In my book The Mental Side of Golf, I made frequent references to Tiger Woods and the unbelievable precision he has brought into the world of golf. The major element that he has provided is his phenomenal ability to focus which had often resulted in his coming back from a deficit score in order to win tournaments. That ability, it is said, was the result of early training that he received from his father, who was a highly trained soldier reportedly with tremendous self control. As an example, when Tiger was having difficulty as a result of being distracted by the golfing gallery who were taking photographs of him, his father would stand within hearing distance of his play jiggling his keys to provide an artificial distraction.
Some people talked about Tiger as being an “automaton” … someone devoid of feeling and emotion. In effect, they were correct because in order to develop and maintain the kind of focus for which he was famous one would need not just to manage interfering feelings and thoughts. Indeed, in order to accomplish that feat, one would need to block out those feelings and thoughts. That being the case, the question needs to be raised: what happens to those feelings? Where do they go? Can they truly be vanished from our minds and emotions? Is there a price that needs to be paid in order for that to occur? Is this similar to veterans who have experienced combat suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome?
I like to use the analogy of a balloon being depressed from one end. What happens to the air? Well, the balloon would protrude at the other end. Essentially, the same thing happens when we depress our feelings. A price must be paid as a result. The reason for that is simple: we are human and humans are meant to have and express feelings. Now I understand that an athlete would need to block out interfering thoughts or feelings to some extent in order to perform their role. But to the extent that Tiger Woods was noted for doing so to the degree that he did may have been an extreme. Just as a soldier must go to extremes to do their job, the price that must be paid for them is PTSD (post traumatic stress). For Tiger Woods, the price may have been the problems that he’s struggling with respect to his sexuality and family problems. The old saying: “If you play, you’ve got to pay” certainly applies. No one is beyond their humanity. No one that I know has reached perfection yet!
Both as a consultant and author, Charles Bonasera’s story-telling have motivated people to change patterns and resolve problems in their lives. All of his books contain valuable, practical lessons that people can easily apply to bettering and managing their lifestyles. He has also written a myriad of articles which can be found on his website at www.charlesmbonasera.com.