Sometimes I notice that I’m not struck by the desire to write blogs as much as I used to. A player in my group or spectator at a tournament will tell me they like my writing, and I wonder why that desire has faded.
I wonder if it’s because social media is more of a minefield every single day, and every sentence you commit has to be weighted against every possible unintended consequence.
I wonder if it’s because I’m more attuned to the nature of the game, and all its cyclical tendencies. And if I’m more ok with that. Or at least more understanding of it. More driven by it, rather than contemplative of it.
I wonder if it’s a side effect of spending more of my time training my not-particularly-malleable brain to not react to every thought that crosses it.
I wonder if it’s because the golf I consume has stopped inspiring me as much as it used to. If the game I’m so addicted to has lost some of its addiction, as its place in the world becomes more and more reflective of the actual world and all its profit-driven opportunistic flaws.
I wonder if it’s because the older I get, the more I wonder how you can ever draw a line in the sand that you can stand firmly on one side of. How people will tell you throw water over that line and tell you it’s not a line at all.
But then I watch the US Open, or the KPMG, and share that experience alongside gifs on my Twitter feed, or fellow players on a buffering stream on a 4 hour bus journey across two European countries. And I wonder if somehow my 84 day streak of using the Calm app would have helped Lexi Thompson not resemble the furthest thing from the major contender she is on Sunday afternoons. And wonder if I can ask my performance coach if the difference between Fitzpatrick not winning the US PGA and winning the US Open was simply that intangible factor of finding the zone at the right time. And whether finding that zone is something you can find a formula for. Whether I win or nearly win tournaments because I find the zone, or whether I find the zone because I win or nearly win tournaments. Whether the zone is simply trust.
I watch events like those (when supply and demand arguments tell me that I’m ready for the product to be supplied), where In Gee Chun managed to beat the field average by 12 shots in one round and still nearly not win. Where I got a little bit emotional watching Fitzpatrick and Zalatoris down the stretch, for no reason other than I just felt it. Felt that culmination of hard work and talent and sacrifice and vulnerability and pride as it touches the pinnacle of the sport.
I watch events like that and I share something with the guy who misses 13/15 cuts one season and wins in the next one. The girl who wins an order of merit and then loses her card, before becoming a better player than she ever was before. Sitting in own hotel room at 7pm after a 73, wondering if it’s a mental thing I need to work through or a technical thing I need to go back to the putting green and work out before the next round. (I did both, unsurprisingly).
I watch all of that and I’m captivated, because playing pieces and spectator pieces meld together in a way that makes me wonder why none of us have it figured out yet.
Through all of the mess and the noise – whether it’s my own, or the world of golf’s – I keep on breathing it in. Because it’s one and the same. Whatever the world order, golf is still our game. All of ours.