There were a lot of important things going on in professional golf today, but none more beneficial to a great swath of amateur golfers than what Gerina Piller did in the first round of the LPGA’s Safeway Classic up in Portland, Oregon.
I have had an eye on Piller since I was able to interview her at the inaugural RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup in Phoenix, last year. The title of that post was, “This Is Mastery.” In it, I describe how she first attracted my attention when she was on the Golf Channel’s, The Big Break. And then I detail her comeback round that day in Phoenix where she went from a 4-over start to a 1-under finish and relate what she and her husband, Martin, had to say about how she did it.
Well, she did it again. This time she started out bogey, double bogey, bogey.
The reason this one had resonance for me was that I recently played with a friend who’s a really nice player. He’s got it all going for him. He pulled his first tee shot just a yard or two into the left rough. I forget what he did on the rest of the par-5, but my sense of it was that it was to his regular standards.
On the second tee, his routine straight, high and long tee shot turned into a semi-quick hook into the left rough again.
“Well, that’s it. It’s obviously going to be a shitty day,” he said. And then having ginned up that tub of despair and no possibility, he dove right in with a dash of disgust with himself.
“Hey, plenty of golf left. No problem,” I said. His response was smoldering.
Now I gotta tell you, I don’t play with him all that often, but it really surprised me. Maybe it’s because I never played with him when he had a bad day.
So when I saw what Gerina did again today, I thought of my friend and the other players I’ve played with over the years who play with that sense of resignation. And when bad shots inevitably catch up with that attitude, gloom and disgust abound. Gerina proved in that first piece I wrote about her and then again today that if you play out a sense of possibility rather than resignation, every shot, every hole has the potential to be great.
Her bounce back began immediately after the bogey on the 3rd hole with a birdie on the 4th…and then a birdie on the 6th…and then a birdie on the 8th. She swept to the back nine with a birdie on the 10th, finally back to Even. And then bogeyed the 11th with every opportunity to wonder why things were headed south for her.
But with another birdie to get back to Even on 12, she didn’t wonder for long. And then she cruised through the four pars that got to her final statement on her round, an eagle-3 on 18. From 4-over to 2-under, a pretty good day’s work.
So the next time we find ourselves all exorcised over the beginning of a round, we would do well to remember that there’s a girl out there who doesn’t.
And that’s why she has her name emblazoned on her bag.