In an educational and ironic twist of fate, I faced exactly the situation I posted about in my last post. We held our club championship over the weekend and I started the final round 2 strokes out of the lead, tied with one of my foursome members. I figured both of us had a decent chance to overtake the leader, who was playing in a different foursome. Since my fellow competitor was the only person I could really keep track of during the round (no scoreboards, remember?) I just tracked my tournament progress against him. For simplicity, I’ll call him Bobby, because that’s his name. (A word of warning to readers: Serious golf nerdyness follows.)
Bobby was on fire the first nine and couldn’t miss a putt, no matter the length. I was putting well, but my long ones were all lipping out or missing by tiny margins while his were falling. He made the turn 4 strokes ahead of me.
I gained a stroke on 10. When we stepped onto the 13th tee I was 3 behind. The 13th, as you may remember, is the par 5 I wrote about in the post.
We both hit nice drives, with mine about 5 yards longer than Bobby’s. The green was marginally reachable for both of us, but with a back pin we were unlikely to get close in 2. We both pulled fairway metals from our bags. Bobby hit a low hook into the hazard. I stood in the fairway holding my club and arguing with myself.
Psychologists know that if you ask a person to monitor and record his or her behavior, the simple act of observation changes the behavior. The observation process also signals a commitment to engage in behavior change. For example, if a smoker is trying to quit and records each cigarette smoked, the number smoked will likely drop even before any behavior change program begins. My blog post was the equivalent of a smoker monitoring cigarette consumption.
Edited for brevity and family viewing, I stood in the 13th fairway thinking: “Look, you idiot. You just wrote about this hole. You should lay up. Lay up! Listen to yourself, bozo!”
If I hadn’t blogged about this hole I wouldn’t have been nearly as convincing as I argued with myself. Stupid Charlie would have been likely to outwit smart(er) Charlie if smart(er) Charlie hadn’t written about the go for it vs. lay up choice. Stupid Charlie probably would have gone for it with a head full of churning uncertainty. I’ve seen him up close, and that’s how he is.
Instead, smart(er) Charlie won. I put down the fairway metal and pulled my 48-degree wedge. Firmly committed to a lay-up shot, I dinked a 100 yard wedge down the center. I followed this with a 7-iron to 5 feet and birdied the hole. Bobby bogeyed after losing his ball in the hazard, for a 2-stroke swing.
I managed a tie with Bobby by the 16th tee. Unfortunately, I bogeyed 17 and fell 1 back. Bobby sank a 15-footer for par on 18 to win by 1. The other leaders had fallen away, so Bobby won and I took second. I guess I need to figure out how to write a blog post that will improve my game around the greens.
Bobby and I are now 1 and 1 in the big annual tournaments this year. Ronfucius and I beat Bobby and his partner in sudden death in our team tournament a few months earlier. (Coincidentally, I won the playoff with a birdie putt after a 7-iron close to the pin. I love that club.) We may not be Spieth and Day, but we have fun.