Last week, even as I published, I felt some discomfort that my conclusions in my piece seemed to lack a certain solidity, but I couldn't figure out why. Late that night, I saw what the problem was. It stemmed from my initial conception of the piece. The right initial approach isn't a statement: "This is how we'd help Jordan Spieth." Instead, we'd start with a question: "Jordan, how did you help yourself?" Regarding ten, eleven, and twelve on Masters Sunday, I trust my assessment of what I saw--after all, over the course of those three holes, I correctly predicted where Spieth's shots were going to end up, just based on the energetic signatures of his body--but I have no access to what Jordan Spieth did to re-center himself after the disaster of two balls in the water on twelve.
But without a doubt Jordan Spieth did something with that fifth shot on twelve. Were we in a position to help him, the right jumping off point would be to find out how much he could say about what he did differently on that fifth shot. Whatever he did to re-center right then would be the foundation on which we'd help him build the structure for containing his energy and allowing it to flow in the face of the kind of pressure and stress that cost him the win that day, pressure and stress that he will surely face again and again in his quest to become a truly great golfer.
Now, it's completely possible that he doesn't really know. He surely recognized that something had changed--it was a radically different outcome, after all--and I'm sure it felt different, but it may be that he can't fully describe how it was different. Here I draw on an experience I had during ski season. I was working with a skilled teacher, and I was struggling to bring what he was teaching me into my skiing. I thought I was following his instructions, but I was also kind of confused and frustrated. Then on one run during the latter part of the day, for a few short moments, maybe eight to ten turns total, it was suddenly like my feet had become weightless. It was wonderful. It didn't last long, and it hasn't happened again. But it happened once, and I know, now, the feeling I'm seeking. With good instruction and a lot of practice, I believe I will find it. So Spieth may be in a similar situation. He doesn't quite know what he changed with that shot, but he surely felt something change. That's what we'd be looking for. "Remember that feeling? We're seeking that feeling."
Here's why all this matters: The major puzzle Jerry and I are trying to work out in our training together right now is how to unlock my golf swing. I am tall and long, and the simple physics of the golf swing would seem to dictate that I should be able to hit the ball a pretty long way. That I am not so able indicates a substantial energy block. We've been experimenting but haven't been able to figure it out yet. Right now it's getting worse instead of better, and honestly I'm getting frustrated to the point that I'm starting to imagine finding a high bridge or cliff to throw my stupid clubs off of. But I think back to two shots this year that flew high and true after swings that felt pretty much effortless. That's the feeling that's keeping me going. That's the feeling I'm looking for. I don't know what I did differently. The answer is in my body somewhere. Our task now is to find it.