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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Nancy Lopez Talks About Short Memories

Here’s a book you won’t see very often: The Education of a Woman Golfer by Nancy Lopez. She wrote that book at the ripe old age of 22, just after her rookie year where she won five times in a row, in addition to nailing the Big 4: the Vare Trophy (low scoring average), money title, Rookie of the Year, and Player of the Year awards. (You may recall that Jiyai Shin came close to winning that “Slam” this year.) Nancy won only three majors – all of them LPGA Championships – but she is still regarded as one of the greatest (and most popular) women players ever.

Her thoughts concerning how you deal with loss are especially poignant, considering her heartbreaking disappointments in the U.S. Women’s Open, where she finished 2nd four times:
The first thing I do after losing, regardless of whether I lost a close one because of a silly lapse or simply was snowed under by a rival running on a hot streak, is to forget it. I take a look at my calendar and start thinking about where we’ll be playing next week, and I’ll show ‘em then! Remember the lyrics in the song “Many a New Day” from the show Oklahoma? The show was long before my day, but the movie is always being revived and the girl tells about not ever looking back, but always looking ahead. She sings that she never asks an August sky what happened to last July.

That’s me, and that’s a substantial part of my education in philosophy. (p.129)
Musicals aren’t my thing, but I really like that line. Never ask an August sky what happened to last July. It’s a good way to play golf. (It’s a good way to live, but that’s another post.) Learn from your mistakes and move on.

That’s a really good thought to carry into your 2010 golf game. As Shakespeare said, “what’s past is prologue”; the past is merely the opening act, not the play itself. Play this round to the best of your ability, and forget the past bad ones.

(And for those of you interested in such things, you can check out the context of Shakespeare’s original quote here.)

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