delanceyplace.com 07/19/05 - jack nicklaus

In today's excerpt - William James' principle that 'you become what you think you are' is illustrated. In it, Jack Nicklaus, arguably the best golfer in history, is speaking about facing a crucial putt on the last hole of a tournament:

" 'I have never three-putted the last hole of a tournament or missed from inside five feet on the last hole of a tournament,' [Jack said]

"That was more than one member of the audience a man in his sixties ws able to bear. When question time came, he stood up.

" 'Uh, Mr. Nicklaus,' he said, 'I really enjoyed your talk. But the statement you made about never three-putting the last green of a tournament or never missing from inside five feet on the last hole of a tournament—well, I was watching you in the Senior PGA just last month and I distinctly remember you missed a three-footer on the last hole.'

" 'Sir, you're wrong,' Jack said firmly. 'I have never three-putted the last hole of a tournament or missed inside five feet on the last hole of a tournament.'

" 'But Mr. Nicklaus,' the man objected. 'I have it on tape. I could send it to you.' ...

"The point of the story, of course, is not whether Jack Nicklaus has ever missed a short putt on the last hole of a tournament. Of course he has. The point is, Jack's memory works differently from the memories of a lot of golfers. ...

"Because he thought that way, he was able to be a great putter. As William James, the pioneering American psychologist shrewdly stated in the nineteenth century, people tend to become what they think about themselves."


author:

Dr. Bob Rotella with Bob Cullen

title:

Putting Out of Your Mind

publisher:

Simon & Schuster

date:

Copyright 2001 by Robert J. Rotell

pages:

16-19
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