Dear Tiger Woods - Vusi Thembekwayo

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Vusi Thembekwayo 03 May 2019

You must be the most loved-and-loathed man in Sports today. You definitely can’t know who your true supporters are from the short-sighted relics that are sports analysts.

You must be the most loved-and-loathed man in Sports today. You definitely can’t know who your true supporters are from the short-sighted relics that are sports analysts.

Those that ridicule you at their local cookouts, braais or barbeques love to claim your success when you rise above the odds.

As a student of great men, here is what I am learning from you:

1. Be still

I can’t recall a tweet, clap-back or retort from you to any of your detractors. Some of your most ardent critics play alongside on the greens yet you are always a still silent force of measure concerned only with the game of golf and not the game of the gallery social media, commentators, analysts, blogs, vlogs and all the neardowells that have opinions but no track-record;

2. Trust the process

You have remained faithful to the process of the game. Through the decline in rankings, your dismissal as a serious athlete and even your many injuries and surgeries, you have consistently trusted your process.

Practice. 
Study the course. 
Show up ready to win. 
… and then let nature take its course (pardon the pun).

For me you epitomize a very powerful principle, most of us want life to faithful to our endeavors whilst we are not faithful to the process of life.

3. There is no comeback

In a world obsessed with rankings, endorsements, title victories, trophies and societies’ affirmations you have wade through their muddy waters of expectation to display something far more powerful, character. Everybody keeps wishing for the “comeback” but they’re missing the moment. This moment, this victory, this putt is all that matters.

Human beings today are so obsessed with the moments we miss the process.

The resilience to stare life in the face whilst in the ridicule of the public, to count yourself in when the pundits have counted you out, to dare to show up when the experts have prophesied your defeat.

One father to another, this for me is the most powerful lesson you will ever teach your children, and more that you do so by living the example: life is not what happens to you but who you choose to be when life happens to you.

I have been a still but steady follower and fan for more than 15years. I had the privilege and displeasure to watch you, live, lose to Phil and McIlroy on separate occasions. As a fan, devastated. But as a professional who thinks of himself as an athlete, awe-inspired. 
I don’t play golf anymore (frankly, I couldn’t understand it as a sport). I am full contact high-impact action sports, MMA kinda guy — but the principle of champions translate no matter the discipline.

It’s not over until you say it is.

Thank you for reminding us to stay true to what feels authentic.