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Garcia and Rose: The Spirit of Golf

Foundation CEO Brendon Pyle on inspirational players who can help shape the next generation.

(Picture: Getty Images)

I finally managed to watch the highlights of the final round at The Masters over the Easter weekend as an early flight from Edinburgh on Monday morning prevented me from watching the last 6 holes on the Sunday night. In watching the highlights, I was so enthralled by Sergio’s success and the manner of his battle with Justin Rose that it has inspired me to write my first blog for the Golf Foundation.

As our charitable organisation looks to expand its emphasis on both the playing and personal skills taught through golf, a principle we call ‘Skills for Life’, I was struck by the perfect illustration of these skills through the conduct of Sergio and Justin in going head-to-head in a magnificent final pairing at The Masters.

RESILIENCE is a word often bandied around in sport these days but after 18 years of trying, surely Sergio demonstrated the ultimate perseverance. This was his 74th attempt at winning a major, the highest number of attempts by any previous major winner. Listening to Sergio’s interview in the Butler Cabin at Augusta afterwards, and the insights from the commentators, we learned that Sergio had “fallen out of love with Augusta and even the sport”, an experience we can all relate to in different contexts in our work and play. However, Sergio stuck with Augusta, learning to accept what the famous course gives and takes.

Justin Rose said something similar about accepting the fates of the golfing gods in believing that there would be more majors for him to win and that “it’s hard not to feel good for Sergio”.

The CAMARADERIE and SPORTSMANSHIP between the two men was a joy to watch: congratulations from Rose to Garcia after his incredible eagle on the 15th green, high-fives after 2 great tee shots on the 16th. In his post-tournament interview, Sergio talked about being “respectful of one another” and “cheering each other”.

Aren’t these values and behaviours that we want our children to aspire to? Again, in Sergio’s words, “We both wanted to beat the other guy, not for them to lose.” Wonderful sentiments from fabulous role models. Young people are naturally competitive; we need to encourage them to win with modesty and to lose graciously.

As for Justin Rose, the Golf Foundation’s ‘Spirit of Golf Award’ winner in 2015, he competed brilliantly and handled himself so well in defeat, talking about the fun of playing in such a match and his pleasure in seeing Sergio win. Commentator and former playing colleague Nick Dougherty described Rose as a “world class man on and off the golf course”. Who wouldn’t want to receive such an accolade?

From a Golf Foundation perspective, we want to help golf clubs across the country celebrate and reward the qualities that we witnessed from these champions of Augusta. That’s why we are providing 600 Skills for Life trophies to clubs to present to their young players and we are also testing an enhanced way of coaching young people that emphasises how to deal with pressure in golf and how to relate these skills to challenges in everyday life.

The example set by Sergio and Justin at The Masters in 2017 makes the Golf Foundation proud to promote the values of golf to young people.

Brendon Pyle


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