June 18, 2008

IF YOU TOOK TIGER IN THE CONTEST...:

Mental toughness: In the eyes of Tiger (David Brooks, June 18, 2008, NY Times)

Rocco Mediate's head swiveled about as he walked up the fairway of the sudden-death hole of the U.S. Open on Monday. Somebody would catch his attention, and his eyes would dart over and he'd wave or make a crack. Tiger Woods' gaze, on the other hand, remained fixed on the ground, a few feet ahead of his steps. He was, as always, locked in, focused and self-contained.

The fans greeted Mediate with fraternal affection and Woods with reverence. Most were probably rooting for Rocco, but only because Woods, the inevitable victor, has risen above mere human status and become an embodiment of immortal excellence. That frozen gaze of his looks out from airport billboards, TV commercials and the ad pages. And its ubiquity is proof that every age finds the heroes it needs.

In a period that has brought us instant messaging, multitasking, wireless distractions and attention-deficit disorder, Woods has become the exemplar of mental discipline. After watching Woods walk stone-faced through a roaring crowd, the science writer Steven Johnson, in a typical comment, wrote: “I have never in my life seen a wider chasm between the look in someone's eye and the surrounding environment.”


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Posted by Orrin Judd at June 18, 2008 7:45 AM
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