It’s already being hailed as one of the greatest comebacks in the history of sport.
Last month Tiger Woods won his 15th major tournament, and fifth Masters title, after a decade without a championship to his name. Over ten years ago, Woods’ personal life had gone off the rails, and his golf game suffered to such an extent he nearly retired. After undergoing four back surgeries, Woods slipped out of the world’s top 1000 golfers. Now though, he has a Green Jacket and is being hailed for this remarkable comeback. Barack Obama tweeted: “To come back and win the Masters after all the highs and lows is a testament to excellence, grit and determination”.
There’s a lot we can learn from Tiger Woods and a lot by which we can be inspired. As Obama says, Woods’ grit and determination were huge factors in his success. In elite level sport, as with so many other careers, it’s often not simply enough to have the natural talent or skill – you need to work for it. There were times when Woods must have felt completely beaten, felt like packing in golf, but he got up every morning and kept working on his game. He didn’t let injuries or past mistakes hold him back.
What we also learn from Woods is the importance of Strategy. Golf isn’t everyone’s favourite sport, but even non-golf fans acknowledge just how crucial the role of strategy is in achieving success. 18 holes where every club must be the right one, every weather event must be accounted for and you need to know just how much power to place on every stroke, as a feather touch too much or too little could be the difference between agony and ecstasy.
Woods had to strategise his win in Augusta, but he also had to strategise his decade-long comeback. The old adage “fail to prepare, prepare to fail” is true for Tiger, and it’s true for all of us. We need to be determined and bristling with self-belief, but we also need clear heads and a plan of action – from the first hole to the final hole.
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