NOTE – 10/27/13: In order to support the point of the title of this post, I offered examples of some of the insipid gossip about various Tour players I came across in certain golf magazines. I was pleased when the post attracted a lot of traffic. But it went on to attract hordes of visitors in the ensuing months and to this day. Far beyond what it warranted.
I finally realized that most of those readers had been coming from searches for gossip and not for the substance of the post. And so I have removed all of the gossip items from the beginning of the post and hope that one day those readers will find and take to heart the ideas in the post.
The reason these things diffuse our consciousness is that they come from a place of inadequacy, a place of making ourselves bigger by vicariously living the lives of celebrities, a place of making ourselves bigger by being able to look down upon the tawdry human condition of our betters.
It points to a gaping hole in our sense of our own wholeness. It gives us no redemption or inspiration, it merely feeds a kind of tasteless voyeurism. Like the bad aftertaste of a disguised medicine, we are left feeling “less than” for being seduced by these ego-assuaging tidbits.
Why this is relevant to golf consciousness is that if we are so willing to invade the privacy of others, what must we worry about when the scrutiny turns to us? To wit: if we are critical of the play or swings of others, what must they be saying about ours? It takes a very strong sense of self to let the water roll off the duck’s back.
Probably the best at it is the aforementioned Tiger Woods. All during his physical recovery and rehabilitation, he steadfastly refused to buy into the veiled questions that went to the possible end of his career. He always said that he just needed to get healthy so that he could practice once again, so that his body could do what he and Sean Foley needed it to do.
As he slowly sunk down to No. 51 in the world, his media deflector was always, “Winning takes care of everything,” and always delivered with a certitude that left no doubt that he had no doubts. Why? Because he had no doubts; he knew what he was capable of doing.
That’s the kind of self-sufficiency we need to foster in ourselves, even as we labor to reach some new playing goal. If we believe ourselves to be capable of highly competent bunker play, the lessons and practice to get there are seen as a means to an inevitable end. Even as we leave balls in the bunker or skull them over the green, we know that it will all end well.
But only if we become detached from what others must be imagining about our wholly ineffective sand shots. And the path to that level of consciousness is always the same: to become so immersed in the task at hand and its associated learning, to be so completely in the present, that we crowd out all of the doubts and insecurities…and the gossip that steals us away.