Golf is gentlemen’s game where strict (usually) adherence to etiquette. We always try our best to score low and close out match play rounds to the best of our abilities. There are times when we are the receiving end of a beat down, but there are a few instances where we are the players leading the pack. I often wonder in golf if there is ever a time where our play is so demoralizing to our opponents that they just throw in the towel early. In other words, we have opened a can of whoop…. and might seem disingenuous.
I have played a few events where I actually held back my game (match play only) because I was playing very well and my opponent not so much. I one instances I was up six after the front nine and closed my opponent out on the 12th hole. The match was not close and no matter what my competitor tried, it did not work out. This was an easy match and actually felt a bit of remorse because I played so well. Some would call my thinking crazy, but that is type of player I am. This particular event, I unintentionally opened a can of whoop…..
Due to my tendency to feel compassion for my competition (from time to time) I have found myself in a pickle during the odd match. I have taken my foot off of the throttle and then found myself in a tight match. I have not lost one of those, but I have tied one. My opponent was thrilled about the comeback and considered it a win. I guess in this case, I received the whooping down the stretch.
Fortunately, I have learned a lesson or two from my previous matches. The largest nugget is to not worry about the score or if my opponent is not playing the best to the ability. It is the nature of golf and I really should focus on my game and how I am playing on game day. Sometimes I the score will demonstrate that I opened a can of whoop…., but I can honestly say that I never intentionally try to run up the score, it just happens. As I move forward in competitions, I will let the score take take of itself and focus on my game. If that means closing an opponent out early in the match or winning a tournament by 14 strokes (real event) then so be it. I know my intent and it is never to make someone feel bad about playing golf.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!
4 thoughts on “Opening A Can Of Whoop…..”
Jim, your post brings back two distinct memories. First was a club championship I was playing in the mid-1990s. I played the best golf of my life and shot a 69 in the first round. A close friend I used to play with who was very competitive, played with me that first round and shot something like a 77 or 78. He withdrew after he concluded he had no chance to win and told me it was like playing with Greg Norman – the highest compliment I’ve ever received 🙂
Second was a decade earlier when I was in the business. We used to play local MAPGA tournaments and Fred Funk was in the field. Every week we took a whooping and knew we were just playing for second place.
I concluded that worrying about who’s kicking whom is a distraction trap. Golf is so hard and unforgiving that sometimes it’s close, sometimes you get kicked, and sometimes you do the kicking. Just try your hardest every time out and let the chips fall where they may. I do commend you for your sense of sportsmanship, though.
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Thanks for the compliment. The consensus is to always play our best and the score will take care of itself. This makes my decision going forward much easier. Thanks.
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What you’re competitor does should never enter your mind in a tournament. The game is about giving it your best. And as a competitor whether I played great or badly if I knew my competitor was holding back, I’d feel the worse for it. I’d rather get slaughtered. At least if I couldn’t produce great golf, I’d have an up front seat to view it.
Match play takes out the sandbagging consideration I guess, but I think you’ve made the correct choice on this. Give it your best every time. The other guy is trying to too even if he can’t manage it that day. The way I see it, playing our best is more apt to inspire him than holding back is anyway if he has his mind in the right place for golf.
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We agree that we should play our best all the time. Sometimes we are on the winning side for sure. I love competing and will continue to play my best moving forward regardless of the score.