Expectations: A Journey from Failing to Exceeding in One Week

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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Fantasy Golf Results – Farmers Insurance and Abu Dhabi HSBC

I did much better with my fantasy golf picks this week.  In fact the winner for the Farmers Insurance Open was Brandt Snedeker, my pick for group two.  But his win was not the big news.  The big story was the melt down of Kyle Stanley who lost to Snedeker in a playoff.

Kyle Stanley had a three shot lead and on the final hole could shoot a seven (or two over par) and still win. It should have been a “piece of cake” but his shot into the green rolled into the water and that was the beginning of the end.  He shot an eight — unbelievable!  I get eights (or as we call it in golf, a “snowman”) on my scorecard. Pros rarely get eights. The best way to describe it is that it is like watching a kicker missing a field goal that would win the game.  Stanley’s fate was all on him and in the end his miss forced a playoff which Snedeker won.

As much as I am happy that my pick won this week’s tournament, it’s hard not to feel bad for Stanley.  Here are how my picks did overall this week:

Farmers Open: Brandt Snedeker won, D. A. Points T8 (-10), Bud Cauley T13 (-9), and Phil Mickelson missed the cut.

Abu Dhabi HSBC: Rory McIlroy came in second, Darren Clarke, Branden Grace, and Colin Montgomerie all missed the cut.

My final thoughts this week are about Rory McIlroy.  He actually could have been the winner but on Friday he brushed sand off the fringe of the 9th hole (just off the putting green) which resulted in a two-stroke penalty. He lost by one stroke so if he had not had the penalty, he would have won. The rule is that you can move “loose impediments” but “sand and loose soil are loose impediments on the putting green, but not elsewhere.” So McIlroy could brush the sand that was on the green but not on the fringe.   McIlroy said he knew the rule but just wasn’t thinking. That’s a tough penalty for a lapse in concentration; but that’s golf.

Fantasy Golf Results – Humana

Week three and I’m going down hill fast. This week my picks did worse than the last two weeks.  But it is a long season and I can still figure this out and rebound.  I have a new strategy — no more only being “sentimental gal” picking my favorites or picking based on personal stories. Of course, I don’t know all the players so I will still have my “what the heck” pick each week.

I knew that two of my picks were wild cards but my expectations for Mickelson and Howell (or Lefty and Chucky Three Sticks) where much higher and they did not deliver. Here are the results:

(1) Phil Mickelson — Tied for 49 at 10 under par.  The first round he shot a 74 (the leaders had a round of 63 or 9 under par.)  He shot under par the next three days but he could not make up the gap between his score and the leaders.  Mark Wilson won with a final score of 24 under par.

(2) Charles Howell III — Tied for 49 at 10 under par. He just did not play as well as he had in the Sony Open.

(3) Kyle Stanley — Missed the Cut. What can I say he was my “what the heck” pick.  However, I did base my pick on a golf commentator’s review.  Clearly I picked the wrong commentator to follow.

(4) Erik Compton — Tied for 42 at 11 under par.  Well, I was cheering for him given his amazing personal story — being a double heart transplant.  He started off well with a 67, 69 in the first two rounds but needed to go low on the weekend to compete and just didn’t have it.

My biggest disappointment was Mickelson because he had won this event twice before and was the all time money leader for this event so I thought he would be (at a minimum) in the top 10.  In an interview he said it was a long season and he likes to “assess his game” in this tournament.  Wow, if I had known that assessing his game was his goal I would not have picked him.   Attitude is everything and I’m glad he is optimistic about the year but I wish he had more of a fire in him to win this tournament.