Aussie Rules II

You’ll remember that yesterday we were left in the question, “Will the Aussie rule or will the late-night Aussie Rules football championship rule him? 

Australian, Geoff Ogilvy, on the range at the Tour Championship at 10:00 in the morning, admitted that he had been up until 3:30 in the morning watching the Australian Rules Football Championship—no telling what time he got to sleep or what time he had to get up. Leaving us to wonder, from a mastery point of view, if he should have gotten a good night’s sleep or was it better for him to have indulged in a relaxing activity that meant a great deal to him?

Johnny Miller, the NBC color commentator, said he would not have stayed up. Roger Maltbie, the on-course commentator, said that if it had been his beloved San Francisco 49ers, he would have. But then he has season tickets. And Ogilvy loves his Aussie football team so much he’s flying back to Australia after the Tour Championship to watch next weekend’s playoff game in person. 

Two readers commenting on the Aussie Rules post thought that sleep deprivation wouldn’t be an issue because mastery was a “head game” and because it was a matter of one’s belief system. If you thought it was going to affect you then it would and vice versa. Another speculated that he wouldn’t be able to sleep anyway because of the $10 million, not the football game. You don’t hear Tour pros talking much about fitful nights anymore—all those sport psychologists, you know—but it’s certainly possible. 

So while mastery at its highest functioning level, accomplishment, truly is about thinking and holding tight to supportive and emboldening beliefs among other things, what I had in mind in my post was the physiological aspects of sleep deprivation. 

But high-functioning mastery begins with the elementary mastery process of developing certain mastery skill sets. One such skill set is to be able to narrow the expansive consciousness we all walk around in to enable ourselves to pay focused, undivided attention to something without the mind blinking…so that we can discern what is occurring in the moment…so that learning can occur. 

In golf, it’s paying attention to some aspect of your swing or putting stroke in minute detail at gradually increasing speeds. In business, it could be bringing that same focus to your subordinates or peers so that you truly understand who you’re working with. When you understand what your golf swing does or who your people are, great things are possible. 

When I used to travel to tournaments on the East Coast, I always tried to catch a 6:00 or 6:30 AM flight. That would allow me to arrive mid-afternoon, find the hotel, change, find the golf course, hit some balls to get a day’s worth of kinks out and to be able to fall asleep that night in the wrong time zone. The price? I had to get up at 3:00 or 3:30…and the fact that once I was settled in my seat, I could only read for about twenty minutes before my mind would slow down and my eyes became heavy. An invisible fog would descend on my alertness. 

This physiological fog was what I was pointing to as a risk in Ogilvy’s choice to watch his football game. And, in fact, whether it was related or not, he began his round with a bogey and followed that with a double-bogey. He settled himself with a par and then went birdie, birdie to get back to just 1-over on the round. He had a long, stable stretch until he bogeyed 13 and 14 and then made a rare birdie on 18 to keep the lid on at 2-over. 

And although he lost two strokes on the day, the leaders, Jim Furyk and Luke Donald ran flat on the day too. Ogilvy ended up in sole 4th, just three strokes back of Furyk. Tomorrow might give us more evidence of what a good night’s sleep can do for our focus. Knowing what a great player Ogilvy is, I would not be surprised if he went low. Will the next post be titled, “Aussie Rules III,” because he wins? 

As to the remnants of the Big 5 who automatically win the $10 million if they win the tournament, Paul Casey is four strokes back and Charley Hoffman, five. Furyk is unlikely to back up because of his routinely steady play. But if he does, these two are more than capable of dashing his dreams of $10 million.

As I’ve said all week, it could be very interesting. But for now, I’m going to bed.

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One Response to Aussie Rules II

  1. Barbara Moss says:

    Of course, the true manifestation of mastery is happiness…winning or losing. The best part is that they can all choose to be happy. Thanks Bill for all your insights…we’re loving them.