It’s competition day. The field of 78 long drivers will be cut to 12 by the end of the day. My goal right now is to be one the top 12. I’m on the tee at 3:30, which leaves me too much time on my hands in the morning. I don’t mind saying that I’m edgy as a cat. But one of my favorite sayings is “learn to love the battle” from an article by Martina Navratilova. As good as she was, she always felt butterflies before a competition. But as she became more experienced she learned to welcome the feeling, because it told her she was ready and looking forward to competing. She learned to use that edginess to her advantage.
Yesterday on the range I worked mostly on my routine, timing, and tempo. There’s noting I can do about my swing at this point. In the heat of battle instincts will come through. So it all comes down to routine.
As I write this a few hours before tee time I’m going through my strategy and visualizing my routine and my shots. I know what I’m going to do on the first ball, and the second, and the third. I have contingency plans if my first ball, second ball, third ball etc. doesn’t find the grid. I don’t want to be on the tee trying to make strategy decisions in the moment. There’s no time, and I don’t want to have any doubts about whether I am making the right decisions or not. Doubts take you out of the zone, or flow. I know I’ve prepared as well as I can given the circumstances, so now I need to trust my preparation.
If you read my posts on mental toughness and the lion you’ll get a kick when I tell you my 6-year old daughter printed a picture of a lion, turned it into a card that says “Good Luck” and hid it inside my luggage. I didn’t discover it until I got here, but it sure put a smile on my face. It helped me to remember that no matter how the competition goes it’s the effort that matters. It’s stepping up and allowing yourself to do your best. It’s not about winning or losing, but about setting an example of never giving up or giving in, and being the kind of role model my kids will be proud to emulate. And win or lose I know I have the biggest prize waiting for me at home: a big hug from the people I love.