Jordan Spieth had an AMAZING Master’s tournament. A wire-to-wire finish the big first major “W”, and a spiffy green jacket to boot! There are 5 things to learn from Jordan Spieth’s Master’s win, in no particular order:
1. Don’t Tweak Your Game if it Doesn’t Need to Be. Peter Kostis, a color commentor for CBS and golf coach, said the Spieth “wasn’t going to change his approach” to Sunday’s round. He was going to play the same way he did the other three rounds.
Think about that: how many of us try to “play safe” if we start out hot, or when we’re getting close to posting a record score? How many times do we have the wheels fall off? Play for the here and now.
How I do that is I fold the scorecard over to only show three holes. So, if I’m on the first hole, all I see is holes 1 through 3. Once 3’s done, I fold it so all I can see is 4-6, and so on. Once holes 1-3 are done, I forget about them until the round’s completely over.
If you have a device that keeps your score, enter it and forget it. Don’t be tempted to sneak a peek, either!
2. Be Complementary, Even to Yourself. How many people do you see chastise themselves on the course? In my opinion, too many. Emulate Spieth: complement others for good shots, but do the same for yourself. The reason is two-fold:
- Negative energy breeds negative results. Honestly, that old saying “there’s power in positive thinking” is, in my experience, completely true.
- Karma doesn’t have to be a b*tch. If you give out good vibes to playing partners or opponents, like Spieth did with his “wows” and “good shots” to partner Justin Rose, that will come back to you many times over.
3. Take Advantage of Par 5’s. This is where you can either make up ground, or lose it big time. If you bogey a par 3, that’s the same as making par on a par 4. If you bogey a par 4, that’s like making par on a par 5. But if you bogey a par 5… there’s no equivalent to make it feel better. Worse still, opportunities for double, triple, or “other” are a greater possibility. Check this picture out:
At the time, Spieth was KILLING par 5’s. Things could’ve swung differently if he was like most of us, making bogey or worse on the par 5’s.
Make the Par 5’s easy. You don’t need to try to crush a big drive, if that’s not your game. Let’s say your most comfortable distance is 150 yards, which is an easy 6 iron. Get yourself to that distance, make your regular swing, and you’ll be looking at a two-putt for par… maybe even a one-putt for birdie!
How would you do it on a 500 yard par 5? Well, if your 6 iron is 150y, it’s likely your 5 iron is 165-170 yards, and your 4 iron/hybrid is in the 180’s. If that’s the case, two easy 4i/h shots, or two easy 5i shots (~175y with each shot) puts you about 150 yards out to the green. Put a nice swing on that favorite 6 iron and voila!
4. Sometimes, However, You Gotta Just Go For It. Watch this:
This shot was A-Freaking-Mazing. He had about thiiiis much of a margin for error, and he made it!
Even though we don’t want to get too far away from what got us to where we are (see #1), sometimes risks are necessary. What makes it a smart risk is when you figure out if the margin for error is too small, and if the consequences are too great, to make it worth the effort.
In Spieth’s case, he had a 4-5 shot lead, but was looking to add to it. By going straight at the flag, he was risking going in the water, but if he did that he wasn’t going to lose too much ground to the field. For him at that time, it was a smart play.
When we’re faced with situations, we sometimes think we can perform a Herculean feat to make a good score. I know that’s one of my biggest on-course flaws… It just doesn’t always work out. Knowing when to lay up and when to go for it is golf’s equivalent to the phrase “Live to Fight Another Day”. Maybe you’ll have to settle for a bogey on this hole, but there’s always another chance at birdie.
5. Do, Or Do Not- There Is No “Try”? Spieth kind of took a lesson from Yoda on this one. At one point during the telecast it was said Spieth was quoted as saying that winning the Master’s was what he’s “supposed to do, the way I’m supposed to play”, not to just “make a run” at this one tournament.
The lesson we can take from this is, give your best effort when on the course (in life, honestly). You may not always succeed, but if you put yourself into position to do so enough times, eventually you’re going to break through and succeed.