The 2015 US Open kicked off on Thursday and it was a tough round for many. However, it was a REALLY tough round for Tiger Woods who shot his worst US Open round ever, finishing at 10 over par and ahead of only 2 players.
He had a difficult start with back to back bogeys followed by two more on the front nine. Matters got worse on the back nine, where Tiger added 4 more bogeys and a double bogey on 14. On the 8th hole, his club went sailing through the air when it slipped out of his hands. He ended the day with a shot that went so far in to a bunker that he had to go down a set of stairs to find it. The NY Post described the scene as “an unwatchable train wreck.” Even the 15 year old, Cole Hammer, who qualified for the Open via a sectional qualifier had a better day.
Friday didn’t go much better as Tiger shot a 76 and ended up at 16 over par. It was his highest 36-hole total on the PGA Tour as a professional. He missed the cut and finished with only 3 players having higher scores. He fell and hit his bottom…figuratively and literally.
Of course all of this did not go unnoticed and the comments and posts started showing up on social media. By the time the day was over, some thought Tiger should just throw in the towel. He was compared to Willie Mays in his final days when he stumbled around the bases and Muhammad Ali at the end of his career when most thought he should have retired but didn’t. His ex-coach said he “looks like a lost soul.”
However, that’s not what this story is about. This story is about focusing on the positive. In an interview after the first round and despite the frustrations and negative press, Tiger remained surprisingly optimistic. He had just finished one of the worst rounds in his career, yet, he continued to smile and joked “The bright side is at least I kicked Rickie’s butt today.”
Here’s an excerpt from the interview:
Q. Are you still convinced you’re on your way back to where you want to get to?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I am, I am. I know when I do it right, it’s so easy. It just feels easy to control, easy to do it, easy to hit all my shots. I just need to do it more often and build from there.
Q. How does it leave you feeling right now? What positives, if any, do you take into day two here?
TIGER WOODS: I fought, I fought hard. And that was my number. I couldn’t grind out any harder than that. So that’s just the way I played and unfortunately it was a high number today.
Q. How do you turn the corner, Tiger?
TIGER WOODS: Keep working. Keep grinding and keep working.
Of course he’s a professional and realizes he’s in the spotlight, but many of today’s athletes would have found it difficult to not get emotional or would have stormed off in anger. I respect and admire the fact that Tiger still loves what he does and that he’s not willing to give up. When things get difficult, he sees the situation as an opportunity to work harder and improve. As Jimmy Valvano told us, “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.” Even when having a bad day, keeping a positive attitude can shift your feelings. We can get upset and focus on “how bad” things are or we can brush ourselves off and get right back up. Attitude is everything. Maybe Tiger didn’t have such a bad day after all. He still spent it playing golf. I hope Tiger bounces back. It would be a good lesson on the importance of not letting life get us down and maintaining a positive mental attitude.