I have spent the last 3 days at St. Andrews watching the golf championship of all championships – where it all began at the 144th Open at the Old Course. Watching my favorites which start with Phil Mickelson, Jordan Speith, Zach Johnson, Graeme McDowell and of course Sergio Garcia.
But today I made special note of David Duval, watching him finish his 3rd round at 5 under par. I immediately turned my attention to David and began to focus on his comeback story.
For those of you who don’t remember, this is a man that over a 3 year period won 11 of 34 events including the 2001 Open Championship. His victory total ranks in the top 70 players in the history of the game. Then he lost his swing.
He was a shy, introverted guy who wasn’t seeking the limelight and after some personal issues in his life – the swing was gone. He could have given up but he kept trying and these days spends more time as a commentator than playing golf.
But this week he showed up and we watch him turn back the clock in time and prove that his game was not as far off as his critics thought. During all of his struggles, he could have made the news by partying too hard, throwing clubs or blaming an injury on why he lost his swing…but he never did.
David is quoted saying “When you're playing well, you forget immediately about the bad shots, but when you're not playing well and you're struggling, you feel like everybody else is hitting it beautiful and perfect all the time."
It has always seemed that he took one step forward and two back – but not this week. He was in control of his golf ball and focused on the positive aspects of the game. This is just another example of how tough it is to be successful when the competition is stiff. If it was easy everyone would win the Claret Jug trophy.
Although I am not a golfer, I love the struggle and intensity of the game. I pay more attention to the golfer, their stories, successes and failures than analyzing the actual drive. Because of this, I sat watching these world class golfers fight to be the best. And in this sport that is hard, because golfers have the lowest winning percentage of any sport. This is not a sport for those not wanting to practice and fight to be the best.
So what does this have to do with business? Everything. You and I both know that sales, leadership and service may involve a team, but the individual must perform. When you don’t give it 100% and don’t pick yourself up when you fall, you are not just letting your team down, you are giving up on yourself. We can all learn a lesson from David Duval.