I wrote last about my surprise that a recent trip to Upstate New York brought back some unpleasant childhood memories that I had trouble shaking. It seems that we have a tendency to inflate the negative and downplay the positive in our lives.
I’ve also written before how playing golf has taught me life lessons. At nine years of age, I learned to be quiet when others are putting, to tend the pin for a competitor and to replace divots in the fairway. It is an invaluable lesson to play a sport where you call penalties on yourself even when you are deep in the trees and no one else is around.
The one thing that I still haven’t learned is how to recover from a bad hole. Whether playing for fun or in tournament competition, a double bogey almost guarantees that I’ll play the next two holes to less than my ability. It seems that I can’t shake off the negative of the immediate past.
Jordan Spieth exhibited the behavior in the final round of The British Open yesterday that I need to learn. In the tournament lead, Jordan hit what may have been the worst tee shot of his career on the 13th hole. Spectators had to help him find his ball 75 yards to the right of the fairway and unplayable.
After 20 minutes of contemplation and dialogue with an official about his options, Jordan took an unplayable lie and a penalty stroke with line of sight relief to find himself hitting his third shot from the driving range. A miraculous bogey allowed Matt Kuchar to take the lead.
Composed, Jordan teed second on the 14th hole and hit a perfect tee shot, the exact opposite of the 13th. Then the miracles began to happen as he went birdie, eagle, birdie, birdie to take a two shot lead going into the final hole. On the 18th, Jordan recorded a par, to win the tournament by 3.
Actually, Jordan played the earlier holes pretty awful too. He was 3 over after 9 with his bogey on 13th putting him at 4 over. The TV commentators weren’t hopeful about his chances to win, but going 5 under in the last 6 holes earned the praise of even Jack Nicklaus on twitter.
I want to the develop that in my golf game and in my life. Even when the day isn’t the best, I want to put it in perspective and start each day with a fresh start. Jordan learned from his past mistakes, but he didn’t let them ruin his future.
Blessings, my friend,