Mike Weir leads Mercedes-Benz Championship and teaches us a lesson in managing expectations

I was just browsing the news to see what was being said about the Mercedes-Benz Championship and Mike Weir’s 1 shot lead after the 3rd round and I read this quote from Mike: “I came in here with not too high expectations”. He didn’t say “low expectations” – he said “not too high expectations”.

Interesting…and look how well he is playing. I wonder if his expecations were that well managed at the President’s Cup – I would suggest, yes, and look what happened. I wonder if he managed expectations well after he won the Masters in 2003 – I would suggest, no, and look what happened? He really struggled after that win.

I realize he made some swing changes and suffered some injuries and illness, but I think that he needed to fix this mental part of his game and I believe he has. He was always confident, but I would suggest that he just wasn’t good at managing expectations. And of course, his fans and the media probably didn’t help either.

So….I have been thinking about the mental game of golf and how important managing expectations are. Given how critical the mental game is, it surprises me there aren’t more “tips” and self help products available to golfers to help them improve their mental strength.

How many times have you played a great game, only to follow it the next day by the worst game in your life. It’s like it is a different person playing. I believe it comes down to us not managing expectations.

Expectation and confidence are NOT synonyms, and confusing the two can lead to disaster, IMHO.

Having high expectations leads to sloppy (over confident) play and then trying too hard. The results are inevitably a disappointing shot, hole and eventually game, because amateurs (like me) don’t manage our expectations well enough. We get so frusrated and we keep asking ourselves, “How come I’m not playing like I did yesterday?” The answer is easy – you expect too much.

Confidence is about trust – it’s about commitment. It’s not about the past and what you did yesterday or even on the last hole – it’s about your mental attitude towards your future. Stop thinking about what you did on the last shot, or last hole, or last game you played. Think forward while you trust your preshot routine and repeat what you’ve practiced over and over. Learn – practice – trust – repeat…that builds confidence.

Expectations inflict pressure – confidence eases pressure. Expectations distract you from being able to focus – confidence builds focus. Expectations frustrate you – confidence calms you. Sounds so simple….HA! NOT!

Anyway…these are just some of my Sunday morning musings. I hadn’t made a New Year’s resolution until today because my annual “I’m going to lose weight” is just too old (like me :)).

No, this year, my resolution is to “manage expectations” on and off the course. My new mantra is, “The past does not predict the future.” If any of you have good tips on this topic, I’d love to hear from you.

Now…let’s see if Mike can continue to manage his expectations and win this first tournament of the year. I predict he will.

BTW…did you know the first birdie of the year came from Canadian Stephen Ames and the first eagle from Canadian Mike Weir? Cool…


Weir takes lead into final round

Times Colonist
06 Jan 2008

KAPALUA, Hawaii — Canadian Mike Weir, bidding for his ninth PGA Tour title, retained his one-shot lead in yesterday’s third round at the season-opening Mercedes-Benz Championship. A stroke ahead of the pack overnight, Weir held off strong challenges… read more…

Tech Tags: Times Colonist newspaper Sports

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