The drive to compete doesn’t stop when athletes leave the field

Posted at 10:48 PM, Aug 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-14 14:07:53-04

HELENA — At first glance you would probably say there is no connection between football and golf.

Tell that to Tom White and he’ll probably correct you. That’s because the Bozeman resident is quite good at both. White was a member of the 1984 Montana State National Championship team and recently won the 2018 Montana Men’s Senior Golf Championship.

Even though one requires catching a ball and the other is hitting one, there is a major connecting theme.

“The concentration,” said White. “You know, I played wide receiver, so I think with a lot of flak going on around you here on the golf course or otherwise on a football field, the ability to concentrate on just the ball. Whether it’s a golf ball or football. Whether you’re going to get hit or you got issues out on the golf course as well. So it’s a continuation of the competitive spirit, that’s for sure. I play a lot of golf because it satisfies that (thirst) to compete.”

That’s the common thread for all great athletes. The drive to compete, no matter the sport.

“The guys I play with are ultra competitive and I try and raise the ante on them as much as I can. I love it,” continued White. “I love to compete with my buddies. I like to play scratch golf and get rid of those strokes out there. That’s just a lot of fun for me. Really after playing at MSU, finding golf as the real competitive outlet has been a huge deal. And again, that was 35 years ago. So it’s a big part of the enjoyment of what I do in life is to compete.”

But just because someone is a great athlete dosen’t mean they are great at golf.

“There are a lot of really, really good athletes that end up very good at golf,” said the champion. “On the other hand, I’ve seen tremendous athletes that can’t play a lick of golf. Football players and otherwise.”