Oh Rickie! You Blow My Mind!

It’s Monday after the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open. Rickie Fowler goes in the books as the winner. And for many people around the water cooler today who saw that last round, they would probably say that it was an emotional ride as a spectator. To say that Rickie was the winner is an understatement. The elements, the missteps and the unexpected were not enough to get him flustered, derailed or unfocused. It was his discipline, his trust in himself and his game that persisted despite all that was thrown to him in that last round.

In my last post we talked about VISUALIZATION. When you visualize your end goal, you are less apt to let anything get in its way. There are times, however, when things do get in the way. Some of these things are in your control and others are not. If we let those obstacles and barriers get bigger than our trust in our ability to get over them, then we have lost sight of the goal. The trick is to manage, problem solve and even remove those barriers so we can keep our eye on the prize.

Back to the Open. One of more notable events that occurred way back in 1999 at the Phoenix Open was when Tiger Woods hit his ball into the waste area on hole 13. His ball wound up behind a boulder. Once it was determined that the boulder was a loose impediment, he enlisted the help of the gallery to move the boulder, giving him a clear shot to the hole. He wound up getting a birdie on the hole. He literally removed a barrier that could have been in the way of reaching his goal.

Yesterday, Rickie started the round with a 4 shot lead, which after the 12th hole was lost to Branden Grace. On the 11th, Rickie’s third shot went through the green and into the water behind the hole. While checking out his next shot, his ball rolled back into the water. He hit his shot on the green and sunk a 16 foot putt to save a 7. Rickie would go on to win after grinding it out the last stretch of the course, capitalizing on an unfortunate mishap on the part of Branden Grace.

So many potential barriers and obstacles were present in Rickie’s round. The cool, wet weather which changed the conditions of the course throughout the round, the mishap at 11, the fact that he has never won this tournament settling for a couple of 2nd place finishes after losing in the playoffs, and the list goes on.

Yet, if you really watched him and didn’t listen to the announcers projecting their opinions on the situation, you would have seen a guy who was unwavering. He was even joking with the rules official after the 7 he had on 11. He didn’t stop putting like a champion, he didn’t start playing scared, he continued to stay focused, continued with his pre-shot routines and club selections. He stayed the course. (sorry, no pun intended).

Just as he was able to do that on the course, you can do that in your life as well. There can be many obstacles to goals that we want to achieve. The trick is to not pay too close of attention to them and to keep moving towards your goals. Reflect on a time in your life where you didn’t let something get in the way of something you wanted. How were you able to do that? Why didn’t you quit? And if you did quit, did you readjust your goal to something more attainable or achievable? Did you then make that goal and go on towards the bigger original goal?

The way to keep focused on your goals is to feel encouragement along the way. Suppose you had a goal of wanting to climb a 14-er. (A very popular thing to do out here in Colorado). Suppose you had only gone on small hikes and worked out a couple of times a week. You would probably have a tough time just setting out one weekend morning and deciding that was the day you were going to climb a 14-er. Some possible barriers to achieving this could be stamina, not being prepared for altitude changes, weather conditions, etc. So, without bailing on your goal altogether, you might join a hiking group, read up a training program to climb a 14-er, check the weather more closely to find a good window of time to do the climb, etc. Most barriers and obstacles are solvable. When you have the ability to be flexible, adapt and reconstruct a new plan, you can stay on track. Maybe you can’t get to your goal as fast as you’d like, or it is no longer is a straight line and you have to side step to get there. Regardless, staying focused on the prize creates the motivation to continue. The small more achievable goals keep you encouraged and in a positive state of mind.

Just as Rickie did. He probably woke up yesterday morning visualizing a win at the Phoenix. He didn’t let the distractions of the day get him off his vision. He overcame the obstacles and didn’t let them stop him from achieving his win. His encouragement I think came from the way he was putting. He was a master on the green, sinking putts for saves and lag putting like a champ.

Take a moment and think again about your goals. What perceived obstacles are in the way that you can begin to problem solve. What are some of the more unexpected or unlikely ones? What can you draw on within yourself to keep you from getting unfocused or derailed?

You have the ability to get to where you want to be. Visualize, strategize and commit. These are the Links to Life.

Until next time .. . go work on your game!