How this Tour player competes with AND coaches his opponents at the same time

After more than two decades as a professional, Robert Rock is one of the game’s most experienced Tour pros. That’s why his peers on the European Tour have long sought out his expertise — so much so that Rock now has other instructors on his team to help manage his client load, which now exceeds 20 players.

The thing is, at 44 years old, in addition to his instruction workload, Rock is still competing on the European Tour. The Englishman teed it up in 17 events in 2021. And that puts Rock in a unique category: he’s playing against the some of the same people he’s coaching.

On this week’s episode of Off Course with Claude Harmon, Rock explained how he makes the seemingly odd dynamic work for him.

Robert Rock and Tiger Woods
What it’s like to play in the final group with Tiger — and win
By: Jessica Marksbury

“I get ready for my tournaments the days before,” Rock said. “When I turn up on a Monday, I’m not turning up on a Monday really for me, unless it’s a brand-new venue. Most of the time, I’m turning up for them, knowing that I’ve done my work at home, and all I really need to do is either play the pro-am or just do nine holes and feel like I’m ready.

“I think I got used to sort of separating the two when I was an assistant pro, doing lessons, and then you go out and play,” Rock continued. “And I made the mistake many times then, just — ‘Oh, I’ve just come up with a great idea in that lesson, I’m going to give that a whirl on the course.’ And that never works. I think I learned to separate the lessons from my golf. And because I’ve pretty much always been my own coach of my own game, I could quite quickly go, that was for him, but what was my last swing thought from a week ago when I was on the range? And I’ve always wrote them down, thankfully, so that helped.”

For more from Rock, including what it’s like to play in the final group with Tiger Woods and come out on top, check out the full interview below. Editor

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on