I must say, I’ve watched many golf events both live and on TV and this was one of the most exciting tournaments I’ve ever seen. Everyone thought Adam Scott had it in the bag. He was due. He has one of the best swings in golf so it seems as though he should be taking home trophy after trophy. He had the lead going into the final round. All he had to do was stay the course. He spoke of being calm all week. He didn’t seem to be extremely nervous. There was nothing crazy happening. He didn’t hit ball after ball out-of-bounds. He didn’t find himself in, what could have been, a hundred bunkers on the final day. He was just going about his ordinary play hitting fairway after fairway off the tee. Then, the final four holes arrived and all he had to do was par two of them. Then there was the roar on 18 when Ernie sunk a 12 foot putt for birdie. Who knows if hearing the roar lead to a bit of self-inflicted pressure as he hit his tee shot on 18 into a bunker. We all saw the rest, pitch out sideways, up on the green and a 10 footer to head into a playoff. It didn’t happen…but Adam will return, I’m sure of it. And Ernie deserved the win. He played great.
So what was it that did Adam Scott in? A lack of concentration? A mental meltdown? A combination of the two? Well, it took two people to force the “re-do” on the name carving of the Claret Jug. Ernie played great coming in to shoot a 68 and Adam, maybe a little unfamiliar with that kind of final round pressure in a major, carded a 75. So how do you pinpoint what happened and how can we learn from this?
We all have parts of our game we would consider our strengths and we are very likely to go so far as to call them our “favorite” parts of the game. For some, it’s the tee shot or perhaps short irons into the green. Others might consider putting their favorite part of the game. And how we love to practice the things we do well. It’s fun to hit driver after driver on the range…we LOVE our driver. It’s our FAVORITE club in the bag. And those who putt really well? Where do you find them? On the putting green of course…how they LOVE to putt. They could practice that and nothing else. Ah, but where there is strength, there is also weakness. It is very Yin and Yang and yes, very ancient Chinese proverb like, but very true. The weakest link always breaks under pressure. It does for all of us. And we all know what part of the game is our weakest, or at least we have a pretty good idea.
So for Adam Scott, perhaps his “weakest link” was being unfamiliar with a final round lead in a major championship which manifested in his missing critical putts throughout his round. Putting could also be a weak part of his game, therefore it cracked under the pressure. If you know what your least favorite, aka: your weakest link is, then go out and work on it, find someone to help you work on it and turn it into a strength. Practice the things you struggle with and you will struggle less. You will find that you play with more confidence and less fear. So spend some time in the sand or on the green or wherever those “least favorite” shots exist for you. It will undoubtedly improve your score but more importantly, bring more confidence to your stride and a greater enjoyment of the game.