Friday, March 26, 2010

Upsets

Just a brief post today about mindset...

I'm writing this during halftime of the NCAA game between Kentucky and Cornell. If you don't keep up with college basketball, all you need to know is that Cornell shouldn't even be in this game. They pulled an upset by beating Wisconsin last weekend. Ironically, there's already been one upset tonight, with Butler knocking Syracuse out. The overall favorite, Kansas, got beat last weekend by... Northern Iowa. No offense to the NI guys, but most viewers didn't even think they were in the same country as Kansas.

Upsets are the name of the game. Today on ESPN's SportsNation show, co-host Colin Cowherd (say that 5 times fast!) remarked that if Kentucky and Cornell were playing a 4-out-of-7 series, he'd say Cornell had no chance. But it's not -- it's a "one-and-done" situation where, if you make a mistake, you could be out.

He might as well have been talking about our sport.

Today at Bay Hill, Bubba Watson shot a 4-over 76. Last week he had a chance to win the Transitions Championship, but finished 3rd... and he had a T2 earlier this year. Meanwhile, Davis Love III (you remember him, don't you?) is tied for the lead. Davis had a T5 at the Sony, then promptly missed the last four cuts.

We always say that golf is a game of "what have you done for me lately." Every round is a "one-and-done" game for us, which means that, if you're good enough to play with somebody, even if they usually beat you, there's a chance you can shock them with an upset.

Should you count on that? Probably not... but I'm an optimist. I know it doesn't seem that way when you're struggling, but this isn't an impossible game. If you keep your head straight, you'll play better than you expect... and they might not.

But your biggest opponent is your own low expectations. Fortunately, they don't play very well... so play to beat them. You just might be surprised by the outcome.

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