Bud said, “it sounds like you are doing these activities, like golf and bowling, that are supposed to be fun and end up being stressful.”  I pondered internally his observation that I knew to be true and wondered myself what was I thinking.

FOB-Golfer-choking-631.jpg__800x600_q85_cropI participated in a 2 day golf tournament where 15 groups of 2 played.   I was matched up with an unknown who I met the day I teed off.  The format was one where there were 4 separate 9’s which involved scrambles, better ball scores, and modified chapmans.  The tee times were at 9am and I had to drive an hour away so I pretty much had to give up my entire weekend to play in this tournament.

What I learned is that golf can be extremely tense if your partner is depending on your shots and score.  The back 9 on the 2nd day was essentially a non-stop “don’t fuck up” situation.   I had a triple bogey on a hole where I was 20 yards off the green in 2 on a par 4.   I was too quick on the follow through and open bladed the ball directly to the right even further behind the green.  2 holes later I was in a green side sand trap in 2 and HAD to make a good bunker shot, which I did.  The very next hole I hit a fine drive and then pulled a 60 yard shot into the sand.  I duffed the sand shot and got a double on the hole.  Amazingly I pared 17 and 18 (with a 40 ft putt) and wound up with a 44 back to join a 43 front.  When I say I was relieved to be finished I say this with the utmost sincerity.

18Was it fun?  I’m not sure.  It was a spot that tested how good you can be under pressure.  This was the first time in my life where I put my golf game on the line like this and I believe I came away a better golfer.  I played with some experienced players who taught me a thing or two about the rules and gave me some good tips putting and driving.  When I played a round afterwards with my friends it was amazing to just have fun playing without worrying about a score.  If you can score your best score when it counts, it gives tremendous experience when it doesn’t.  This is the main reason for testing yourself with these levels of competition.

This type of post goes hand in hand with the NBA Finals I just watched.  Aside from LeBron, no one on the Cavs wants to step up and be that player.  It’s an incredibly stressful situation and even these professionals want no part of huge pressure situations.  Big players make big shots and they get paid well for doing so.  This should never be forgotten when you ask how good a player is.  Big Shot Bob.  John Paxton.  Steve Kerr.