As I started to watch today's TV coverage for the 2011 Frys.com Open at CordeValle Golf Club, a couple of things came to my mind. I knew that we would get a healthy amount of Tiger Woods. This was Tiger's first tournament since the PGA Championship. He was looking for his first victory since 2009 and looking to assess his game before the Presidents Cup where he was a captain's pick for Freddy Couples. I also knew that Ernie Els would be a main participant, as he was looking for his first top 10 of 2011 and turning up his game for his Presidents Cup appearance for Captain Greg Norman. We also had the stories about Briny Baird and Bryce Molder looking for their first wins on the PGA Tour after sixteen and ten years respectively. Finally there were the great coverage of Shane Bertsch, Bud Cauley, David Hearn and Billy Horschel all looking to secure their cards for the 2012 PGA Tour season.
Watching all this occur in front of me today, it became very clear that today's Lesson Learned was about PERSEVERANCE.
According to Dictionary.com the definition of Perseverance is:
"steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement."
With Tiger and Ernie, each a former number one in the world , both struggling with their games for many different reasons, but both have the heart and desire to work on their games back to levels where they were in the past when each was a force around the world.
With Briny and Bryce continuing to tee it up week after week continuing looking for their first wins. It is not easy to stand out in the hot sun or the rain week after week and not attaining your goal of winning. To show such desire and stamina after more then a decade out on tour says a lot about each person's character. We had Briny chipping in from 39 ft off the green on the 71st hole for an eagle to take a one shot lead, to then seeing Bryce make birdie on the 72nd hole from 11 ft to force a playoff.
With Shane, Bud, David and Billy, we have all four guys on the bubble to make the top 125 to keep their tour cards for next season. Most golfers on the bubble have had limited experiences on tour or have not played up to their potential. With the pressure mounting in these final few weeks, it becomes more and more difficult to attain the goal. Each of these guys shot in the mid to low 60's on Sunday to elevate their status and get them closer to having full status next year.
Finally, we have had the playoff. Each player was giving themselves opportunities to lock up their first title. Like a championship fight, each player going toe to toe with against the other. This playoff went back and forth with Bryce and Briny each being given putts to win. In the end, it was Bryce making a putt on 6th playoff to achieve his first title.
In the end, today's Lesson Learned about PERSEVERANCE is great lesson for all golfers. In this sport, the golfers who continue to grind it out with practice and believe what they are striving for are the ones that in the end will reach the gold at the end of the rainbow. Great job Bryce! You reached the pot of gold!
Craig Renshaw is the Director of Instruction at Lake Winnipesaukee Golf Club in New Durham, NH during the summer months and Lead Instructor for Golf Digest in Scottsdale, Arizona for the winter.