Rory McIlroy, a 22 year old golfer from Northern Ireland, won the United States Open golf tournament yesterday. He also lead the tournament from start to finish and broke the tournament record by four strokes. He dominated the best golfers in the world after famously melting down only in April at the Masters golf tournament. Here is what I wrote in April after his performance.
The value of experience is expressed in many ways - "learning how to win", "failing forward", "putting in your time", etc... . They are all true - you must earn your experience. It has been said that you learn more in failure than in success. I am not sure if this is true in all circumstances, but as I observed how Irish golfer Rory McIlroy conducted himself after he lost his confidence, then his ability to make par, then finally the lead, which he had held for 63 of the 72 holes of the most prestigious golf tournament in the world.
McIlroy took full responsibility for his failures. He understood the issues; he made no excuses. Here are some quotes:
"I didn't handle the pressure particularly well. It was my first time in that position and hopefully I will do better next time."
"I lost it for three holes and couldn't recover my confidence after that."
"I am terribly disappointed right now and it will be hard for a few days but I will get over it."
"I'm 21 - hopefully I will learn from my mistakes and be better prepared the next time."
McIlroy was poised, confident, and available in defeat. He will be back and win major golf tournaments because he has the temperament, talent, and personal accountability to really learn from this experience. His ownership of the situation will accelerate his personal growth.
He provides a great model for us all.
After his loss in April, McIlroy seemed authentic, accountable, and resolved to grow from his experience. He understood there are few shortcuts to sustainable success and he was confident in his talents and work ethic. He knew he would have another chance to win a major golf tournament.
Golf legend, Jack Nicklaus, said of McIlroy, "He's humble when he needs to be humble and he's confident when he needs to be confident." Not surprising from a man whose father, Gerry, had to work three jobs so Rory could pursue his passion for golf.
Gerry and Rory are great examples of people who have earned their success.
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