Take heart, because those silly mistakes you make on the golf course happen to the best players in the world. Here are some quotes from those best players after missing the cut at the 2014 Masters.
LUKE DONALD: Yeah, I hit my shot, didn't get out. I just carelessly‑‑ I
can't remember the last time I didn't get a ball out of a bunker‑‑ I've
done it twice this week already. So I just carelessly swiped the sand.
LUKE DONALD: Yesterday every time I got out of position, I compounded my
mistakes. You just can't do that around here.
I made mistakes today. My three mistakes, my three bogeys, were three
3‑putts, and that leaves me with a bit of a sour taste in my mouth.
PHIL MICKELSON: What happened at 12 was I hit in the front bunker. And
there was no sand where I was at. I caught the liner of the bunker and
bladed it across the green and the same thing happened on the other
side. It went back and forth, three bunkers, before I finally got it to
stay on grass.
PHIL MICKELSON: That's what I've been nervous about is having a hole
like 7 yesterday, a hole like 12 today, where I go along, making pars,
putting the ball in the right spot and you just get a bad situation.
And I end up letting‑‑ instead of one sliding, two or three are going
away. That's the kind of stuff when you're playing tournament golf and
you're mentally sharp you don't do. And that's the kind of stuff I seem
to be doing right now.
ERNIE ELS: Yeah, it's been tough. Just made some silly errors here and
there. I'm actually driving it well, doing a lot of things well, but,
yeah, just getting in my own way here and there.
I missed some putts, missed some iron shots here and there. But it's
not playing that easy today. I think you're going to see some high
scoring. Coming in you got nice flags, so the guys can maybe make some
birdies coming in.
The point of this blog is, when the course is tough, when conditions are challenging and when the outcome is anticipated (cut line or green jacket) even the best players in the world make mistakes. If you go to the interviews, what you will find is, each of the players will also talk about what he is doing well and what he can learn. That alone might be the difference between being the best in the world and not quite making it out there. The best have the ability to look at themselves with pride even on a tough day. They know deep in their gut that they gave it their best effort and still came up short. They understand that they have to do something better next week if they want to remain among the best in the world.
As you go down this path of playing tournament golf, pretend to go into the press room after each round and ask yourself a few questions. How was it today? What did you do well out there? What happened on hole 6? What will you do to prepare for tomorrow? What did you think of your playing partner's round?
Simply standing outside yourself will help you step away from the emotions and quicken your path to understanding and learning. You can learn a lot about the greatest players in the game by how they can graciously answer questions about a horrible day. This grace under pressure despite disappointment is due to an ego that is secure. Think about that.