There is one thing for certain, golf is a difficult game no matter how good you are. Just ask Hunter Mahan where it became glaringly obvious during the final matches of the Ryder Cup where, when the entire Tournament seemed to come down to him flubbing a chip.
How could Hunter, who has hit that chip shot thousands of times, duff it like he had never chipped before? In my opinion, its easy. Its Golf.
Golf has the same qualities of a lie detector, revealing the untruths in everyone and their game. In Hunter’s situation, by flubbing a simple chip, he showed that the Ryder Cup meant so much to him that he couldn’t perform what would normally be routine. Golf is a truth serum.
Golf brings out the best and worst in all of us. I remember reading an article in a business magazine where the executives used golf as a way to measure attitude and personality as a way of screening potential clients. You can learn heaps about a person by watching them play a round of golf. We can also learn about our ourselves.
So what can we learn from Hunter’s experience?
First, we must realize that Golf is a game to be played but at a deeper level, it is a judge and a jury. We can’t fake a good round or pretend to be good. Second, we can use golf to master ourselves by letting it help us attain discipline where we overcome obstacles and move past failures. This is what great champions do and I am sure Hunter will do the same.
And Finally, we can learn that practice and experience does not always mean success. This is why we must always step further into the abyss of the unknown and practice more than we think necessary and try harder because, there most likely will be a time where you will need to be over-prepared and, most importantly, there is always risk involved. You just never know if any of your work will have a “payday” but you must still persevere, practice and prepare.
Hunter will recover. All champions learn from their experiences and use them to bounce back. He will be better from the Ryder Cup just as you and I can learn that sometimes it takes a million mistakes to have one success. The answer is to always persevere, even when it seems impossible.