Early on in Tiger Woods’ career he was being interviewed after winning a golf tournamant and observed that he was really proud of his win as he had done so without his A game.
What surprised me was the crap that rained down on his young head for making that statement.
What further surprised me was that much of that criticism seemed to come from fellow professionals who apparently interpreted Woods’ remarks as implying that he was better than anyone else even when he wasn’t playing well and that he was simply showing a steak of arrogance.
But it seemed to me that other golf pros should have known exactly what Tiger was talking about: You win not by playing above your head for four days in a row but by not giving away the farm when things are not going exactly how you planned. You let the competition make the mistakes and try to at least minimize your own.
I was reminded of this while watching an interview with Geoff Ogilvie after his weekend win at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.
“So there were periods there where I was, I knew I was a better player than my results were suggesting. Right now I think I’m achieving quite well. I know I can play a lot better. I played very well this weekend — I played the best 72 holes I’ve ever played at Kauri and I played this weekend, especially the last two days, it’s almost as if I played almost as good this week as I had there. So I could definitely, there’s definitely still some improvement there, I’m not going to say that I haven’t played really well this week, but there’s definitely improvement in my bad weeks, so I still think I can be a better player, maybe not — well I can be a better player when I’m playing badly. Does that make sense?So I still think I’ve got a chance to grow. Tiger and those guys, that’s why he wins tournaments when he’s playing badly. I don’t get anywhere remotely close to winning a tournament when I’m playing badly. So those aspects I think I can do a lot of improvement.“
Obviously Ogilvy understands the premise.