Tag Archives: masters

Golf has a lot of parallels with Life

jordan spiethWe love sports analogies, but many of those analogies really don’t work. In life we really do not have five power lifters to protect us from evil. In golf, as in life, you can get advice from other people but it is mostly up to you to perform. On Sunday we saw one of the best in the world in golf’s biggest tournament under perform when the pressure was the highest. Jordan Spieth fumbled the ball at the goal line.

Now, before anyone jumps on me for talking about Jordan, I really like Jordan for a number of reasons. I love the fact that he really never gives up. He is always out there trying to do better. His game is about precision and not power. For years commentators have marveled at the drives of Dustin Johnson and Bubba Watson. We have been told that they are the wave of the future. Power. Jordan made all of these guys look foolish as he won the Masters and US Open last year.

In life we have those pressure moments. Sure, we don’t have millions of people watching our every move, but the pressure is on, nonetheless. Whether it is an important test that allows us to be certified as a lawyer, a doctor, a contractor or something else, it is pressure. Pressure can make us do stupid things.

On Sunday, Jordan Spieth was leading the Masters. He was struggling. He didn’t have his A game. He wasn’t hitting his targets. His driver was flaring to the right. Every now and then, his irons were also flaring. His scrambling was solid, but his putter was good. It was not red hot. He was leading by 5 strokes with 9 holes to play. Sounds easy. He bogeys 10. He bogeys 11. Now, he comes to short par 3. 150 yards. This hole is known for swirling winds, which make it hard to pick a club. The target area is small. Hit the ball short and you are in the water. Hit the ball long and you are in the bunker, which will make it very difficult to get a par from there. Seven strokes later he was staring at a quadruple bogey.

jordan masters

I have seen several folks who are very smart, but for some reason, they can’t pass the big test. They have taken the big test several times and they fall short. The track star who hits the last hurdle and loses the big race is kind of the same thing. I’m not sure why some people perform well under pressure and others simply don’t.

Here’s what I find interesting. Tiger Woods. There, I have said it. Almost no one mentioned Tiger Woods on Masters Sunday. Tiger Woods would not have lost on Sunday if he had a 5-stroke lead heading into the back 9. Somehow, he would have figured out a way to win. Once he had the lead on Sunday, it was a lock. So, how was Tiger able to handle the pressure and perform?

I think that Jordan Spieth will be fine. Rory Mcilroy, Jason Day and Rickie Fowler have shown that they can win on the big stage, but they have also faltered on that same big stage.

Congratulations to Danny Willett for winning the Masters. He played Jordan’s mistake-free game. He hit his targets. He played steady throughout the tournament.

I guess the take-home lesson is to take a deep breath. Slow down and don’t let the pressure get to you…if you can.

Master’s Day 1

Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to see today’s coverage. Here are the highlights.

From ESPN:

The flair of Rory McIlroy. The sheer power of Alvaro Quiros. These are but two of the fresh faces in golf who offered more evidence Thursday at the Masters that a new generation is on the way.

And that’s only going to make it tougher on Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods.

The 21-year-old McIlroy, who opened with a 63 at St. Andrews last summer in the British Open, again delivered exquisite shots on one of golf’s biggest stages for a 7-under 65. It was such a clean round that he didn’t make a bogey and was left wondering how much lower he could have gone if not for missing five birdie chances inside 10 feet.

“It wasn’t maybe as exclusive or spectacular as the 63 at St. Andrews,” he said. “But it was very solid from start to finish.”

Then came Quiros, a 28-year-old Spaniard whom many consider the longest hitter in the game. Blasting away on a course where he had never shot better than 75, he spun an approach back to 3 feet on the 18th hole to catch McIlroy atop the leaderboard. (more…)

Education pays

I have been one to caution students on education. Education is great, but you have to focus more than ever. If you would like to teach 8th graders but you want to get your PhD in education from Harvard, you might want to re-think your plan. Four years of college followed by a Masters and then a PhD at Harvard will cost well over 200,000.  The average teacher salary is about $42,000. It will take forever to pay that off. On the other hand, majoring in education at a good in-state school should cost less than $25,000. Now that can be paid off in a reasonable amount of time. My point is to carefully think through your opinions.

Recent unemployment numbers clearly show that education pays.

From Calculated Risk:

Click on graph for larger image

This graph shows the unemployment rate by four levels of education (all groups are 25 years and older).

Note that the unemployment rate increased sharply for all four categories in 2008 and into 2009.

Unfortunately this data only goes back to 1992 and only includes one previous recession (the stock / tech bust in 2001). Clearly education matters with regards to the unemployment rate – but education didn’t seem to matter as far as the recovery rate in unemployment following the 2001 recession. All four groups recovered slowly.

So far this year, the group with “less than a high school diploma” has recovered a little better than the more educated groups – although the unemployment rate increased for all four groups in August.

Click on Graph for larger image

And here is a graphic from the BLS based on 2009 data: Education pays …

This shows the unemployment rate and the the median weekly earnings by eight levels level of education.

The higher the education, the lower the unemployment rate – and the higher that median weekly earnings. Of course that doesn’t necessarily mean that “education pays”, because there is also a cost (both the actual cost and the opportunity cost), but in general education probably does pay (besides it is fun to learn).