The past few weeks have been tiring, eventful and brilliant. Contending to win golf tournaments is the reason we practice tirelessly as golf professionals. For me, contending in Spain was a completely new experience, and one I absolutely loved.
In my post round interview, after I debased Reading FC and fractured a fledgling relationship with a TV Commentator, I stated how winning golf tournaments never really changes regardless of the opposition. If you commit to your shots and focus you’ll always give yourself a chance to win. I did this, except I didn’t come out on top. Winning on The European Tour is hard.
Despite not being victorious in Spain, I felt a rich sense of satisfaction. I felt I had focused extremely well and thought with similar conviction as when I previously succeeded. The only difference this time around was that I fell two shots short. When I reflected afterwards, I saw a person who if he were to do the same five more times, he would win at least once, probably more. This is what, in my opinion, consistent winners do. They realise how winning is a very fickle thing littered with volatility. All they do is think the same, focus hard and always commit. And if unsuccessful realise how next time may be very different.
Nick Faldo and Jack Nicklaus came second in their careers almost as many times as they won. If asked why this is and what they did differently, I’d be very surprised to hear an elaborate and accurate answer. Coming second or just short is seen as disappointing. For some, to say they’ve come second again seems embarrassing. But the truth is, golf is such a difficult game played by some very experienced professionals, determined greatly by luck. Reinventing wheels because of minute differences will never be a smart choice.
As a newcomer to the tour, seeing a near miss as more of a failure than a success would be understandably silly, but in a ‘Tiger’ driven game where winning is the only acceptable outcome, second won’t cut it. I get that. But let’s remember the manner of close calls are far more telling than the close call itself, and only the player knows the manner, recalling mine concretes this thought. I believe the line between winning and coming close – when intrinsic properties are the same – can be almighty fine.
From That Wise Old Owl, Cheers.