Sports analogies and stories are quite common and often over used and over stated, but today I have another story about The Open at St. Andrews that is one of the best. I was fortunate enough to personally witness this amazing win this past weekend.
“Dreams have been realized, goals accomplished. I’m honored to be your Open Champion and Champion Golfer of the Year,” said Zach Johnson…after winning The 2015 Open Championship at the home of golf. Zach has now won 2 Major Championships, something accomplished by only 48 professional golfers in the history of the game. His 12 victories ranks him in the top 80 golfers all time for PGA Tour wins.
Zach’s story is important because he is not the most famous, not the most physically gifted, no poster boy for golf, not one of the ‘young up and comers’. It is about hard work, dedication, setting and fulfilling goals, fortitude, commitment, focus, attitude, confidence and faith. He is a humble and a self-professed ‘average guy’ from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Just because you may feel like an average person, it does not mean you do not have greatness in you. You have to make your own way to achieve whatever your head and heart desires.
The amazing part of this story is that Zach was not even the number one golfer on his high school or college golf team. He ended up playing collegiate golf at tiny Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, disappointed that his favorite, a major University, The University of Iowa did not even think he was good enough to make their team.
Fast forward 13 years to when he won the 2007 Masters, his 2nd PGA Tour Win and first major, he was humble and based on his background said he did not necessarily think he would ever win a major. Interestingly, he is still the humble winner he was eight years ago, stating ‘I am just a normal guy from Iowa and did not think I would ever win this’ as he now won his second major. However, he reflected on his success and credited it to setting goals, having an unending desire to succeed, working hard, staying focused, being committed, remaining positive and focusing on constant improvement. He said ‘it just helps me to keep getting better and better’.
Zach has a way of not only making ‘a’ dream come true, but making ‘dreams come true.’ It starts and finishes with setting goals, constantly improving and having the fortitude to stick with it. He likes to keep an ‘even keel’, never getting too high or too low while performing his craft. He figured out what Zach Johnson can do to achieve his dreams and that is what each of you need to do. Figure out what you are best at so you can achieve your dreams.
The realization that his past success guarantees him nothing in the future keeps him going as he noted in the aftermath of the day – ‘this victory will not define my career as there are many more tournaments to prepare for, compete in and try to win…’
A great message for all of us! And…after all Zach is from Lefty’s hometown!