Monday, July 23, 2012

Process v. Outcome

It was hard to watch. With four holes to play in the 2012 British Open (sorry UK, yours isn't the only Open), Aussie Adam Scott with Tiger Woods former caddie, Steve Williams, on the bag, headed toward the venerable club house at the only English stop on the nine course rotation, Royal Lytham & St. Annes, with a four shot lead with four holes left to play. If it were match play you might say the rest of the field was "dormie". Only Hall of Fame golfer from South Africa affectionately known as "The Big Easy", Ernie Els, had a chance to supplant Scott as the 2012 Champion Golfer and hold the "Claret Jug" aloft.

Only Adam Scott will really ever know what happened but if I might hazard a guess, he fell victim to the oldest championship murderer known, he focused on the "outcome" rather than the "process". Welcome to the club Adam. You have lots of company!

A telling sign that his focus had changed was on one of the last four holes when he pulled out a three wood for his tee shot. This was a hole which he had parred each of the first three rounds using an iron from the tee to avoid some of the 205 bunkers that dot the course. Royal Lytham & St. Annes is a course that, unlike the other eight sites, looks more like the "parkland" layouts North American players find to their liking. The weather was most unOpen like, warm, no wind and a rainy few weeks left the greens receptive to approach shots. It looked like a real golf tournament, not a battle with the elements!'

For the non-golf fans reading this, I'll save you the details by simply telling you that Mr. Scott bogeyed (one stroke over par) all four of those remaining holes while Mr. Els birdied #18 (the 72nd hole of the event). Scott needed to make about a 10' putt on #18 to force a playoff but his putt slide slightly to the left of the hole, leaving Ernie Els with his second British Open title.

The previous blog is about "experience". The best definition I know for experience is: "Experience doesn't reduce the number of errors you make, but it does reduce and can eliminate the negative affects those mistakes have on your overall performance". I suspect experience played a role in the outcome of the event!

Worthy of note is that both players were most gracious in how they handled their relative situations! They are classy athletes!

Recently I attended a lawn bowl clinic presented by one of Canada's national lawn bowl coaches. Although the clinic had lawn bowlers at various skill and experience levels, the national coach stated that the first objective is "to win the game". Wrong! The first objective is to "perform". Focus on victory and you're focusing on the wrong aspect of the competition. You can't control the outcome but you can at least influence and to varying degrees control your performance (process).

But it's not easy when that championship is so close you can touch it. It's why it's almost cruel when the awards are placed in close proximity to the the players during championship final games. Talk about distractions! Oh, distractions, that's for another post.

1 comment:

  1. Sorry Canada, it's the oldest and the original Open, so it's just "The Open" as it has always been. Enjoyed the post though.