Sunday, April 26, 2009

Playing "Tiger Golf"...


Let me start by admitting that I am not a Tiger "fan" - there is no denying he is a dominant presence, and probably the best ever, but he's not someone I root for. It's kind of like cheering for the Yankees or the Patriots - it's easy to be a fan because they are almost guaranteed to win. I'm more of a Raiders and A's fan...I suppose I like some uncertainty with those whom I cheer for...
We've all heard about (and witnessed) what a fierce competitor that Tiger is. More specifically, we often hear that he "never quits" and is "always playing to win" - contrary to some PGA players who,once they know they are out of contention, seem to play it safe.
Anyway, enough background info - this post is about a real life experience. I am a decent golfer,but will never be a real low handicapper. My handicap fluctuates between 8 and 12, depending on the season and my iron game. I've been playing competitively for about a year (thanks TGC Amateur Tour), so no one would ever suggest that my competitive edge is as finely honed as a well stropped razor. Generally, I play hard because I want to do well, but certainly accept my shortcomings with good humor. What follows is a story about how I learned what "Tiger Golf" really means to us mere mortals.
Last week, I was playing golf with some buddies - we were playing cart vs cart, and our team won the front nine (and the small wager) by a couple of strokes. I was low man by 3 strokes, with a 40. At the turn, on of my colleagues suggested he and I play straight up on the back nine with a small side bet. I gladly accepted, eager for a little individual challenge (note that I bested him by 4 strokes on the front). My pal, let's call him "Phil", started the back nine like a man afire - 5 under after 4 holes, and no putts of more than 8 feet. As I found myself 8 strokes down after 4 holes...I was thinking that I had been completely set up. So what did I do ? Did I suck it up, and focus ? Draw upon my enormous intestinal fortitude ? Will myself to mount a comeback ?
Not exactly.... I conceded the bet, effectively giving up after 4 holes (impressive,huh ?). I then proposed a second bet match play for the final 5 holes, which he (obviously) accepted, as this looked like a sure thing for him. Then, something funny happened - I hit it to 4 feet on a par three and he went over the green and into some tall grass. I birdied, and he triple bogeyed (we continued to play as if it were stroke play, because the team bets were still on). Two holes later, I had won three in a row, and thus won the second bet (3 and 2). We then agreed on a THIRD bet - stroke play for the last two holes. I went up one stroke on 17, and we were both in the fairway on 18. I pulled my approach left, while he was just short of the green. At the end, he had a four footer for par, which he missed - while I made my 8 footer for a bogey, and the win.
Now for the moral of the story, and the entire point of this post. When I tallied up the final totals for the back nine, and circled the final scores, I was rather violently reminded of all those times I had heard about Tiger "never giving up". You see, I had beaten "Phil" by one stroke...meaning that I would have won the ORIGINAL BET, if only I had not given up after 4 holes...
I think that's what they mean by "Tiger Golf".... . As obvious as this all may seem to those seasoned competitors out there, it was a very enlightening and powerful lesson to me.

5 comments:

AppleDawg said...

My only beef with Tiger is that I feel he really holds tournaments hostage by skipping them or playing them.

Family member helps a tournament that is very well known but has never gotten Tiger and it really does hurt them in almost all aspects

I am NOT saying Tiger should be forced to do anything but I do think he should playing a few more times a year.

Adam said...

Great story. I actually had a similar moment this weekend. I'm a 6 handicap, and I generally consider it a failure if I don't break 80. First hole, par-4, I make a smooth 8 (hooked drive, had to pitch out, flubbed chip, and a nice 4 putt). But I put it out of my mind, reminded myself that it's only one hole, didn't let it get to me. I didn't really get much going on the front, but tried not to get down on myself. On the back I started feeling it, made 3 birdies in a row, only one bogey. My splits were 45+33 = 78. That's about average for my handicap, but it's my 3rd round of the year, so I was happy. What even made me feel better was that I didn't give up after posting a snowman, didn't get flustered. I think that's the kind of mental toughness that Tiger always talks about.

Marc Windahl said...

Its the Bob Rotella thing. Clear your mind, hit every shot as if it had the same importance, and don't let the last hole affect this hole.

Now, once you can do all that without conceeding the first bet, you will be on your way to Tiger-zone (and well past me).

Heather said...

I'm delighted to add "Tiger Golf" to my golfing lexicon.

I recently decided to stop playing "Chicken S@#t Golf," and go for it. First, it is better to say I'm playing "Tiger Golf," rather than NOT playing "Chicken S@#t Golf." It's a positive as opposed to my negative. Second, I can use it around my kids. BONUS!

I did give up last week on a round where I had a 43 on the hard nine and then started double, triple on the back. Yes, the triple was a par-3, thank you very much! I ended up with a 90. Wonder what I could have done if I was playing "Tiger Golf?"

Nice playing and good BCC story--with a moral no less!

earn quick money said...

Thus he is named the best golf player of all time. How does he do that?