VIJAY: JUST WORKING
HARD AND HOPING IT PAYS OFF!
As a youngster I remember my father teaching me little lessons about
work and work ethic. “Put in a full day’s work for a
full day’s pay”, he would exclaim. Another of his sayings
was, “if you’re going to do a job, then do it right”
My father was a really hard working man or at least he put in many
hours as he would leave early in the morning and usually be late
for dinner in the evening. He had been raised in the rural south
and knew about work on the farm. As a young man of 11 or 12 he learned
to hitch a mule to a plow and till several acres of farmland.
His Ma would send him out into the woods to find hen eggs
before breakfast. He believed firmly that success in life
was tied to one’s work ethic and effort. He was a stickler
for doing a full day of work and doing it right and so,
then, did I.
Well, what does this have to do with golf, you might ask. Let me
simply respond by saying, look who is the number one golfer in the
world and how he got there. Vijay Singh a 41 year old from Fiji
has always been known as the hardest working golfer on the PGA Tour
or perhaps it would be more correct to say the hardest working golfer
anywhere in the world. He has had that reputation for a number of
includes a full and demanding workout most days in the player’s
workout facility, a full warm up on the practice tee before going
to the course, a round of golf followed by many more hours of practice.
He is usually the last person to leave the practice putting green
in the late evening hours. He does this day in and day out, weekly,
monthly, yearly. His practice includes all parts of his game. He
takes nothing for granted. His goal obviously is to know what to
do and how to do it in any situation in which he finds himself out
on the course.
Have you ever watched a really good juggler put on a show. It might
be the ultimate hand-to-eye coordination exercise and skill and
it must include a bit of mind over matter as the juggler keeps numerous
balls or plates in the air simultaneously. That juggler practices
his art so often that muscle memory begins to take charge so, in
time, he could keep the balls in the air even when distracted. If
you practice something often enough and have that work ethic you
too could become extremely good at any physical exercise as well
as long as you are in good physical condition, have some hand to
eye coordination and have the determination to work at it. With
intense practice, eventually, over time, a confidence level will
develop, a self assurance which leads to a more tranquil demeanor
when the curtain goes up. In time you become unflappable.
This describes what must have happened with Vijay Singh. He has
just outworked most other golfers in the world, if not all. This
is not to take anything away from the work ethics of other golfing
greats such as Tiger, Phil or Ernie Els but it seems that Vijay
tops them all. He never seems perplexed on the course. He strolls
down the fairway with that casual, easy going gait, finds his ball,
sets up and hits it and then goes to find it again. Seemingly it
is always in the middle of the fairway or on the green near the
flag. The juggler comes to mind. It is like clockwork, machine like
from shot to shot, hole after hole, round after round, week after
week. This season he has moved into the number one spot as the highest
ranked golfer in the world. In route to winning nine tour events
and over $10.7 million in 2004 he leads all golfers in scoring average,
earnings, total eagles, total birdies, greens in regulation, top
ten finishes and wins. There doesn’t appear to be an end in
sight to this man’s ability to win. If he continues to work
hard, take good care of himself, find comfort in his family he could
be number one for many months ahead.
Isn’t it a pleasure to watch him play the game? He makes it
look so easy, so effortless. But we know what goes on behind the
scenes for it to seem that way. I would guess that all the other
touring professionals in the world had better get up a little bit
earlier each morning and stay up a little bit later if they plan
on competing with Vijay. We certainly know what Vijay will be doing,
don’t we. Remember what Thomas Jefferson once said about work?
He was quoted as saying, “it seems that the harder I work,
the luckier I get.”
So if we ever hear anyone say that Vijay Singh is just a lucky golfer,
we’ll know what that really means, want we.
SEPTEMBER 23, 2004 (Updated
November 1, 2004)
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