Monday, 9 August 2010

Tiger teaches us that it’s all in the head

Tiger Woods has just completed the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at 18 over par, his worst performance as a professional. I bet he was doing better when only 4 foot high. 1I have very little sympathy for Tiger Woods but I do think his precipitous fall in competitive ability, in less than a year, teaches us something very interesting.

Lots have been written about the PR side of his fall from grace, and a equal amount of lines about how the media and fans have reacted to it. However what I find interesting is that it shows just how much his ability to be an outstanding golfer is all in his head.

He can’t just lose the ability to hit a golf ball into a small hole overnight, can he? Just as you or me don’t just suddenly lose the ability to ride a bike or play a decent game of tennis. Not unless there is some physical reason.

The reason why Tiger played so badly this week was because mentally he is a broken man and this has a direct impact on his ability to hit a ball with a club. Tiger says "I need to hit the ball better, I need to chip better, I need to putt better. It has been a long year."

This is a great illustration of the fact that in sport, as in our everyday lives, we are very much governed by how we feel, what mood we are in, by the interactions we have with other people in our day and how positive we feel about those. We are emotional beings and we may think that if we have learnt it, we can play golf to the same standard every day but this is not true.

When it comes to making decisions about a purchase, it is exactly the same. We are not robots, we don’t make purchases in a logical way (we like to think we do), we EXPERIENCE them.

We make a lot of decisions based on how we feel about the product we are evaluating. We weigh it up on attributes but also on how it is presented, how we are treated when enquiring about it, how much we might value the brand and what it represents.

If the girl at the counter has a miserable face, it matters. If the web site makes buying easy and seems friendly, I might buy something extra. We take it all in and make a judgement. Faced with a very similar product but a better environment or a better member of staff we will go with the one we like.

It’s the heart that rules and not the head. Tiger has lost his heart and that is what is making him only average.

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