Few occasions in the golfing calendar have generated as much newsprint as Annika Sorenstam's decision to compete with men in the Bank of America Colonial.
It is, to many, a remarkable event but the way in which Annika has gone about her business offers a number of ways in which we could all improve if we were to follow her example.
First, she recognises that the course is 600 or so yards longer than she is used to, and probably playing the equivalent of another 300 yards on top of that because of the very wet and soft underfoot conditions. Her average driving distance of 275.4 yards puts Sorenstam in 2nd place on the LPGA Tour but well among the also-rans in the men's game.
So the first lesson is, if you can't compete in distance, don't try. A mistake that many amateurs make, when playing with comparatively big-hitting partners is to feel embarrassed and try and keep up but it's a recipe for disaster.
Second, although disappointed at the weather, Sorenstam is not bemoaning it or cursing the golfing gods. Her attitude suggests that she's doing a good job of not getting frustrated by things over which she has no control.
Third, because of her lack of distance, she acknowledges that she will need to be very straight and have a red-hot short game, so that is what she has been primarily working on this week.
Fourth and last, she knows that she is the centre of the golfing world's attention but, in the limited opportunities she's had to play the course, she continues to let nothing distract her from the shot in hand. We handicap golfers will porobably never play in front of galleries of thousands and reporters and photographers numbering the hundreds but blocking out the peripheral world and focussing on making the shot are nevertheless useful skills to develop, irrespective of what is, or is not, going on around you.
|| 22 - MAY 2003