Guest Editorial: Epic golf collapse teaches
Somewhere on the job this week, we predict, co-workers will witness an epic collapse. Perhaps around a conference table or on the factory floor, they’ll watch as an otherwise able colleague blows it big time, by bungling the math, or coming unprepared to a meeting, or sending an errant email.
You know what we mean — a flop-sweat-inducing, gasping-for-breath kind of mistake. It happens every day.
To that person, and to all who face pressure to perform at work, we offer two words of perspective: Jordan Spieth.
Spieth, the No. 2 ranked golfer in the world, was poised Sunday to win his second consecutive Masters Tournament when he suffered a meltdown for the ages. Holding a seemingly impregnable five-stroke lead with nine holes to play, he bogeyed two holes in a row. This was bad but not reason to panic because golf is a tough game and Spieth still had the lead.
Then came the screw-up, the undoing, the humiliation.
At the par-3 12th, a beguiling hole framed by pines, Spieth lost concentration, sending his tee shot into Rae’s Creek. Oof. He took a drop near the water and tried again. This swing was even worse. There was a chunk from his club hitting grass before ball. Sod flew and this shot plopped into the drink, too.
Two bad swings plus two penalties and Spieth was still trying to get on the green. His next shot sailed into a bunker.
With two more strokes to get the darned ball in the hole, Spieth, one of the world’s best golfers, finished the 12th with a rare and hideous quadruple bogey — four strokes over par.
And he did it at the worst possible moment: trying to lock up a Masters win at Augusta National, arguably the game’s greatest tournament. “Buddy, it seems like we’re collapsing,” he told his caddie at one point. No one who follows the game will ever forget it.
So about that flubbed report, that mishandled client, that expensive piece of ruined equipment and what to do when disaster strikes …
Spieth, only 22 years old, tutored all of us in how to deal with self-induced error. He pulled himself together on the course, birdied the next hole, though doing so wasn’t enough to reclaim momentum. Then he put his anguish aside and participated in the post-tournament crowning of the new champion, Danny Willett.
The Masters has its peculiar traditions, including the awarding of a green sport jacket to the winner by the defending champ. So there was Spieth, dying a little on the inside, slipping the green jacket onto Willett.
After that, Spieth toughed it out for the cameras, answering questions without excuses even as he searched for an explanation. “Big picture, this one will hurt,” he said. “It will take a while.”
We can’t predict the timing or location of Spieth’s next victory.
But we can count the lessons he taught us Sunday at the Masters:
— Even good employees have bad days at the office, the factory, the store.
— When disaster strikes, strive to regain your composure while accepting responsibility for your shortcomings.
— And if you’re playing the 12th at Augusta, watch out for the water.