DADE CITY, FL — Daniel Berger was taught at a very young age the consecration required for greatness.
Berger is a sophomore golfer for the Florida State Seminoles who, over the past two months, was named to the Ben Hogan Watch List, ranks third in the Arnold Palmer Cup standings and won his first career individual collegiate title at the 2013 Gator Invitational.
Berger credits much of his athletic success to the knowledge and mentorship provided by his father, Jay, a former professional tennis player and current Captain of United States Olympic tennis team.
“(He has had an) unbelievable impact,” said Berger, “Not many kids have a father that played professional sports who knows what it takes. When I asked him how long he’d practice, he said he would practice until his hands would bleed. And that’s the kind of mentality I’ve looked at since.”
“And, it’s really made a big difference for my game.”
The Seminole sophomore fell in love with the sport at the age of eleven after completing his first weekend golf camp. Soon after, he asked his father what was required to be the best and was instructed to practice every day for five hours.
Daniel put in eight, every day.
Despite Berger’s aspirations for success at a young age, only recently has he realized how close he is to attaining his ultimate goal of playing golf professionally and the dedication required to reach the next level.
“Everyone wants to be a professional but there are so few that actually have the drive to do it and I think I kind of realized, in the last year in a half, that I can go along and do what I’m doing and be mediocre or, I can really try to make a difference in how I practice,” Berger said.
“And it clearly shows that I did.”
Although Berger maintains a tunnel-vision focus while on the golf course, like any college sophomore, he finds time to relax and be a normal student. He is a member at Florida State’s chapter of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity.
Berger explained that between academics, athletics and social responsibilities, most student athletes are only able excel within two of the three categories at best. But, by following a strict schedule and setting aside weekly goals, Berger believes he has a balance of all three.
However, it’s the lack of commonality and sheer individuality that lured Berger to the game he loves and is incessantly challenged by.
“Every day is a different day. Today is 100 times different than yesterday. It’s the same course but you have to come at it with a completely different mindset. That’s what really makes it fun for me,” Berger said.
He showed flashes of brilliance during his round Monday at the 2013 USF Invitational, rescuing himself in regularity with incredible recovery shots and long par putts as he finished with a five-under 67.
His superb second round vaulted him into sole possession of second place and just two shots behind the leader as Berger searches for his second individual title in successive tournaments.