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What I Learned from Phil Mickelson at the Deutsche Bank Championship

Posted by Herman Najoli on September 3, 2007

This post is in response to a really cool contest by Robert Hruzek over at Middle Zone Musings which I learnt about from Phil Gerbyshak at 100 Bloggers.

This afternoon I had the chance to watch the Deutsche Bank Championship as I caught up on my reading and hanged out with my son. It was a very hot day outside and my wife had an engagement that meant she had to be away. Our 18-month old son was right in the mix as he ran around the room with his little Tykes golf kit. It was an afternoon of multi-tasking since I was blogging, teaching/entertaining my son, flipping channels between Phil/Tiger and James Blake playing in the US Open, among many other things. This was Phil Mickelson’s day and he would not be denied. How did Phil win, with Tiger breathing down his neck and what lessons can we learn from him?

Lessons from Phil Mickelson at the Deutsche Bank Championship

1. Inch by Inch it’s a Cinch

Phil would not have won this tournament had he not played consistently right from the beginning. Every hole he played counted as he advanced towards the last hole of the championship. The only problem he had was on hole 12 which he double-bogeyed. Here’s our first lesson from Phil: In order to win in life you must realize that there are no short-cuts to winning. Every little effort you put into the quest for success counts. Keep plugging away.

2. Play your own game

I was astounded on hole 12 when Tiger began an amazing run. He had been 5 shots behind Phil for most of the afternoon and cut it down to 2 shots behind within no time. Phil seemed shaky for a while as he drove his ball right into the rocks and had to take a drop. This was a scare but Phil stuck to his game. Here’s our second lesson from Phil: You’ve got to play your own game. Don’t adjust your game just because your oppopnent is playing good. The key to winning is to develop your own goals and timelines. This is your game, not someone else’s.

3. Don’t be intimidated

There was a huge roar on the 14th hole when Tiger spectacularly birdied a 40-foot putt. The crowd roared believing that he would make a run against Phil. In past tournaments, many players have been intimidated by Tiger’s attacks and ended up blowing up their game. Phil did not. He stayed focused. Here’s our third lesson from Phil: If you are going to win, you must choose to stay focused on your personal path and realize that you have every chance at winning as the other players. Winning is not a birth-right for a select few. You have to continously believe in yourself, which leads me to:

4. Believe in your dreams

Phil admitted that he has struggled against Tiger. In an interview after the game, he said, “For 10 years I’ve struggled against Tiger. This sure feels great to go head-to-head … and over the last five or six holes when he’s making a run, it was fun to match him with birdies.” (Source: AP through pga.com). Here’s our fourth lesson from Phil: You must believe in yourself and your abilities. It doesn’t matter what may have happened to you in the past. What matters is what you believe right now. You can do it. As Norman Vincent Peale used to say, “You can if you think you can”.

5. Give yourself the best chance

Mickelson has had a rough summer. He had a wrist injury that cost him lots of games, putting him out of contention for any of the tournaments and only recently has he been able to swing without flinching. But when he came to Boston this week, Phil was ready to go. He played three good rounds of golf to put himself in contention for the fourth round. Phil started the day in 3rd position but he shot a 5 under 66 to win the tournament. Here’s our fifth lesson from Phil: You have to up your game in the crucial moments of life. That’s how you give yourself the best chance to win.

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7 Responses to “What I Learned from Phil Mickelson at the Deutsche Bank Championship”

  1. Those are some great lessons Herman. I’m always amazed at how, when we’re open to learning a lesson (or 5) one is presented to us. Well done!

  2. Herman, great analysis and applications for life! Hey, thanks for joining the What I Learned From… writing project this month. I truly appreciate your taking the time to participate!

    I’m impressed with your story! So, before I “flee in seven directions”, here’s a further challenge for you: How would you relate the above lessons to this month’s topic of CHANGE? 🙂

  3. What an amazing post. I have not been much into golf in the past, but am learning there are some great lessons to be learned from watching champions in many arenas. Thank you for pointing out some wonderful ones. I am enriched having found your site.

  4. […] by Herman Najoli on September 7th, 2007 Thanks for your challenge Robert. I’d hate to see you flee in seven directions because my thinking was that we’ve […]

  5. […] Phil Mickelson at the Deutsche Bank Championship, by Herman Najoli at Epic […]

  6. […] Phil Mickelson at the Deutsche Bank Championship, by Herman Najoli at Epic […]

  7. eddie3002 said

    Go Phil your the greatest
    http://www.golfwarriorszone.com

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