One week ago my son and ventured into San Francisco on the final day of the President’s Cup to see the best golfer’s in the world, and specifically, Tiger Woods.
I am a huge golf fan and have followed Tiger Woods from his early days. In fact, I actually remember Tiger’s appearance on the Mike Douglas show when he was 2 years old. He was on with Bob Hope and they had Tiger hitting balls into a net and it shocked the audience how this toddler could get up and hit the ball. He didn’t have much muscle obviously but the ball nevertheless shot off the face of his club and straight into the net. Upon seeing this, Bob Hope had to make a joke of it and said something like he wouldn’t want to have to play Tiger for money but would be able to overpower him when he had to pay off the bet.
The day was very cold in San Francisco and for some reason, I left my sweater in the taxi and so I had to make due with only a couple of shirts. The cold was there in the wind and the overcast skies but the golf, the gallery, and my son made it a memorable day.
The tickets were not cheap as I paid $75 a piece for my son and I to go plus we bought these little ear radios for another $20 although it allowed us to hear what was happening all over the course. It kept us updated on the matches and that was great because Sunday was all singles matches and so people were spread out over six or seven holes.
We got there and quickly went to the driving range where they had stands set up. It was so packed that you couldn’t find a seat and they had marshals standing at the entrance to the stands and when somebody got up, you went right to their seat. We were waiting for Tiger to show up and when he did, the crowd in the stands went wild. We got a seat in the front row right behind Tiger. It was amazing to watch him hit balls… All the golfers in fact, but Tiger was something special. When he finished I felt bad because half of the entire stands got up and left with him!
We stood along with thousands of others on the first fairway as we wanted to see Tiger tee off. He smoked his drive down the first fairway but it hooked into the trees. He eventually lost the hole and was quickly one down in the match. It’s about all he lost that day as he went on to drub Y.E. Yang, 6 and 5 I believe. Y.E. played with Tiger in the final round of the PGA championship, the last major or the year and he is also the only one Tiger has given up the lead in a major going into the final round so I knew that no matter what Tiger said, he wanted to spank Yang.
We got close to Tiger on the 7th hole as went around to the other side of the green and as they were lining up their putts, the volunteers began making a walkway through the crowd to allow the players to walk off the green and to the next tee box after they finished the hole. They used ropes and the divided us right where my son and I were and created a pathway of about 12 feet wide the players would walk through. The crowd shoved against the ropes as they wanted to get close to Tiger. Surprisingly, or maybe not so surprisingly, when the players finished the hole, they walked toward us and walked straight down the middle between the ropes, not near the ropes where they could be grabbed. I could have ALMOST reached out and touched Tiger but they gave him just enough room so that he was safe IF he stayed down the middle of the path they created.
I say safe as when he walked through the crowd people reached out and tried to touch him. It was like some rock concert!
Tiger went on to clinch the cup for the U.S. with an improbable birdie on the 11th or 12th hole.
I know this is a long lead-in to the point I want to make so you’ll have to forgive me.
My point is Tiger is the best in the world at what he does and he communicates to the media in a way that reflects an aspect of what he wants them to see. What I mean is he gives, for the most part, a very compassionate, intelligent, and planned message of how he wants to be seen. I don’t mean this in any way negative as I believe that Tiger, down deep, is just like you and me. He is down-to-earth, caring, compassionate, and wants to do his part to help make the world a better place. His foundation is a testament to that fact.
Tiger, away from the camera, so I am told and in my heart I truly believe, is an altogether different person.
The Tiger away from the camera is one of the guys. He’s funny, competitive, likes to tell jokes (not always the cleanest… lol) and in most ways exactly like the rest of us. What is the amazing part is that people put him on a different shelf. They elevate him to a status level that goes beyond normal. Tiger, its been said is the most recognizable athlete in the world and may be the most recognizable person on the planet.
Does this make him better?
No, but it does make him unique.
What can we learn from Tiger?
What I have learned from Tiger is something I believe everyone should be aware of.
Tiger makes a conscious decision about what he says and how it may reflect on him, his image, and his goals. He goes into meetings, interviews, and presentations with an idea of what he wants to convey and how he wants the message conveyed. I believe he makes a conscious decision of not only what he wants to say but how he wants to say it.
This is an incredible tool for the rest of us.
If before we go into a meeting, or even before we go into a social function we ask ourselves “how do I want to be perceived in this meeting?” it will give us direction about not only what we might say, but the intent, and emotional direction in which we may choose to speak from.
This is BIG!
By being aware of what we want to accomplish and how we want to do it, we are less likely to react to someone’s words, taunts, put-downs, or insults. It allows us to gain a greater measure of control of who we are and what comes out of our mouth. This in turn will allow us to be seen more clearly as the way in which we truly want to be seen.
I loved watching the President’s Cup and I would love to play golf with Tiger Woods one day. Not to play with him in a state of awe although his golfing skills far outstrip my own, no. I want to play with him as one of the guys – someone I can play a round with and play around with. I want to laugh with him and at him, tease him, honor him, and enjoy his company. I would hope he would do the same to me. Because although Tiger has achieved his own level of rock star fame, I know deep down he is just one of the guys who enjoy having a good time. He’s just got an exceptional skill in whacking a little white ball around.
He’s not unlike you and I as we have our own set of unique skills. Just because we aren’t perceived by the masses and treated as rock stars doesn’t mean we don’t have great value in the world.
Think about it and know it to be true.
If you see Tiger, tell him I’ll be waiting on the first tee trying to get him into a bet for lunch that he can’t win but I know we’d have fun anyway. We’d have fun because down deep, I know is one of the guys – Just like me and you.
As always, I am open to your thoughts and feelings.
Blessings to you and yours.