If you were among those of us who watched the Master’s Tournament on Sunday, you may understand the sadness I felt when 22-year-old Jordan Spieth blew it on the 12th hole, falling from first place to a tie for fourth. He had led the tourney from the beginning and was 5 strokes in the lead. On the 12th he had a terrible drive, placed the ball in the water twice, in a sand trap once, and ended up way behind the eventual winner, Danny Willett, who was thrilled. He should be. By a fluke in the game, he won the Master’s championship. Legitimately, and having played well.
The look on Jordan’s face and in his body language told the story. He was destroyed emotionally, and his play on the remaining holes was not enough for him to re-capture the lead. To add salt to an open wound he, the winner of the Master’s last year, had to place the green jacket on the new winner, Danny, and pretend to be pleased with Danny’s championship. He wasn’t. Neither was I. Neither were many, many people throughout the world who were watching. Jordan had won the tourney through that nasty 12th hole, and his victory was assured.
It was a good lesson for all of us, including Jordan. Nothing is assured until the last putt on the 18th green. In this case, overconfidence was not rewarded. That’s a message that isn’t restricted to golf.
I just read a beautiful posting written by Jordan’s caddy who may well be his best friend. He is certainly tied to Jordan’s hip when they are on the greens. It is a very moving message, in which he says “they” will be okay. That Jordan knows how to win and how to lose. I hope so.
We all lose at times. I know what it feels like, and I’m suspicious that all of you do as well. It hurts…bad. It seems as if the hurt will never go away. No matter how comforting friends and family are to you at that moment, it’s hard to imagine being able to wake up again some day and not be thinking about the loss.
Some people use the euphemism about death that they “lost” their loved one when she died. I’ve never been fond of that comment. But in this case, the feeling is similar. It’s hard to believe that you will ever wake up without thinking about the deceased and mourning her. You will. It may take time, but your pain will heal… if you let it. Life and death are givens. So are wins and losses in the things we care about in our lifetime, like Jordan’s golf game.
There will be other big tourneys to come…some quickly. Jordan has the U.S. Open ahead of him. June 16-19. And I suspect he’ll be just fine by then. Let’s hope so, anyway.