Hats off to Bubba Watson, winner of the 2012 Master’s on Sunday. He is also an alumnus of The University of Georgia and was a member of the UGA golf team. Just after he sank the final putt to win, my thoughts went beyond the excitement and pride for the Bulldog nation. Of course I have a bias since I am a fanatic Georgia Bulldog fan. I have been since I attended graduate school there many moons ago. In fact, during my first semester there, I was shocked to learn that Georgia had its own big league18-hole golf course near the campus.
I’m sure that Mr. Watson’s golf game benefitted from his experience on UGA’s outstanding golf team and having a golf course on campus. But on Sunday none of that mattered. It is about having the lowest score on the final day. Ah, objective reality, not politics, not height, not weight, not sponsor logos, not even alumni affinity. Obviously, Mr. Watson has worked very hard in improving his game since he left college. At the age of 23 he turned pro, and it took ten years and much effort before he won his first major golf tournament Sunday.
During the last week of graduate school, I visited with one of my mentors. He was an imminent scholar in his field and a prolific author of several outstanding business textbooks used around the world. I thanked him for his wisdom and help in finding employment. It was not hard to find a job with his recommendations. However, he gave me a piece of advice that was priceless. “Three years from now nobody will care who chaired your dissertation committee or where you went to school. If you don’t publish you won’t go very far in this business.” Fourteen years after that meeting my first book was published.
Success, like life, is a marathon not a sprint. People will always remember Watson’s phenomenal shot out of the rough on the final playoff hole at the 2012 Master’s. But few, if any of them, ever saw the tens of thousands of practice shots he has made while rehearsing for that moment.