There are two types of people in this world when it comes to pressure situations. You have those that rise to the challenge and are seemingly unaffected by it and then you have me.
If you want a guaranteed loss in a tournament or to be the laughing stock of friends, enemies, and others, pick me as your partner for golf. If the stakes are anything above me being by myself on the course, I am as solid as jello.
In fact, there have been times when I have faked a major health scare just to get out of partnering with somebody on the golf course.
Partner: Want to play in the Round Robin Classic with me for prize money totaling $1?
Me: I have open-heart surgery that day.
Partner: Jesus, I had no idea, thoughts and prayers bud.
The saying “90% of the game is in your brain” was written specifically about my play. I don’t get nervous, I lose my mind. I forget how to putt, how to chip, and sometimes which way to the next hole. I become sweaty, irritated, and nervous for reasons that will be studied for years to come with no answers in sight.
There have been times where I have actually surprised myself at my own inability to play golf in pressure situations. I have never mounted a comeback or put a little fear into the heart of my opponent. I have, however, told somebody I was having marital problems and that my wife was moving my stuff out onto the front lawn and had to leave right then, down one shot with two holes to go.
I am in awe of athletes that clear the mechanism and just get it done. I can’t do it. Instead, I think about all the what if’s that could come from victory or defeat.
If I win then I will be put into the next round of the tournament and have to go through all of this again so might as well duck-hook one into the trees here on 18 and seal my fate. If I lose then I will have to go home and tell my kids that the prize check is $0 and we can’t buy that trampoline after all. Their disappointment etched in my mind as I walk up the fairway and here their annoying voices say, “But you promised Dad.”
Sorry kids, Dad is a helpless loser and that is just the way it is.
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