In his book, Miracle at Augusta, author James Patterson tells the story of fictional character Travis McKinley, a 50-year-old advertising executive turned professional golfer. Throughout the book, McKinley falls on hard times and is suspended from the Senior PGA Tour. During his suspension, he befriends Jerzy Solarski, a teenage Romanian immigrant.
McKinley teaches Solarski how to golf. In one important match, Solarski is faced with a difficult 22-foot putt. He steps up to the ball and nails it.
Amazed at seeing this novice handle the pressure, McKinley remarks, “Let’s see what he’s like in 30 years, after he’s missed a mile of five footers.”
I know it is just a line from a novel, and perhaps I am reading into it too much, but I found it to be a sad, and all too common mentality.
During his 30+ years as a fictional golfer, McKinley has surely missed quite a few putts. Just as we have missed putts, been dumped or had our business idea rejected. Life is tough, Eric Matthews taught me that.
It is sad if we see those 30 years of failure as cloud hanging over our heads, just waiting to unleash a hailstorm of defeat. Instead, wouldn’t it be better to view those 30 years as a helmet, built by experience, shielding us from the inevitable tough weather ahead.
We will all have miles of missed putt, we can turn those miles into frustration and resentment or we can take Eric’s advice, get a helmet and keep putting.