good balanced fish or chicken meal … or a good piece of Greg Norman Wagyu steak every couple of weeks, the key to everything for me is moderation – not overindulging in any of the foods I truly love.
Copy my dietary habits and you’ll notice some huge changes to your health too.