Last week at Tory Pines Kyle Stanley was expected to win the Farmers Insurance Open because he had a three shot lead on the last hole. The tournament officials were so sure he was going to win that they wrote his name on the huge (fake) check they give the winner to hold during the award ceremony. But Stanley had a humiliating collapse on the 18th hole forcing a playoff which he lost.
Stanley, only 25 years old, was so heartbroken that he cried in the press room and just said he was “in shock.” All the golf pundits said he would eventually recover, because he is very talented; but it could take him a long time to get over this loss. In fact, the analysts were saying some pros never get over a loss of this magnitude.
During the days that followed it was reported that Stanley was getting a great deal of support from other golf professionals and kind words from fans. Stanley, himself, said he picked up about 4,000 new followers on Twitter — all wishing him well. And perhaps it is this wealth of support that helped him get over the loss.
He not only got over the loss but he won the Waste Management Phoenix Open just seven days later. On Sunday, he was eight shots behind the leader of the Phoenix Open. Stanley shot a final round of 65 to win the tournament by one stroke. He did have some help because the leader on Sunday had his own collapse by letting the six stroke lead he had at the beginning of the day fall by the wayside. But Stanley still had to put himself in position to win.
If you think about a time in your life when you failed miserably and the impact it had on you emotionally; just imagine the mental and emotional impact of the public failure Stanley experienced at Tory Pines. Then just days later, to have the mental fortitude to put the loss behind you and go out and play again; and put yourself in a position to win. And then win! Amazing! When Stanley realized he had won the Phoenix Open, he cried again but this time it was tears of joy.
So what does that mean to his career — everything. Some people might say it benefits his career because he is now a marketer’s dream with his amazing come back. And, I’m sure it will have a huge impact on his image. Personally, I think the bigger benefit to his career is the confidence he gains in himself as a player. If golf is truly a game of mental toughness then he has a lot of experience to draw from when he faces his next unforeseen challenge. After all, I’m sure he wants to win again and not be just a “one-hit wonder.”
And by the way, the payday was pretty sweet too. Along with the trophy, he took home a check for $1,098,000 and landed a spot in April’s Masters tournament.
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