Mastery is a process, not an end state. The work, alas, is never done. It’s like peeling the proverbial onion, you peel back one layer only to get to the next layer. It’s why people like Jack Nicklaus say that you can never master the game. He’s operated at the edge long enough to know that there’s always another layer.
And while I will give him the fact that you can never completely master the game, that takes nothing away from his exalted status as a master. He and all the other greats of the game. That they have developed levels of perception that allow them know the voids in their knowledge takes nothing away from their soaring accomplishments: all the tournaments, all the majors, all the physical and emotional durability allowing for their longevity.
For crying out loud, one of the most revered of the majors, the Masters, was named after them. Named for all that played the game with mastery in those times and for all who would through time. That’s one of the reasons that the Masters is so steeped in tradition. Every year, as an homage to Bobby Jones illustrious career as an amateur, the tournament invites a handful of national and international amateurs to play. They have virtually no chance to win the tournament because of the years of course knowledge that usually requires. But they are masters in their own right on their way to higher levels of awareness and the tournament felt that they should be acknowledged and encouraged.
And, as I have pointed out many times, the principles of mastery apply everywhere. Golf is merely a fun, here-and-now platform to develop the skills of mastery, to know that you’re on the right path. You don’t have to wait years for the outcome of a shot.
So I found it fascinating when I came across this online profile of the President of Nike Golf at Golf Week. Written by Gene Yasuda, it details years of experience in competitive golf through college, years of experience in traditional corporate America with the likes of Hallmark Cards and American Indemnity. And then, as so often happens, two friends called about a job opening at the LPGA Tour. That led to a vice presidency at the Tour; running the NancyLopezGolf brand; president and CEO at The Arnold Palmer Golf Co,; SVP at The Golf Channel; and now the president of Nike Golf.
It’s a fascinating story about someone who stayed in the process, peeling back one layer at a time. Oh, and did I forget to mention that the president is a woman?
Meet Cindy Davis. She’s a great, Sunday morning read.