Tag Archives: life

Does Winning Define You?

Tiger Woods’ career winning percentage is 22.8.  Jack Nicklaus’ is 12.0.  Pretty low.  Are these guys considered losers?  We view these icons as outstanding despite the constant defeats.  The answer is how you define winning.  If you play golf professionally or recreationally, and regularly compete in large field events, you’d better take some joy out of the process of trying because your chances of winning aren’t great.

I was struck by the recent comments of Milwaukee Bucks star player, Giannis Antetokounmpo, after being eliminated from the playoffs and being asked if he felt like a failure.  He remarked about Michael Jordan and that Jordan had played 15 years and won six championships, and that the other nine years couldn’t be defined as a failure.  His perspective was spot on and is applicable to golf, all sports, and many aspects in life.  You must immerse yourself in the joy of the process to feel successful because if you confuse effort with results, you’ll be disappointed.    

Some days you play great and just get beat.  Other days you stink and win anyway.  What’s fascinating is the people in professions where failures outnumber successes and how they persevere and are viewed through history.  Sonny Jergensen and Dan Marino were Hall of Fame quarterbacks and never won the Super Bowl.  Were they failures?  The greatest major league hitters fail seven out of every 10 at bats.  Are they losers?  I have the utmost respect for the millions of people in sales who face constant rejection.  The outbound sales success rate for my company is 4%.  I can’t imagine dealing with constant failure and still feeling positive about myself.  How do they do it?

In golf, the most pertinent head case is Rory McIlroy and his quest to complete the career Grand Slam with a Masters victory.  Heading into Augusta this year he had hired renown sports psychologist, Dr. Bob Rotella, and seemed to be doing everything right but fell flat on his face and missed the cut.  Rotella champions process before results more than anyone, but I’m wondering if his teaching is getting through.    Rory seems to be outthinking and out preparing himself and would be better off just going out and playing.  It must be infuriating watching Brooks Koepka piling up major championships with not a bother in the world.  Brooks thinks less and just goes out and plays.

The key is to take small successes out of the process.  Major league hitters know they will fail often but consider a good At Bat a success.  If you made the pitcher throw eight pitches to get you out, that’s a success for the team.  If the sales person gets a return call or email from a prospect, that’s a successful contact even if it doesn’t result in a closed deal.  If I try a new shot in practice and can pull it off during a game of golf, that’s a success even if my score doesn’t reflect it.  Immerse yourself in the process and let the results take care of themselves.

Play well!

Jim Rush: Friend and Player – RIP

My dear friend and playing companion for the last 30 years, Jim Rush, passed away on Wednesday, October 6, 2021.  Folks that knew and played with Jimmy recognized what a selfless, generous, kind, and devoted man he was.  His family, friends, and the local golf community have endured a tremendous loss.

Jim Rush

I first met Jim in the late 1980s at Needwood Golf Course.  He used to work as a construction foreman for the organization that maintained the course and a handful of other municipal tracks in Montgomery County.  Jim and another friend, Mike DeOrio, used to pick golf balls at the range and play together.  I assimilated into their group and a lifelong friendship was born.  Over the course of the next three plus decades, Jim and I played many weekend rounds and charity events together.  We traveled annually to Myrtle Beach and played the RTJ Trail in Alabama, as well as the Boyne Resort in Michigan.  Every Fall, Jim would come with me to my beach house in Bethany Beach, DE to winterize the place and play our little mini-Eastern Shore Tour.   I will miss him.

Pat, Mike, Ronnie, Jim, Cary, and myself at TPC of Myrtle Beach

Along with golf, Jim was an avid varmint hunter and would travel to Ohio, Nebraska, and shoot in the local farmlands of Maryland.  Jim was fond of telling the same hunting stories more than once.  I remember on long drives to out of town golf courses, he educated me over and over on the Coriolis’ effect (earth’s rotational effect on moving objects) and what this had on some of his long hunting shots.  I am now an expert 🙂 Golf, hunting, travel, sports, politics, family life, his daily to-do list, and just about everything else was fair game for a discussion.  I will miss him.

Jimmy was a man of many details.  He always organized the annual Myrtle Beach trips, and even after everyone had cellphones and cars with GPS, showed up at our staging area with 10-page printed copies of directions, maps, and lists of tee times.  Jimmy was late to the technology party but eventually got there.  His laminated index card with 15-20 swing thoughts was legendary and was always in his bag. I will miss him.

Jimmy on the Eastern Shore Tour – #10 tee at Eagles Landing

Jimmy wasn’t shy and had the gift of gab.  As readers of this blog know, I like to review golf courses and feel that the best reviews are done when the course is not aware they are being evaluated.  One year, we rolled into Baywood Greens in Delaware, and I told him that I’d be reviewing the course and to keep it quiet.  He strolled right up to the pro shop attendant and introduced me as a course reviewer from All About Golf and said that their course would be evaluated during our round.  They welcomed us and immediately paired an assistant pro with us for our “enjoyment.”  Thanks Jimmy – I will miss you.  

Jimmy had fought and beat the scorn of cancer for many years.  I won’t dwell on his illness or his courageous fight but watching him through the surgeries and treatments and to see him keep taking lessons and trying to improve was inspiring.  We used to lovingly tease him that he was belting it past all the other one-kidney guys out there.  Eventually his illness cut short his time on the course, and I believe the last time we played together was at Blue Mash in May. 

Jim and I played together, practiced together, filmed each other’s swings, and compared lesson notes from each of our instructors.  When he stopped playing, I felt the void and my game went downhill fast because I lacked the motivation Jimmy provided to improve.  I’ve only played three rounds since the beginning of August and the last was over a month ago.

Here’s a video of Jim “moving that pill” at Blue Mash from 2017: https://youtu.be/Ao-DtUl6uVw

I’m not sure how this story will end and all I know is that I miss you buddy, rest in peace.

Jimmy and I after winning first place in our last charity scramble together