Why I like to watch Tiger play Golf…

Author: The Golf Sherpa  |  Category: The Mental Golf Game

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Every time I watch this amazing talent, I learn something.

The Sherpa is well aware of the fact that more words have been written about Tiger Woods than possibly any other athlete in the history of sports.

Why then would you suppose that  I wish to add to that overwhelming litany of articles? 

Every time.  I mean EVERY TIME, I watch him play, I learn something. 

Now that I am driven to write passionately about this sport in the spirit of advice, I want to share what I learned yesterday…but first (as the Sherpa loves to do) let me set the context for my insight.

Everyone who is a golfer, and several non golfers are painfully aware of Tiger’s conspicuous absence from the sport.

First there was that amazing US Open last year, then the devastating news about his knee.  I can’t imagine the pain and discomfort he experienced in the bid to win the trophy.  What I do know is that his legend only grew.

So what comes from winning so much?  How about stellar, atmospheric and bone crushing expectations from sponsors, fans and media.  He is the best golfer on the planet and that fact is globally known in every language on the planet. 

Quite simply, his scoreboard is universal and transparent.  Imagine getting out of bed knowing that that if you screw up, you will be the center of attention across the globe.  Pressure?  I think so.

Now the Sherpa is no apologist for Tiger.  He has yaghts, presidential access and more money than than he will ever be able to spend.  The only place the Sherpa is keeping up is in the “hot wife” category.

So last week, Tiger tees it up after several months off and starts to get his game going (after only a couple of warm up tournaments).

On Sunday he is in contention.  Literally MILLIONS of eyes are on his every move.  The gallery following Tiger is larger than my home town.  Everyone is wondering if he will ever be “Tiger” again.

Tiger catches O’Hair and they are headed into 16… tied at five under.

O’Hair puts it in the fairway and Tiger puts it in the right rough (and draws a horrible lie) .  Now Tiger will have to lay up or try to hit a risky water carry.  O’Hair has a HUGE advantage.

Now with scull numbing pressure and Johnny Miller setting the scene. Johnny tries to articulate what every other human in that condition would think  (given the surreal pressure and circumstance).  As Tiger walks to his ball Johnny says, “It will be interesting to see his reaction (to what a bad lie he has) when he sees it.  He will not be pleased”.

At this point, I am riveted …I want to see how the greatest golfer on the planet reacts to a lie he cannot possibly get up and down from when his competitor is in the middle of the fairway.

Tiger walks up to the ball, notes it, instantly knows what is up (mandatory layup) and with an expression I would use to note the time of day on my watch…..starts to make his shot plan.

No emotion, only committment to the next shot.

I rewound that moment over a dozen times.  You don’t fake that.  You only react.  I will remember that one moment as one of his greatest because of the context.  With so much on the line….Tiger never stopped playing golf.

Bottom line:  If Tiger cannot rewind the clock, neither can you.  You can’t be him, but you can remember, that no matter what, you always have another shot to play..so make the most of it.

By the way he drained a 900 foot putt for birdie on 18 and won..but you probably already guessed that…he is Tiger after all.

Play on…

The Sherpa

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