It's the night after the WWE’S big SummerSlam event, and The Miz has appeared out of nowhere to add insult to his rival Dolph Ziggler’s injuries. With cameras rolling, he administers a Figure Four Leg Lock. Ziggler, still hobbled from his match with Goldberg the night before, writhes on the mat as the man they call The A-Lister performs his signature finishing move: The Skull Crushing Finale. The crowd in Toronto goes wild. The Miz’s work here is done.
This is what constitutes a 9-to-5 in The Miz’s world. It’s physical. It’s violent. It’s a long way from a desk job. But when it comes time to unwind from the pile-driving life of a WWE superstar, The Miz turns to the same outlet we all do: golf.
Known to close friends and the IRS as Mike Mizanin, The Miz first picked up the game when he was 12, playing Sunday rounds with his father, uncle and cousin. Losers bought dinner. They played public courses all around northeast Ohio, and he still remembers draining a 75-footer to seal a victory for his father and himself. Maybe not quite as impressive as besting John Cena in the main event of 2011’s WrestleMania XXVII, but still pretty good.
“With WWE, right before I go out to the ring, I’m focusing. I’m getting my mind absolutely correct so I know I can do my best,” he says. “I look at golf as relaxation. But I have to have that focus so I can play well, because if I don’t play well, that relaxation goes away, and I get very pissed real quick."
For a former WWE champion who has played a heel for much of his career (wrestling speak for “bad guy”), that focus (and temper) come with the territory. But The Miz doesn’t let that get in the way of his primary goal when he gets to the course: to go out there and have fun.
“I don’t even keep score anymore. I always look for the shots. Those are the things that I remember,” he says. His Los Angeles golf buddies include Michael Fabiano of NFL Network and Jerry Cantrell from ’90s grunge legends Alice in Chains.
This spring The Miz traveled to Pebble Beach, which he calls the best course he has ever played, for a U.S. Open preview. He was moving from Austin to Los Angeles and knew his wife, Maryse—who co-stars in the couple’s USA reality series, “Miz & Mrs.”—wouldn’t want him fl ying off to play golf. The Miz kept the invitation a secret ... until his dad let it slip. “She found out and wasn’t too happy about it,” he says. “You’ll see it all on ‘Miz & Mrs.’ ”
Now he plans to start traveling with his clubs—extra-stiff Callaways—so he can play on the road. He has been taking lessons at GolfTEC to help fix his tendency to, as he puts it, “swing too freakin’ hard.”
With a 1½-year-old daughter, Monroe, and another on the way, opportunities for a quick loop could become even harder. Not that The Miz is complaining. He sees it as an opportunity to pass down his love of golf to his children, just like his father did.
“I’m going to give them every piece of knowledge that I have to help them enjoy the game,” he says. “Because for me, there’s nothing better than going out with friends and hitting the ball around.”
Originally Appeared on Golf Digest