GMac’s victory at the Chevron this weekend over Tiger Woods is a wonderful example of not giving up.
He continued fighting even as things seemed to be breaking down around him. His miraculous bogey on 17 kept him in it. Tiger then hit it tight on 18 giving McDowell a must make putt with a lot of pressure. He made a gritty 15 footer for birdie putting the pressure on Tiger’s short putt.
On the first playoff hole, as they played 18 again, Tiger left himself with an almost identical distance for his approach shot. Graham had a shot from about 175 over the trees. He hit a good shot and left himself a nearly identical putt to the one he made to force the playoff.
Tiger Woods hit a solid approach shot inside McDowell’s ball giving him an advantage. As we all know, McDowell sank that putt again putting the pressure back on Tiger and Tiger’s putt slid past the cup, giving GMac an impressive victory.
I can’t really think of many people who would handle the pressure the way he did. Think about how you would have handled the pressure. I was absolutely amazed at the gritty resilience that GMac showed. I know I couldn’t have handled that kind of pressure and it is inspiring for me.
I want to give you another example of not giving up. In one of my last rounds this year I started out 7 over par for my first 9 holes. Throughout those first nine, I just could not find my game. My short game was off, my putting was off and my ball striking was off. It was very frustrating.
I could have easily given up and gotten mad. I could have complained about the weather, or the pace of play. But stuck it out. I determined that I was going to enjoy the rest of the round no matter what.
The back nine turned into the best nine holes I’ve had all season, scoring wise. It was a real grinding round though. On my tenth I hole missed the fairway way right. I hit a short iron over the trees, onto the green and two putted for par.
On the next hole, a downhill par 5 with trouble right, I hit my tee shot into the right rough, laid up, missed the green short right with my approach from 115 but I managed to chip it to 8 feet and sink the putt for par.
The next hole brought the first birdie of the round along with the only fairway hit. Hit the green and sank a 10 footer for birdie. The next hole is the number one handicap hole on the course. I hit my drive through the fairway just missing a fairway bunker. With 145 yards left, I hit an 8 iron to 10 feet and sank my 2nd birdie putt of the day.
The following hole brought me back to reality a bit. A long par 3 with trouble left and long. I hit my tee shot way right, hit a fat chip, chipped again into the bunker, splashed out on to the green and 2 putted for a double bogey 5. I’m not going to lie to you, that one hurt.
On the next hole I hit a long straight drive that ended up in the rough through the fairway. I had a decent lie and 225 yards left to a severely uphill par 5 green. I took out my fairway wood and hit a solid shot out of the rough that came up 15 yards short of the green in the rough. Chipped up and 2 putted for par.
The next hole, a dog leg right par 4 with severely tree trouble at the dog leg was next. I hit a decent tee shot that got slightly past the dog leg but left me in the rough with a large overhanging tree. I needed to hit a low shot that would get to the back of the green. I hit a 3/4 6 iron from 155 that just got through the back of the green. I had a decent lie so I opted for the hybrid chip and the ball stopped 2 inches from the cup. Tap in par and on to the next hole.
The eighth hole on this back 9 is an uphill par 3 that reads 195 on the card but plays more like 205 – 215. Although I was trying for a draw to the left side of the green, I left the club face open and the ball ended up down the right side. I was left with a shot off hard pan, to a green 20 yards above my head and overhanging trees. After much deliberation I selected a lofted club. I hit a good shot and got a nice break off a branch that left the ball 4 feet from the cup. I made the putt.
I call the last hole my nemesis. It’s a hole that for some reason always gives me trouble. It’s a long uphill par 4 with one of the toughest greens on the course. I usually feel pretty good if I walk away with a bogey. I hit my drive long, but right onto the next fairway. I was left with a 200 yard shot over trees to a pin tucked on the right, 2 bunkers right in front of it. The wind was swirling and in the end I picked a 4 iron. I hit a good shot, but the wind killed it a bit and I ended up in the bunker, short sided to the pin. My bunker play had recently been a strength so I felt the shot I wanted to hit. I got cute with it and dumped it into the rough short of the hole. Feeling par slip away, I took my PW and hoped to get it close. Miraculously the shot went in and I saved my par.
On that back nine I hit 1 fairway in regulation, had a 1 chip in, and a grand total of 11 putts. I don’t think that would have happened if I had given up after the first nine. In the end I walked away feeling great.
Never give up. You never know what can happen.