Tiger Woods accomplished something on Sunday that many people — including Woods himself — didn’t think would ever happen again. Woods won the Masters, which was his first major title since the 2008 U.S. Open. It was 14 long years since he last won a green jacket at Augusta. Woods overcame four back surgeries, some widely publicized missteps, and a world ranking of 1,199 to do the unthinkable — not just win a major, but win the major.
There are times we overlook lessons that are staring us right in the face. You’re missing the big picture if you look at Woods and say, “That dude possesses talent that I don’t have. Nothing to learn here.”
Sure, he has some amazing gifts that many others aren’t blessed with. That isn’t where the story ends though. You don’t need skills that are equal to Woods to stand out. It’s more about what’s behind his talent than the talent itself.
Woods didn’t win the 15th major of his career based on ability alone. He didn’t overcome a deficit heading into the final round, something he had never done before, based solely on skills. It took qualities that most of us are capable of replicating.
Make no mistake — there is no shame in copying a formula that works. The NFL is known as a copycat league. Whether it’s philosophies, play-calling, or coaching styles that work, NFL franchises are constantly mimicking successful blueprints. We can do the same.
Ability stands out the most, but the qualities that cause ability to shine are often hidden. It’s similar to a great sports radio host; you can hear the talent of a host who wins your attention. Talent alone doesn’t produce greatness though. A gifted host doesn’t roll out of bed, plop down in front of a mic, and produce consistent greatness without working for it. Some of the most important traits of a great radio host were actually displayed by Woods on Sunday.
There was a scary moment during Friday’s second round. A security guard slipped and accidentally tripped Woods after making contact with his right foot. Woods brushed off the mishap with ease.
Mind you, Woods is the same guy that has routinely barked at patrons who took pictures during his shots. He has angrily growled, “Not in my swing,” on many occasions. Woods was so locked in at the Masters that being tripped and the threat of serious injury didn’t even faze him.
Sports radio is a never-ending decision. It’s essential to remain focused throughout every random scenario that’s thrown your way. What topic should I introduce here? What’s my angle on it? How long should I talk about it? Should I take this call before the break? Someone just called me a blabbering idiot on Twitter. How should I react? On and on and on. It takes great focus to make the right decisions.
There were many people that said Woods would never win another major again. How did he react? He didn’t listen.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver recently discussed a theory of his that many NBA players are unhappy partially because of all the negativity they face on social media. It’s believable, but just like Woods did, it’s important to rise above the nonsense. Woods could’ve crawled into the fetal position due to the negativity regarding his poor personal choices and golf game. He didn’t allow himself to be consumed by the noise.
Sports radio hosts are no stranger to being mocked on social media either. It’s best to respond the way Woods did; don’t let it throw you off.
We often view confidence as if it’s a constant attribute; you either have it or you don’t. The truth is that we typically go through peaks and valleys, especially in sports — a hitter strikes out, a quarterback throws an interception, a basketball player gets dunked on. There are numerous experiences that can cause confidence to waver.
In December 2017, Woods was ranked 1,199th in the world. Trevor Immelman, the 2008 Masters winner, said that it was the first time he had ever seen Woods become uncertain. Woods himself even said that his career was over, but he kept grinding and proved that confidence can be regained in a big way.
Sports radio hosts aren’t constantly confident. They can have bad shows, bad weeks, and bad ratings books. They sometimes get fired. It’s far-fetched to remain fully confident no matter how many times you fail. However, Woods proved that you can regain lost confidence if you keep working at it.
Woods was able outdrive his opponents when he was younger. That isn’t the case anymore. He wasn’t among the top 40 players in driving distance last week at Augusta. Instead, Woods relied on his experience and short game to outfox the field.
It was similar to Michael Jordan. In his early NBA years, Jordan used his great athletic ability to dust his opponents. When he didn’t possess the same explosion later in his career, he refined his jump shot and fadeaway to remain on top.
Sports radio is all about evolving too. Hosts constantly have to be able to read the room. They need to have a feel for what appeals to the audience. These interests often shift and change as well. Disco music isn’t popular anymore.
“La Macarena” isn’t the current dance craze and the butterfly collar is no longer in fashion. It works the same way in sports radio; interests evolve. The topics that appeal to listeners can change significantly. Adapting is essential. Just like Woods and MJ evolved, hosts need to do the same.
There are so many other qualities that Woods utilized to fuel his latest Masters triumph; preparation, commitment, work ethic, perseverance, and determination. These qualities can be imitated by pretty much everybody and will lead to greater success. It just takes the right mindset and discipline.
Winning a fifth green jacket at the age of 43 didn’t happen because of ability alone. It took far more than that. Don’t just marvel at the great talent that Woods possesses. Look at the qualities that cause that talent to shine and apply the same formula to your own life.