Even They Don’t Know

This is really interesting and perhaps even heartening for the rest of us.

The LPGA Tour has moved on from Phoenix to L.A. for this week’s Kia Classic at the Industry Hills Golf Club at Pacific Palms in the City of Industry, California. This time they’re playing for real money instead of a “mock purse.”

As a result, the tournament has attracted a great field that includes all 10 of the top-10 players, 22 of the top-25 and 77 of the top-80 from the 2010 official money list.

One of those big guns is Karrie Webb who won last week’s Founders Cup and the Tour’s previous tournament in Singapore, the HSBC Women’s Champions. She shot a final round 66 to win by one in Phoenix and in an interview yesterday that seemed to be pointing to finding out how she did it, she said:

I don’t want to question it too much as to what’s going right, but I think it’s such a fine line between having great results or having OK results, great results and winning. I think I’m just on the right side of that, doing the right things at the right time. Getting up and down when I need to, and making a birdie putt to keep some positive momentum going.

But she dare not question how she’s doing it. Fascinating. Here is a highly accomplished professional golfer with 38 wins and she’s leery of looking into the core of her success.

I experienced the same thing with Jhonattan Vegas when I interviewed  him in Phoenix. He had just won the Bob Hope Classic in Palm Springs and then came right back with a T3 in La Jolla. Here’s what I wrote about that back in early February:

My first attempt was to find out if, with a win in his second tournament and almost another one last week, he yet understood the full dimensions of his talent. He basically described his positive outlook and staying in the moment. I followed up by saying that everyone out there had great swings and understanding of playing in the present; why was he able to do it when they couldn’t? He did a smooth job of helpfully reiterating what he’d just said in another way. And I said, “yes, but,” did he understand how he did that? At which point, he graciously responded that he didn’t really want to think about it…as if exploring that keystone idea would lead to its diminution rather than strengthening it.

Here you have two towering presences in full bloom on their respective tours and neither one of the them truly understands their talent or how they do what they do.

So the next time the game gets you down, you’re wondering why you aren’t playing any better and have this dread that you’re the only one who doesn’t get it, take heart. Even the best don’t know the answer to that question. If they did, they wouldn’t be so superstitious about exploring it.

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2 Responses to Even They Don’t Know

  1. Robert Rogers says:

    We talk about the “Golf Gods” when we’re out there on the course, warn ourselves not to tempt them. I thought of this as you discussed champions not wanting to scratch the surface of the “how” of their winning ways. Maybe there’s more to those gods than idle chatter and superstition, by which I mean maybe notoriously winning golfers really are Zen-like masters who integrate their minds and bodies in mystical-seeming ways. Phil Jackson brought that kind of mindset to the hoopsters he mentored to glory. So, much earlier, did lesser-known Fred Shero in coaching his Flyers to the Stanley Cup. Query if one of the keys to that secret is to revere it and not talk about it.