Tiger Won’t Win Until He Learns to Master Grief

Emotions are inevitable, but winners don't get overwhelmed.

The road to the top is always bumpy. There will be many failures and disappointments along the way and sometimes it seems like there are millions of them. Failure doesn’t bother the half-hearted much because they don’t invest much effort. They aren’t that serious, and aren’t surprised when they come up short. But when you really care about winning, the failures hurt more – they burn. The danger is letting the fire overwhelm you and keep you from doing your best.

All of winning involves overcome coming problems.
And they come in a variety of ways:

  • Some you see coming
  • Some surprise you
  • Some just happen to you
  • Some you create for yourself

In the final analysis, it doesn’t matter. If you get frustrated and give into your grief and anger, you can’t win. Here’s what happens – you over-focus on:

  • what went wrong
  • why it shouldn’t have
  • the injustice of it all

When you give in to this, it is a clear sign of being overwhelmed. When you do that, you’re beaten.

Failure brings grief.
It’s not just getting beaten, it’s that it’s so infuriating. All the hard work, all the extra effort – down the drain. The emotions come pouring in. It’s grief, it’s anger, it’s frustration, and there’s no escaping it. There’s no defense because it doesn’t answer to logic. You explain things to yourself logically, yet grief comes roaring in anyway, and it wants to take over. It wants to shut you down.

You have trained yourself for so many other things, but this seems to explode out of nowhere, and if you haven’t learned to expect it and how to handle it, it will bring you down.

Here’s the good news:

  • You don’t have to give in.
  • You don’t have to lose control.
  • You can beat grief and anger.
  • You can hang in there; absorb the emotion and win anyway.

Grief from failure is a terrible, heavy and destructive burden.
It is a real threat to your future. When it envelopes you, it clogs your mind and clouds your thinking. You start questioning yourself, wondering if you’re good enough. You start obsessing over your weaknesses. Feelings of inferiority rush in. The victim mentality – poor pitiful me – rears it’s ugly head.

If you don’t shake that off, you have no chance to bounce back, because that’s what winners do – they bounce back, again and again, until they win.

Everyone has failures, but not everyone can get past them.
Someone who can handle setbacks, stay calm and focused, is showing that they have the toughness it takes to win. They may not necessarily win, but they’re not going to beat themselves.

This ability is not just one of the many you have to learn if you’re going to succeed. It’s one of the most critical.

Tiger Woods is dealing with this exact issue right now.
Before, he seemed impervious to pressure, but right now he’s not that tough. He was feared for his mental toughness. He never lost focus. He never beat himself. But now things are different.

Golf’s greatest player got beat by grief.
In the last round of the recent British Open, sitting only a shot or two out of the lead, Tiger was poised to strike and win his first major in years. He wanted this one badly. He hadn’t won a Major tournament in years, and he desperately wanted to win and silence his critics.

This was what he had been working for, and now was the moment. Yet what happened? Rather than finishing in glory, he got off track early. Tiger was only a third of the way around the course before he was raging and swearing because of a few simple mistakes.

He was furious with himself.
He’s Tiger Woods! Tiger Woods doesn’t make mistakes on Sunday. That’s his hero day, when he hits shots that amaze the crowds and makes them roar. That’s when he shows his legendary focus, intimidates the competition, and wins.

But not today. Today he was blowing it. He completely lost perspective, even though he still was in position to win. He still had most of the course left to play, and a shot or two to make up, but the imperfections enraged him.

You’re not the same when you let grief overwhelm you.
In golf, when you get upset, you lose your concentration, your rhythm, and even your breathing and movements become erratic. Although you’re unaware of it, your joints tense up. You stop thinking clearly – you become a different player – a worse one. Tiger wouldn’t admit it, but that’s what happened.

Even the most casual observer could tell. It was that obvious. From that point on, he had no chance to play his best. He might have hit some good shots, played some good holes, but he wasn’t going to win.

He beat himself.
Sure, he has a lot of areas that need improvement. He’s making a lot of mistakes he never made before, but how bad could he be? It was Sunday, and he was right near the top of the leader board. If he’d held it together, there’s no reason he couldn’t have won – but he didn’t. And again, he lost.

Tiger is re-learning a lesson we all must learn:

You’ll never win until you learn to master your grief.

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