// you’re reading...

Beating the Odds

U.S. Open Golfers: Shut Up and Play

Any golfer at the U.S. Open who wants to make history must first learn history.

That’s the only conclusion you can draw from early comments about this year’s event at Chambers Bay, near Tacoma, Wash.

“As far as the greens are concerned, it’s not a championship golf course — not with the way some of the greens are and the pin placements they can put out there,” said pro Ryan Palmer. “It will get a lot of bad press from the players. It is a joke. I don’t understand it. I just don’t know why they would do it.”

Fellow pro Ian Poulter tweeted, “Well several players have played Chambers Bay in prep for US Open. The reports back are it’s a complete farce. I guess someone has to win.” He later tweeted, “Ok my views on the @usopengolf course are yet to happen. I will let you all know what I think after I holed my last putt.”

Palmer and Poulter should keep in mind the lesson from the 1974 U.S. Open on the West Course at Winged Foot Golf Club. So brutal was the test that the players complained that the United States Golf Association was trying to embarrass them.

Their cries drew this immortal reply from golf exec Sandy Tatum, who had helped set up the course: “We’re not trying to embarrass the best players in the game,” he said. “We’re trying to identify them.”

Amen. No one can prove greatness by doing easy things. World-class surfers don’t prove anything on the waves of New Jersey. They instead take on death-defying conditions on Hawaii’s North Shore.

In the poem “The Man Watching,” Rainer Maria Rilke celebrates the person who accepts great challenges. It ends, “This is how he grows: by being defeated, decisively, by constantly greater beings.”

Hall of Fame baseball manager Joe McCarthy said, “Don’t alibi bad hops, anybody can field the good ones.”

When President John F. Kennedy committed the country to putting a man on the moon, he declared, “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills …”

Poets, golf execs, baseball managers and even presidents can agree on one thing: We are defined not by the easy victories we win, but by the great challenges we embrace.

Robert Trent Jones II, architect of Chambers Bay, shrugged off the critics with this comment: “I notice the Texans, the stoics, just shut up and play: (Ben) Hogan, (Lee) Trevino, (Jordan) Spieth. Players who are very serious are calling me to learn about the course.”

Right. In any challenge, you can either get frustrated or fascinated. Frustration never works. Fascination does. Anyone competing at Chambers Bay would be advised to get fascinated, to accept its challenge, and “to organize and measure the best of (his) energies and skills.”

*** *** *** *** ***

Thank you for visiting Total Game Plan. If your team, group or business needs a motivational speaker, please email coachtully @ totalgameplan.com. Here are some other resources for your success:

Think Better, Win More!” will give you a mental game to match your physical game.

To get better at anything, check out “The Improvement Factor: How Winners Turn Practice into Success.”

Do you coach females? Are you a female athlete, or the parent of one? Here’s “Was It Something I Said? A Guide to Coaching Female Athletes” by Vanessa Sullivan and Mike Tully

Need some motivation? Everyone needs it now and then. Open any page of “Thank God You’re Lazy! The Instant Cure for What’s Holding You Back” by Dr. Rob Gilbert and Mike Tully.

Are you a teacher, boss or sports coach? Here’s “Ten Things Great Coaches Know” by Mike Tully and Gary Pritchard.

Want to have your best basketball season ever? Here’s “Basketball: What Great Players Know that You Don’t Know,” by Mike Tully and Gio Grassi.


No comments for “U.S. Open Golfers: Shut Up and Play”

Post a comment