They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and this one says it all. Although Jordan led for most of the tournament, he ultimately wasn’t able to pull it out and Danny Willett claimed victory at the 2016 Masters Tournament. Danny, a 28-year-old golfer from Sheffield, England, was on the fence about even playing this year. His wife Nicole was pregnant with their first child, and he was not going to miss the birth. Baby Zach arrived a week ago, allowing Danny to come to Augusta and win this year’s tournament.
Oh Jordan, I can hardly stand this for you. I wrote you a letter last year with some advice about how to handle your newfound fame and wealth. In case you missed it, you can read it here: https://melodyreid.com/2015/04/13/dear-jordan-spieth/ The look in your mom’s eyes when you won last year slayed me. I haven’t seen any pictures of her this year, but as a momma myself, I can imagine how she felt and maybe how her eyes looked as things played out yesterday. Losing is tough. Especially when everyone is expecting you to win. It’s a lot of pressure for a 22-year-old. My 22-year-old feels a lot of pressure and she’s not a professional golfer. It’s a stage of life where most kids are graduating and figuring out what they want to do, looking for jobs and starting their professional life. For you, though, it’s the pressure of just trying to stay on top.
I looked at the list of prize money from this year’s tournament, and it looks like as the runner up you earned $880,000. I know it’s a million dollars less than you made last year, but it’s still a bunch of money. You should be able to live comfortably on that. I wanted to share some thoughts with you about what you can learn from losing. It happens to all of us, though on a much smaller scale. Still, there are some life lessons that are good to know.
- Losing really hurts. Whether it’s an elementary basketball game, the state championship, or a job you apply for and don’t get, everybody feels sad when they don’t get something they really want. Really sad.
- It’s important to learn how to lose graciously. From everything I watched yesterday, you have this one down. I never saw you lose your temper or wack your club on the ground like some of the other players. You put the green jacket on Danny with a grace and dignity that is unusual for someone your age. Way to go on that!
- If you never lose, you can’t have any empathy or compassion for other people. You never know what it feels like to not get the prize. Losing well is in many ways more important than losing graciously.
- The fact that you didn’t win this year will probably give you a motivation to win next year that will be unparalleled in the golf community. You will want it so badly and will practice so hard for the next 365 days that you will be hard to beat in 2017. Take that drive to win again and do what you know how to do best. Play golf. A lot. Play with people who are better than you. Play with people who can teach you something.
C.S. Lewis once said this: “Hardships often prepare ordinary people for extraordinary destinies.”
Jordan, I hope your golf destiny is extraordinary. And I hope yesterday’s loss prepares you in an extraordinary way for what is to come. You’re a remarkable young man with a bright future. You’ve got this.