Those are the two words LPGA legend Nancy Lopez said her dad told her when she first picked up a golf club as a young girl, and it's a mantra she maintains to this day.
Lopez shared stories of her golf career Sunday as a guest of the PGA Teaching and Coaching Summit. The winner of 48 LPGA tournaments, including three majors, wasn't always the cool, calm player who dominated the sport when she burst on the scene in the mid-1970s. In fact, Lopez admitted her competitive drive got the best of her early on.
"When I was growing up, I wanted to be good right away, and that just doesn't happen," Lopez said. "You have to work at it. Anger wasn't a good thing. The first time I slammed my club in the ground, my dad tapped me with his golf glove and said, 'If you ever do that again, I'm going to hit you with this glove.' He scared me. He made me realize that getting mad was not going to make me play better.
"So when I'd get angry, he would look at me and say, 'Do you want to shoot 39 or do you want to shoot 40?' And even though it was only one shot, I didn't want to shoot 40. And anger made me shoot 40, while keeping calm, I would shoot 39."
Lopez learned quickly. She qualified for the New Mexico women's amateur at 11 and won the tournament one year later. She played on the boys golf team in high school -- because there was no girls team. And she turned down Arizona to play collegiate golf at Tulsa, because they offered her a scholarship. She made Arizona pay for that snub by winning a national championship before turning pro in 1977.
And that all comes back to Lopez's father, who taught his daughter more than just the physical aspect of the game.
"He taught me a lot about the positive attitude of playing golf," Lopez said. "Never be negative because when you think negative thoughts, negative things happen for some reason. There were times when I'd hit a shot and I thought I was in trouble, he could tell right away because my body language changed.
"So he'd say, 'Nancy, don't worry about it until you get there.' So then when I started relaxing and I wouldn't worry about it, so when I'd get to the ball, I'd always have a shot, for some reason."
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Lopez not only became one of the top players on the LPGA Tour, she almost single-handedly revolutionized the sport. She won nine tournaments in her first full season -- including five in a row -- earning her rookie of the year, player of the year, lowest scoring average and a Sports Illustrated cover story at a time when few women's tournaments were televised. The Associated Press named her the female athlete of the year in 1978.
She followed that up with nine more wins in 1979 and was the first player in women's golf to make $200,000 in a season. Even after taking time off to have three daughters, she continued to perform at the highest level. The only victory that eluded her was a U.S. Women's Open victory, although she had four runner-up finishes.
So what made her so good for so long? Lopez believes her attitude gave her an edge on the course.
"The positive thoughts, for some reason in golf, if you have positive thoughts, positive things happen," Lopez said. "I saw that happen on the LPGA Tour, when I was playing against players who weren't playing well. I knew was going to beat them because their attitudes changed. When they hit a bad shot, they just kept going instead of walking away, forgetting that bad shot and enjoying the rest of the day."