At the risk of being known as a sports junkie, I can’t help but compare and contrast the recent final stretch efforts of two living legends: Tiger Woods and Hillary Clinton. Both came into their recent respective races (U.S. Open, Presidential Campaign) as top-dogs but for a variety of reasons, entered the final stretch as underdogs.
Last weekend, Tiger Woods played in the U.S. Open. Having had surgery on his knee just two months prior, Woods looked increasingly in pain during the tournament. At the very last hole (18th) Tiger was one stroke behind Rocco Mediate and was in visible pain, grimacing at every stroke and frequently grabbing and massaging his left knee. But in typical Tiger fashion, he put on his game face and, despite the pain that is going to put him out for the rest of this year, Tiger birdied (four strokes, one less than par) to tie up the game. Rocco Mediate parred that hole.
Now it was off to sudden death, which means that players play sequential holes and whoever wins the next hole, wins the entire tournament. But it was a short death, as Tiger sealed the deal by par-ing (four strokes) the next hole while Mediate bogied (five strokes).
Now let’s compare Hillary Clinton. A forerunner as she entered the presidential race last year, she lost it during the final stretch as she fell behind. Getting visible frazzled and resorting to unbecoming tactics, Clinton looked like a golfer whacking furiously in the sand trip. Instead of focusing on what she does best -- talking about policy and Senate experience -- she just hacked frantically, insinuating sexism, recalling race, and tapping into fear. Down the final stretch, she lost her composure and her game mind.
There is little doubt that Tiger is a living golf legend. I only wish Clinton had spent a more time on her mental game.