How many layers are there to the truth? In a world where opinion is constantly presented as fact, and consequently fact argued into opinion, even validating your own truths can become difficult. In golf, it’s a big reason I’ve kept stats for so long and spend as much time as I do looking into them. It’s harder for me to argue with numbers than the voices in my head. They provide reason and rationale when you don’t know if the narrative you’ve created is internal or external. But stats, like results, aren’t black and white either. (Mine are red and green depending on whether they’re better or worse than my averages)… but the spreadsheets won’t show up the emotion – controlled or otherwise. The spreadsheets, like the results that our livelihoods depend on, won’t show the paralleled waves of adrenaline and calm, of the painstaking recovery in the torrential rain of an opening round or the relentless determination sandwiched outside crushing disappointment under the floodlights of a closing round. The stats don’t show that a 6 on a par 5 contained more character than the three 3s that preceded it, or the double that cost your momentum was an inch away from not happening, or that you felt right where you were meant to be in an environment that would have intimidated you before.
The stats can’t tell you how you feel. But the voices don’t always either. Both can distort reality and create it too.
Here’s a numerical way of explaining the same point:
In the third round in Dubai, when I was well in contention, I missed four putts inside 5ft. And missed a play-off by two shots. And yet, a week later in Spain, I holed every putt I had from 10ft and in for 3 rounds in a row. 46 of them, to be exact.
Take whatever conclusion you want from that. Golf can paint a thousand different pictures with the same brush.
It’s the same principle that can convince me having a caddie in that round in Dubai wouldn’t have made the slightest bit of difference to the outcome. (Read more about that in next month’s Today’s Golfer). Don’t feel sorry for me for being on my own in difficult circumstances; trust the fact that I trusted myself. It’s the same principle that stopped me from playing a tournament last month for money that I could really do with, at the same time as arguing with myself 100 times over for that decision. This world loves an easy story, but every human mind is a complex one. It’s why I can believe in pushing that mind to its limits by forcing it to do nothing at all.
I guess the truth of this blog, if I can allow myself to make one, is that there is always more than meets the eye. Whether that’s in the golf you play, the golf you watch, or the things your twitter feed tells you.