Editor’s Note: The originally scheduled blog titled Forrest Gump & Perseverance will be posted on Thursday, April 15, 2010
The Masters Golf Tournament is arguably the biggest golf event of the year. This past weekend’s event at the famed Augusta National Golf Club certainly lived up to it’s billing from an entertainment perspective. Tiger Woods return to the public arena and his first golf event since his self-imposed exile of 5+ months for sexual improprieties guaranteed an entertainment factor in and of itself. How would he perform? Would he win? Would he be more temperate and respectful of the game as he had previously resolved?
And this answer is – he performed very well albeit a bit erratic. He didn’t win, but he was lurking the entire time. And he failed on his temperance and respectfulness. But it certainly was entertaining.
My analysis is two-fold: entertainment and integrity. From an entertainment perspective it was fantastic. Phil Mickelson won his third green jacket against the backdrop of his own personal trauma. Both his wife and mother have spent the better part of the last year battling breast cancer. Phil’s gutsy ‘go-for-it’ style and playing to win versus playing to not lose is dramatic. The commentator remarked the relationship between Phil and his caddie is such that the caddie supports Phil’s choices in each shot selection even if he (the caddie) personally thinks it’s the wrong shot. He knows Phil well enough to know that if Phil believes in a shot, then that’s the most important factor.
My analysis from an integrity standpoint revolves around the definition of the word. For this discussion let’s define integrity as the state of being whole. I do not refer to the common notion of integrity as a moral or ethical judgment. The psychoanalyst Erik Erikson describes a person achieving integrity when that person establishes a complete sense or feeling that his or her life has been meaningful and worthwhile. Erikson goes on to call a lack of integrity in one’s life despair. So in that sense my analysis of integrity is strictly one’s own measurement of one’s self. Are you as a person living up to your own beliefs and expectations? One of the primary reasons I feel Forrest Gump was so admired and beloved was due to his own personal integrity; Forrest knew who he was and lived every moment in personal integrity.
Since Tiger had previously claimed that he would be more temperate and respectful to the game, I feel it’s fair game to comment on how he did in this respect. Did he fulfill on his promise? My grade is a D. He didn’t completely fail but he has a long way to go to win me over. Let me state for the record that I’ve been a huge Tiger Woods fan from when he first became known as a teenage phenom. I watched his career with admiration from Stanford to turning pro to winning 71 times on the PGA tour including 14 Major victories. I’ve marveled and respected his ability to focus and concentrate better then the rest of his peers. I’ve stated many times that you could put any golfer up against Tiger and Tiger would be thinking ‘I’m going to beat this guy’ and the other guy would be thinking ‘I wonder if I can beat Tiger?’ So I’m not here with any grudge against Tiger. I’ve been a fan.
The D grade comes from several outbursts including his shout out to J.C. on 13th tee Sunday and a self-loathing tirade on the 6th hole on Saturday. Tiger certainly must know that everywhere he goes there will be a camera watching and recording his every move and utterance. In the past I accepted this boorish behavior as part of his remarkable intensity and desire to win. Hearing and witnessing them this past weekend after his mea culpas and promises to be more temperate, I found them disappointing. The final and strongest reason for the low grade came from Sunday’s post round interview with a CBS golf analyst. Tiger was pouty about his own play (understandably) and ungracious in defeat. He said he came to win and since he didn’t win he couldn’t be happy. (Please note that I’m paraphrasing from memory on this.)
On the other hand, seeing Phil Mickelson sharing the victory with his cancer stricken wife and beautiful children inspired me. It is possible for one to be great at one’s business and also balance family matters – even when they challenge one’s core spirit.
So if Erikson defines integrity as a complete sense of life meaning and being worthwhile, then Phil Mickelson and Forrest Gump live in integrity. Tiger Woods lives in despair. The good news is it was only a game, it was a highly entertaining event and what is present today doesn’t have to be the way of the future. But it’s easier to root for one who lives in integrity!
Next Blog Title: Forrest Gump & Perseverance
Next Blog Date: Thursday, April 15, 2010