When Tiger Woods emerged from that sea of fans on the 18th fairway Sunday and finished off his first victory since 2013, golf pundits acted as if our great game was emerging again as well.
It certainly won’t hurt golf’s popularity. Tiger is ratings gold, and the Ryder Cup just got even more interesting.
But I have a different take on the game’s most significant development since … well, since the last time Tiger did something amazing, such as winning the U.S. Open on one leg in 2008.
Tiger’s comeback from seeming oblivion reminded me of something you need to keep in mind the next time you plot your golf schedule:
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR????
The beauty of golf is that you can play it all your life. But it sometimes has an expiration date before yours.
You don’t know when your hands or legs are going to start making it difficult to swing the club.
You don’t know when your eyes are going to start deceiving your depth perception.
You don’t know when your nerves are going to start fraying your putting stroke.
If you can get around a course – no matter whether it’s by carrying your bag, riding a cart or pulling one – do it. Now. As often as you can.
Stop putting off that trip to one of golf’s meccas. Stop saying “someday” and start saying “it’s on the schedule.”
Look at what Tiger went through. His body was so beat up, he wasn’t sure he could ever play again.
Think of how that played on his mind. Imagine having trouble just walking, let alone hitting the ball straight.
No wonder he’s such a different guy now, seemingly more appreciative of the second chance he has been given.
I’m as guilty of golf procrastination as anyone.
As much as I love to play, my schedule still fills up with non-golf activities far too often.
Six hours for a round of golf (that includes travel time) just seems impossible sometimes. And, like a lot of just-for-fun golfers, I have a lot of other responsibilities.
But there has been many a time over the years when I looked outside at yet another cloudless day and thought, “It would have been good to play today.” Too many missed opportunities.
I have vowed in recent years to take my clubs to work and play afterward. How many times have I done that? Try zero. And there’s a good and accessible course only three miles from the office.
There have been way too many weeks when I saw that the weekend weather forecast was perfect. “I should play Saturday,” I’d think to myself … on Monday. And then Saturday suddenly would be here, and I’d be sitting on the sidelines.
Consider this a plea to not make the same mistake. You don’t have to play 18 holes. You could play nine. You could just go hit balls. You even could chip and putt for an hour – come to think of it, that’s something we all should be doing far more often.
Think of your golfing life emerging again – only in the case of us mere mortals, there’s nothing heroic about it. We’re just playing. Sometimes, that’s the only victory we need.