As I was preparing to watch the final round television coverage of the Sony Open on the Golf Channel, I was comparing the two leaders heading into Sunday. We had Jeff Maggert, 47 years old, 26 years on tour, and 3 PGA Tour victories and we had Matt Every, 28 year old, long driving youngster looking to cash in for his first victory on tour. I felt like this would make a difference.
Playing Waialae Country Club, a classic Seth Raynor course, that requires precision tee shots that can be shaped in both directions, my instinct was to look at experience over youth. Everyone says it, but few really understand how valuable experience can be. The best golfers in the world understand it as they pursue wins. You should learn the value of it as you pursue your golf goals.
This week's A Lesson Learned is drawing on past successes to reach future goals. Whether winning a tournament or whatever your hopes are for your game.
As the leaders were starting to struggle as their rounds began, Johnson Wagner, who started 2 shots off the lead when the day began, was starting to put together a solid round after a shaky first six holes. Working the ball off the tee with controlled distances and hitting solid iron shots with laser like precision, Johnson was able to continue to give himself opportunities for birdies and pars, shooting 4 under par on the final twelve holes. He knew what type of score he'd need to put himself in contention, based on the setup and weather of the day and how the field might score in those tough conditions.
Johnson not only had years of experience on Tour, he was more specifically drawing on his prior victories in 2008 and 2011. He had dealt with the clammy hands, jumpy nerves and seeing your name on top of the leaderboard with eight other golfers breathing down his neck. When things get tough, your backswing can get shorter, the downswing gets quicker and the shots start flying off line. On this day, Wagner was able to remain calm, finish strong and ended up with a one stroke win.
More germaine to you, when was the last time you found yourself in a position on the golf course where you were nervous, anxious or uptight? I'd bet it happens almost every round. Too many golfers play with fear as a leading emotion or even hoping for a good result with no confidence behind your swing or stroke. But can you remember having pulled off that shot or putt before? Of course you can. Use your memory to instill the positive thoughts you need to execute your game.
Whether it's for a career round, an important goal, your club championship or even a PGA Tour event, your past can have a lot to do with determingin your future. Good luck!