Having Fun in a PGA Championship Blow-out
I am always amazed when a PGA Tour professional is somehow able to lap the field in a tournament, but particularly in a major. Written off by most of the golf media as distracted, disengaged or whatever, Rory McIlroy not only proved all the naysayers wrong, but put on an exhibition of scoring that left all the other guys in his wake. When you think about the fact that he beat the next best guys in the field by an average of 2 shots a day...well, with the talent pool as deep and wide as it is these days, that is just amazing.
But as impressive as the golf was, what really got me more about Rory McIlroy was how much fun he looked like he was having. I mean this kid had a smile across his face as big as the Atlantic. It sure seemed to me like he wasn't just trying to win a golf tournament, but he was enjoying every inch of the ride. And that huge ear-to-ear smile when that last putt dropped was priceless.
He didn't seem to be moved by the fact that he had buried his competition. His reaction wasn't a fist-pumping in-your-face emphasis on the victory; no, to me he looked like any fresh-faced kid who just had the most joyful experience of his life. And that made me smile big, too. In a day when it appears a lot of sports victories are a little on the "mean" side...even in our own gentlemanly game...it was really refreshing for me to see the sheer exultation in Rory McIlroy's smile and his eyes.
So what can we take from all this? Maybe that this game we play is supposed to be F-U-N. Regardless of how bad any round might get, it's still a game, right? I'm as guilty as the next guy of being too hard on myself when shots don't do what I think they should. When drives find the rough, or I skink an approach, chunk a pitch or miss a short putt. But geez, it's a game. And a damn hard one at that. Bad shots are always going to outnumber the good. Even Ben Hogan said he only hit 2-3 shots a round just like he wanted to.
If we stop to think that the best players in the world miss more than a third of the fairways with their drives, only hit two out of three greens with their approaches, and don't make every putt, it kind of puts it all into perspective, doesn't it? Or at least it should.
My hat's off to Rory McIlroy this week. I'm glad he did it. I'm glad he is back on top, because I think he's good for golf at all levels. A classy kid, who's also having a helluva time in life, enjoying the fruits of his hard work on his golf game. Let him enjoy a romance with a tennis star. Let him live life a bit. After all, it’s just a game, even if it is his livelihood and a way to put his name in the history books.
To his mother and dad, he’s still just little mop-headed Rory. And that’s just fine.
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[ comments ]
Matt McGee says:
Having fun improves my golf game on any given day more than any other single thing. There are a million reasons why that makes sense. The thing that doesn't make sense to me are the days when I don't have fun because things aren't going well. Golfing badly is still better than most of the things I would be doing otherwise. It works the same in the PGA ranks. Rory having fun is a force to be reckoned with.
It is easy to play with a big smile on your face as you lap the field. I know I am a lot more jolly when I am hitting it well. Like the rest of us, Rory can put a pretty good pout on when things are not going his way.
The best I can do when the wheels go off the road is try not to take everyone else in the group down with me.
Brian, like always, you used wise words! I'm having a lot and I'm full of energy after a round where i've been hitting good and most of my golf game seemed to come together! However, it's hard to have fun when everything falls apart and nothing goes your way... Even if a "just" a game, it's a challenge that we give ourselves every time out in order to improve and do better than the previous time... Most of us on this forum take golf serious and that's why we can't have fun when things are not good!
i have a some friends I play with few times that just get out to have fun, that don't care of the score, rules and improvement! if they don't hit good, they are fine with that and just keep going... unfortunately I can't do that since I put a lot of pressure on myself and expect a lot out my golf game (probably I shouldn't... LOL)
@bkuehn I'm totally with you on that one. Even if I don't score, just swinging well and making good strikes is enough to make me a golf-chatterbox when i get home, but boy i'm grumpy if i'm not striking well.
Tim Horan says:
I had a good round on Saturday playing in a tournament at my home club. A couple of juniors came round with us kept scorecards and generally took care of drinks carts but not actually caddying in the true sense. What I found was that not having the card in front of me or being aware of how I was scoring I genuinely did not know how I was doing and it somehow took the pressure off. Coming off the course I felt refreshed and it obviously showed as my wife beamed and said "you've had a good round" Checking my card it was as good a round as I have ever had. I wonder what other pressures we could all shed that would make our golf more joyous?
Tim Horan says:
Oh I should say that I am a regular "club thrower" with a foul mouth when things is going bad!
joe jones says:
Thank you. You have stated my position exactly. Too many of today's pro's forget how blessed they are. When you have chosen an occupation of any kind you better enjoy what you are doing. That includes golf. Stop and smell the roses boys. It's fun while it lasts but it goes by so quickly. There are players out there that make no attempt to engage the fans and they should. It was nice to see Rory have a good time. I hope it continues.
I agree, i'm pretty damn smiley when I'm kicking ass out there too.
Funny, i play with my brother a lot, and i know our moods effect each other, well, I especially know I am affected by his.
I get grumpy too, but the thing is, at a certain point, i just have to laugh.
I guess we'll see how i cope with that 2 day tournament coming up soon.
Very guilty as charged, especially last weekend. I think I'm getting better - I recognized my attitude during the round, improved for 9 holes or so, and then melted at the end.
With me, it's necessary the score as much as did I hit the ball solidly or did I miss a number of what should be easy shots - that gets me the worst.
Yes, this lovely game can ruin a good mood. I know I suck, I know may never achieve the 80's and probably will never see the 70's. I would love to, and I spend time practicing, but for some reason I cannot improve. A guy I golf with is pretty good, he can score in the 70's and 80's consistently and boy does he get pissy when he doesn't hit a shot exactly like he wants it to be hit. The ball could land in the fairway and he will get mad. I ask him, "You don't like being in the fairway?" He'll come back with, "Yeah I do, but that's not the shot I was trying to hit." When I sculled those shots back there, those weren't the shots I was trying to hit nor what I visualized, but you don't see me huffing and puffing over it. Nope, I try to do better on the next hole and sometimes do, but those infamous blow-up-holes seem to rear their ugly heads to keep me humble and scoring high.
Tim Horan says:
@ those with attitude - try this it helped me for a while but you have to stick at it. I am assuming most of you play a particular cousre regularly. Keep records of your rounds and especially where you have pars or better and compile your eclectic round. (The best round made up of your best holes. Implant in your memory how you felt when you got your par or birdie on that hole. So before you play the first hole of your next round visualise what you did to get your best result on that hole and simply try to get that feel and good thoughts about that hole and then continue that through the round. It may take a while to get good feelings about all the holes - don't downgrade your good thoughts about a hole, upgrade them as you improve or perhaps have a happier recolection.
Another thing that has helped me is to use stats to identify problem holes - I've been surprised by which ones I don't score well on- and then play those holes very conservatively. Avoiding the doubles and triples does wonders for the score and the mindset.
I honestly did not watch any of the PGA, and since Rory was a topic of another Wedge Guy post ( oobgolf.com/content/the+wedge+guy/5-4595-Rory_Yo I have to ask... has his shortgame improved?
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