TIGER AND ZACH
TIGER TRACKS. I'm not a golfer and no golf fan, but I do watch a bit of the game on TV every now and then. Okay, I only watch golf on TV if Tiger Woods is playing in the tournament. He is phenomenal and his continuing story is one of the greatest in contemporary sports. I'll track his position on the online leaderboard throughout the four days of a golf match. Where he stands at the end of third day determines whether or not I might tune in for an hour or so on a Sunday afternoon.
UPSTAGED BY AN IOWAN. So, I tuned in for the last six holes of The Masters' tournament this afternoon. Tiger's determination couldn't overcome a few bad shots, two near-miss puts in the last four holes, or the confidence of 31-year old Zach Johnson of Iowa. Johnson, whose name I have only seen on leaderboard listings from time to time, apparently had won only one PGA tournament before surging forward out of the pack of six leaders today. It was an inspiring victory and an interesting end to the tournament. I was interested, also, in the public testimony of faith Johnson made (unprompted, unplanned, non-soapbox) during his first post-tournament interview.
WHAT'S THE KEY? Does anyone know what makes a Zach Johnson great on one weekend and just one among a hundred contenders the next weekend? What is it that keeps Tiger Woods at the top--his ability to be be consistently "on" round after round, week after week, season after season? It seems to me that golf is as much (or more) played in the mind and will as it is played with trained skill and physical ability. Pulling all these together with focus and rising to the occasion in real competiton may be what sets Tiger Woods apart.