Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Did Tiger Win or Did Rocco Lose?

Is it in his swing?

(Oh no, not his swing!)

Is it in his drives?

(Oh no, not his drives.)

If you want to know, if he'll lose it, oh.

It's in his talk.

(That's where it is.)

(Sung to the melody of It's In His Kiss.)

Rocco Mediate, on the 19th hole of a 19th-hold playoff with Tiger Woods, was playing to win the U. S. Open and beat a legend. He laid up inside 100 yards in two shots, hit his third shot 20 feet from the hole. He had birdied three straight holes on the back nine to capture the lead, and now he would have a putt to beat the No. 1 player in the world. He was going to defeat Tiger Woods.

“I said to myself, ‘You’ve waited your whole life for this putt, just don’t lag it,’ ” Mediate said. He ran it 3 feet past; Woods made his 4-footer. Mediate lost it, and once again, Tiger won it. Lucky or good?

So, what did Rocco do wrong? He didn't control his internal dialogue, his self-talk. He focused on the outcome and the consequences of his actions. He paid attention to the "what ifs."

“I thought I was going to win after that putt went in on 15,” Mediate said. “I said, if I can keep hitting good shot after good shot, which I pretty much did, I’m going to win this golf tournament.”

Thinking, not executing, was Mediate's downfall.

By contrast, as always, Tiger Woods was thinking about how to execute his putt and what he steps he needed to perform to get the ball in the 19th hole. In comparison, Rocco Mediate, lost control of himself internally and focused on what not to do instead of what to do. He choked, and once again, Tiger Woods outmuscled his opponent with his mind and his focus.

Next time you are under pressure, think about what you must execute not what will happen to you if you don't.

If you want to be like Tiger, it's in his talk.

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