Rickie Fowler – He gets it

Watching Morning Drive this morning, I was in total agreement with the comments that Brandel Chamblee (@BrandelChamblee) made about Rickie Fowler.

“You understand the best way to play golf, this is my opinion, is to go out there and try to hit shots…You know,it’s the big lie to me, that you can go out there and swing perfectly.  And I understand why guys do it.  I mean literally they’re trying to play this game in the most organized fashion, there’s so much money out there, and if you can stay on tour a long time, you can get ridiculously rich. So what are you gonna do? You’re gonna work out, you’re gonna get a sports psychologist And you’re going to take all these lessons ’cause you want everything to be perfect. And Rickie’s like ‘No, I’m gonna go out and I’m gonna hit golf shots. I’m gonna hit it high, I’m gonna hit it low, I’m gonna draw it, fade it.’  And I know it’s because of the way he was taught the game. His teacher was very much into hitting golf shots. And that’s why he plays fast.  Because he’s not out there thinking about a pre-shot routine, and he’s not out there thinking about swing mechanics. He’s out there thinking about golf shots.”

There’s a ton of wisdom in what Brandel said this morning.  This is why Rickie is the future of golf.  And I think he is going to stun us with what he is going to accomplish in his career.

I want to contrast this style of play with Tiger Woods.  And my intention is not to bash Tiger but to look at differences.

Tiger Woods when he was dominant could hit every shot in the book and then some.  He created that famous stinger and it appears he doesn’t even have that shot any more.  Tiger said he is thinking about his swing and swing mechanics now before every shot and it looks that way.  When he gets off track, he goes into repair mode, and it’s mechanics, mechanics, mechanics.  The artfulness seems to be have left him, at least for now.

On the other hand, Rickie Fowler (and several other players, most notably Bubba Watson), look like golf artists.  They see shots, and they hit shots.  They use the golf course as their canvas and they create masterpieces of golf.  Plus they’re really fun to watch.

So where does this leave us (the amateur golfer)?  Well, for one, I know when I’m playing my best it’s when I’m seeing and hitting shots and when I’m not thinking about mechanics.  There are times when golf seems so much easier.  Conversely, when I’m playing poorly, it’s all about mechanics.  The swing ends up feeling like it’s separate from me. And it feels forced.

If you’ve read this blog for a while you know that I’ve moved away from mechanics to a feel based approach, where I not only see the shots I’m trying to create, but try to feel what it’ll feel like to hit them.  And every shot is unique and feels differently.  This makes golf more fun, and the end result for me has been better scores, more fun, and not having to practice as much.

Other posts about Rickie Fowler:

Pro’s slow motion swings

Rickie Fowler – a result of Consistent Coaching

Stuck in a slump?

Never give up

Never Give Up
Never Give Up

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.

Tiger Humanized

It’s always sad when our heroes let us down.

It’s also a reminder that they are human and make mistakes. When someone is so good, so talented at what they do, that everything they touch turns to gold, it becomes difficult to see them as full human beings with flaws and conflicting emotions. I’m sure we can all think of heroes who have let us down. Andre Agassi recently confessed that he was abusing meth while competing on the professionally on the tennis circuit.

http://a.espncdn.com/photo/2008/1224/pga_g_woods_576.jpg

It’s always sad when our heroes let us down.

It’s also a reminder that they are human and make mistakes.  When someone is so good, so talented at what they do, that everything they touch turns to gold, it becomes difficult to see them as full human beings with flaws and conflicting emotions.  I’m sure we can all think of heroes who have let us down.  Andre Agassi recently confessed that he was abusing meth while competing on the professionally on the tennis circuit.

There are probably too many examples to name, and the truth is that almost everyone of our heroes would let us down if we dig deep enough.  Together, between our heroes and us the fans, we create an image that is impossible to live up to.  This does not excuse his behavior nor should it explain it away.  It’s just a reality that we have deep connections to our heroes and they will eventually let us down.

Although Tiger has been able to create and foster a squeaky clean image, I have heard other things about him that made me question the truth of it.  Regardless, there is no question about his talent, his drive or his dedication to the game.  But we can’t pretend to know what someone is like as a person based only on their professional results, whether it be trophies collected, money earned, albums sold, mansions bought, and the many other ways in which we judge how successful our celebrity heroes are.  Tiger’s image has been carefully groomed and manicured.  He has the best advisors money can buy, and he should have those.  Someone with as much influence as Tiger should have teams of people looking out for him.  He is responsible for the rise in popularity of golf.  It is the Tiger era.  With influence comes responsibility.  With celebrity comes the power to influence huge amounts of people.  And this will have an impact.  People will remember.

Tiger will recover from this incident. We won’t know what’s happening behind closed doors, away from the spotlight of the media.  We can continue cheer on his victories.  But in the end, we will always know that he is human.  That he is capable of making mistakes of judgment.  And in the end that makes him more like one of us.

Tiger Woods Rulebook to Success

A great article  (here is the orginal article) about becoming successful.

The Tiger Woods Rulebook To Being A Huge Success

Written on 6/25/2008 by Alex Shalman, creator of the Practical Personal Development blog.

If you believe in evolution, you know there wasn’t some superstar golfer caveman from which Tiger Woods evolved centuries later. His talent and subsequent success were not a genetic lottery win — let’s take a look at 12 factors that we can adapt from this legendarygolfer.

Even if Tiger Woods was somehow physically superior, all that gossip could be laid to rest, when Tiger Woods won this years U.S. Open playing with a bum knee. Ok, so maybe a knee isn’t that crucial to a golfer, but walking on it while experiencing a great deal of pain and keeping the focus does prove that there’s more to this man than his stroke.

12 Rules for Success From Tiger Woods

1. Constant and Never Ending Improvement

“No matter how good you get you can always get better and that’s the exciting part”~Tiger Woods

2. A Bigger Plan

“I think it’s an honor to be a role model to one person or maybe more than that. If you are given a chance to be a role model, I think you should always take it because you can influence a person’s life in a positive light, and that’s what I want to do. That’s what it’s all about.”~Tiger Woods

3. Embrace Defeat

“I’m trying as hard as I can, and sometimes things don’t go your way, and that’s the way things go.”~Tiger Woods

4. Take Life Lightly

“If you can’t laugh at yourself, then who can you laugh at?”~Tiger Woods

5. Don’t Stop

“Tiger may have used his golf club as a cane, but he refused to use his injury as a crutch.” ~Brian Clark

6. Live Your Own Expectations

“One of the things that my parents have taught me is never listen to other people’s expectations. You should live your own life and live up to your own expectations, and those are the only things I really care about it.” ~Tiger Woods

7. Do What You Love

“I get to play golf for a living. What more can you ask for – getting paid for doing what you love.”~Tiger Woods

8. Focus

“My main focus is on my game.”~Tiger Woods

Having one solid goal which you can devote all your focus into pools together all your available resources. You begin to enroll other people into your vision and they start to believe in you. This will give you access to new tools, mentors, and even more resources to get to your goal faster and better.

9. Pay It Forward

“My dad has always taught me these words: care and share. That’s why we put on clinics. The only thing I can do is try to give back. If it works, it works.”~Tiger Woods

You don’t know how much money you have until you give it away. I’m sure you’ve heard that before many times. The same thing goes for our talents, skills, and other opportunities. When we can empower people by giving a piece of ourselves to them we can leave a legacy or live on through them. Besides we’re programmed to feel good when we are kind to others.

10. Learn From All Mistakes

“The only thing you can do is take a learning experience from it, positives and negatives, and apply them to the future. What did you do right, what did you do wrong, and I did a lot of things right this week” ~Tiger Woods

You can subscribe to the idea that everything is put into our life as a challenge. When things are going bad it is our challenge to over come them. When things are going great it is our challenge to remain grounded and humble. It’s all there so that we can learn from it and grow, so there’s no point getting hung up on or experiencing a huge grief over a bad mistake. Be happy that you learned a valuable lesson.

11. Celebrate Your Victories

“It’s been a lot of fun to see some fruits of my hard labor.”~Tiger Woods

No matter how many times Tiger wins he treats each win as if it is special. This provides a constant positive reinforcement to keep him interested in giving the game his best. Perhaps if he only celebrated once a year, after the final stats were in and he saw he was still the best, he wouldn’t be living so much in the moment. If Tiger wasn’t living in the present, or at least one game at a time, there is no way he would be as happy as he could be.

12. Pay No Attention To Naysayers

“You know, all the nay-sayers said that I was doing the wrong things. They can understand why now I made those changes.”~Tiger Woods

Had Tiger payed attention to the first critic that told him he wouldn’t make it he would have given up when he started golfing at the age of 5. If he gave up the second time he wouldn’t be here either. During Tigers career there have been thousands upon thousands of people commenting and gossiping that this game wouldn’t be his game, and even if it is he still won’t win it all. Nonsense. By going for his goals despite the nay-sayers Tiger made it all happen.Practical Application.

Tiger Woods, first athlete to a billion

So Tiger’s got another honor.  First athlete to earn 1 billion dollars.  That’s 1,000,000,000, or 1 thousand million.  Crazy.

He has earned it.  He has an amazing track record, legions of fans, has singlehandedly kept the golf industry alive, and even when he doesn’t play, he almost wins the tournament (except for the British Open, or The Open as it is called, where he missed the cut).

As someone who is working toward becoming a scratch golfer, Tiger’s accomplishments seem so unreal.  Don’t get me wrong, the man is not perfect, and he is not a saint.  He is a human being, with an enormous amount of talent, at the right place, and the right time, and has an incredible work ethic to top it off.

It just amazes me that anyone could accomplish what he has.  I think human potential is virtually unlimited, and for the most part untapped, except for a few people who somehow make extraordinary things happen.

http://www.thegolfchannel.com/shag-bag/forbes-woods-crosses-1-billion-mark-32538/