The 2014 U.S. Women’s Open is in the books and what a chapter it was! Michelle Wie won in amazing style and grace. She has been under the microscope her entire career, so this is very well deserved. It was a hard-fought battle but she stayed the course, didn’t get riled when shots weren’t perfect and more importantly stayed amazingly present for each and every shot she made.
I can certainly say without hesitation that it was one of the best golf tournaments I’ve ever watched. I was glued to the set! Now, everyone knows that Michelle Wie can flat-out play the game of golf and it was just a matter of time before she hoisted the trophy from a major championship. She bombs it off the tee, can hit a 3 wood Stinger that rips down the fairway at breakneck speed and she bucks the system of the classic putting posture with her very own, “table top” style.
So what can we glean from this amazing victory? Perhaps it’s the idea that an unconventional putting stance is the way to fewer putts. You could certainly go in that direction and what the heck, give it try! However, I think the most obvious takeaway from Michelle’s win, one that can be used by every golfer who plays this game, is that staying present is the most important thing you can do when you play. There were occasions, certainly during her final round, where it would have been very easy for her to get caught up in the “shot that went bad” or the “bad luck” of a bounce, or the putt that didn’t quite get there. She didn’t. She probably played the best “one shot at a time” golf she’s ever played in her life. It was certainly evident on the 16th hole when she almost lost her ball! The answer to that hole was a birdie on the next hole and a solid par on 18 to finish the tournament. She stayed present and focused on the shot she had to make. She didn’t drift back to the past to agonize over what should have been, nor did she float to the future to figure out what “could” be if only “this” happens.
You may not be able to hit a 3 wood stinger, hit a three hundred yard drive or table top your way to a new putting stance, but you can certainly stay in the present, play one shot at a time and focus on the task at hand.
The next time you’re on the course and you start thinking about what you have to do on the next couple of holes in order to post a certain score, stop for just a second and come back to the now. If you’re standing on the 10th tee thinking about the previous nine holes and how the score could have been better if this happened or that happened, stop for just a second and come back to the now.
The only thing we have any control over is the present moment. Yes, it is true, we can learn from the past in order to improve our present. We can also improve our future by doing our very best in the present. We only have the moment we have, no more no less. Isn’t golf just like life? You never know when things are going to change so do your best, stay present and enjoy the moment!