“In memory of a once fluid man, crammed and distorted by the classical mess”
Bruce Lee, martial arts legend
I don’t know about you, but I was not surprised when Tiger’s short birdie putt on 18 yesterday in his match against Nick Watney didn’t even touch the hole.
Talk about looking crammed, distorted, and uncomfortable over the ball. Yikes!
Paul McGinnely, (who was a guest commentator on Sky Sports) said, “Tiger no longer conveys the feeling that he is destined to win”. I wrote this in a previous post over a year ago, ‘How Tiger gets his Mojo back – Part 6‘, although I referred to it using a Chinese concept – the Mandate of Heaven. And while the best of Tiger is yet to come, after watching him fail to win in Australia last fall, at Dubai a month ago, Pebble Beach a few weeks ago, and the Accenture yesterday — primarily due to poor putting — his struggles on the links provide an valuable object lesson to golfers of every level.
(1) It takes the average golfer two years for swing changes to become sufficiently ingrained into the body’s ‘Muscle Memory’ that they become automatic under the pressure of competition . Tiger is nearing that point where he can trust his swing and freely create and innovate in the heat of battle.
(2) But if the long game reflects physical balance, iron play mirrors emotional poise, the short game highlights mental clarity, and putting displays spiritual attunement, perhaps Tiger needs more work to attune spiritually. One way is through more meditation – bringing the mind to a standstill.
The art of meditation – of making the empty, empty – is a learned skill. And as my teacher says, “The power of the mind at standstill is without limit”. Tiger had this in years past, then lost it. And as a result, he no longer goes deep in the moment of truth, and is no longer sealed inside his cocoon and zone of silence over must-make putts. Tiger did not exude confidence yesterday while putting. His mind was not quiet, still or empty. And without emptiness he cannot enter the “zone” and traverse its heights. It almost seems as if he is trying to force his way in, and use his willpower to overpower the game.
While this approach may have worked in the past, we have entered a new time. Its 2012. Everything has stepped up to a higher level. When Tiger burst on the scene he raised the bar. Now a new generation of players from around the globe have stepped up to this level and absolutely have no fear
So Tiger’s next step may perhaps be counter-intuitive to the training and code his father and teacher, the late Earl Woods (a true Warrior’s Warrior and Martial Arts Master), instilled. Rather than trying harder and attempt to bring the limited power of the Ego to bear, the key is to try less. To relax in the heat of battle, breathe deep, and let the golf play him, and through him. To become empty, utterly still, and be a vessel for his Higher Self, and a Higher Power. Its a new day. We’ve entered higher vibrational domains and what worked a decade ago, or just a few years ago, won’t work now.
Perhaps, these insights from the late, great martial arts legend, Bruce Lee (The Art of Fighting, without Fighting) point the way clear?