Friday, December 4 2020


Sportsmanship wins the Masters

Update: April, 15/2018 - 09:00
Viet Nam News

by Robert Bicknell

Well, “Captain America” won the Masters and a lot of people aren’t happy about it.

They wanted Fowler, Speith, or Rory… you know, the anointed golden boys. They didn’t want a brash bulldog to win, but win he did, by staring down the biggest names in the game and didn’t flinch.  

Patrick Reed isn’t the most warm and fuzzy kind of guy, he doesn’t mix well with others, especially at the Range, nor is he the most humble. But he certainly is both talented and tenacious.

Normally, I don’t watch the Ryder Cup because I lost interest due to the antics at The Country Club in Brookline, MA, back in 1988. The following “War By The Shore” was also a bit too much for my liking. To me, golf is supposed to be gentlemanly competition where people win or lose with grace and dignity.

Listen, when the team captain decides the uniform should resemble military combat dress, you can see they lost the plot. It’s not life and death, it’s golf. A game played by Ladies and Gentlemen, not Rambo.

However, you can have in-your-face competition and not turn it into WWIII, and a perfect example of that was the 2016 Ryder Cup match between Patrick Reed and Rory McIlroy. They mugged for the crowds, playing off each other. One would drop in a bomb of a birdie putt and the other would roll his in right on top of him. They were constantly topping each other, wagging fingers and having fun.

This is sportsmanship at its best and everyone is a winner in the end, especially the fans.

But there are some people who dislike Patrick Reed because of those “in-your-face” antics during the Ryder Cup, and some who feel he doesn’t fit the ”poster boy” look of a champion. And there are still others who snickered into their sleeves over his braggadocio when he exclaimed he felt he was one of the “top five players in the world” without yet having won a major.

He certainly didn’t do himself any favours with his comments and attitude.

OK, it’s easy to call him arrogant for saying that, but at the same time you cannot fault him for having extreme confidence in his abilities. Confidence wins tournaments, even when things are going wrong. A lack of confidence will usually give you a terrible round of golf.

Tiger Woods had unshakable confidence in himself during his heyday. Many times he pulled off shots that seemed beyond human ability, but he did it because he was supremely confident, committed to the shot and let it fly. Without confidence, he would have never pulled off those shots.

You cannot win a major if there is even a sliver of doubt in your mind. The pressure will expose every flaw in your character for the entire world to see.

And if you collapse, it will live forever on YouTube. Just ask Jean van de Velde who had a monumental meltdown in the 1999 Open Championship at Carnoustie, on the 18th hole no less. He had it completely in the bag. They were already engraving the trophy. Until… His driver went way right and the seeds of doubt were planted. The next shot cemented them and it was all over for him.

Tom Watson almost won the 2009 Open Championship at the age of 59 until he had a lack of confidence on the 18th hole. There is no conceivable reason why he would blow up at that point, but it was, in my view, a lack of confidence. He should have chipped it, but instead decided to putt it from off the green. But even if club/shot selection wasn’t the issue, he still had doubts and, as a result, rolled the putt well past the hole and leaving him with a playoff with Stewart Cink.

Confidence shot, his game collapsed on the first playoff hole and didn’t get any better. He had the Open championship within his grasp and it slipped away.

There are moments of doubt which creep into everyone’s mind at one point or another. Even Jesus Christ had his moment of doubt, but you cannot let it happen during a major championship and have a hope of winning.

Patrick Reed never had a doubt as it’s not in his character. VNS




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