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Gary Sobba: Confidence Wins Championships!

On this episode of Pro Mindset® Podcast, host Craig Domann interviews Gary Sobba, Tournament Director for Wells Fargo Championships, who shares his insights on what it takes to have a successful career on the PGA tour. Gary is a Kansas native and attended the University of Kansas where he was one of Craig’s roommates. Gary spent 15 years with Learfield Communications Inc. as General Manager of Tar Heel Sports Marketing in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Since 2017, he has run the Wells Fargo Championship and has seen many athletes compete including his favorite to watch, Tiger Woods. Gary shares his observations and what he believes is the difference between a great athlete and mediocre athlete. He also talks about two of the elements to creating a Pro Mindset and how he has seen them play into the careers of successful athletes.

Gary explains how the 156th athlete in the tournament has virtually the same swing and mechanics as the top 5 athletes. The difference is in their mindset and their confidence. “The swings look very similar. The ball flights similar. The real difference is in their confidence.” Gary describes it as a strong belief in yourself, which parallels Pro Mindset’s 7 Building Blocks, which identifies belief as the first block. As Domann states, “In everything we do, we’re either breathing in the oxygen of doubt or belief.

To explain his point further, Gary uses the example of Gary Woodland and his incredible self-belief. “He always believed he could be the best. He just believed in his heart he could do it. You just have to believe that “I'm more athletic. I'm a better putter. I'm a better ball striker. You have to have that belief.” Confidence comes from the belief you have in yourself and in your own abilities.

Gary also talked about being in the “zone” or finding your “flow.” “Gary (Woodland) was in the zone. Nothing bothered him. He just had that inner confidence.” When you start to enter that zone and feel that flow, nothing is going to shake your confidence. You see your competition through a filter and you perform at the highest level. “Your focus is so surreal that nothing bothers you and you can play at a higher level. I think a lot of times when you're ‘in the zone,’ things are always looking good. You see the competition with the filter.” The “zone” is where peak performance takes place and where an individual’s self-confidence becomes apparent.

Gary also talked about Kansas City Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes and the obvious confidence he has in himself. “Patrick Mahomes gets so much recognition and notoriety for throwing the ball, left-handed, underhanded, you know, blind passes, and all these types of things. But I think the differentiator for him is his leadership, his willpower, his confidence, his belief in the team, and it's contagious.” When Mahomes believes, the entire team believes as well.

Gary explains how passion plays a key role in an individual’s self-belief, confidence, and work ethic. “You have to have that passion to be able to achieve at the highest level and the confidence to stay there.” Your work ethic will be fueled by your passion. Without passion, you will not have the desire to put in the work needed to achieve success. This is not only true in athletics but in life as well. “I think that great athletes are passionate about what they do. When they wake up the morning, they want to be the best. They found a career, they found a sport, or they found something that they love doing. I think passion drives everything.” Gary mentions the passion he has for his career. He loves what he does for a living and it is what gets him out of bed each morning. Passion is what drives an athlete’s work-ethic. Without passion, it is impossible to reach success.

Belief and passion are two important key elements to developing a Pro Mindset. Belief plays a huge role in an athlete’s confidence while passion contributes to their hard-work ethic. Without belief, a player will not have the confidence to perform at the highest level. Without passion, they will not have the desire to put in the work that will lead them to success. Developing your self-belief and finding your true passion is crucial to creating your own Pro Mindset.

Listen to the podcast here.

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