An Important Message for the Junior Athlete

By David BreslowOctober 24, 2007, 4:00 pm
A Wie Bit of a Problem: An Important Message for the Junior Athlete
 
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And now todays article
 
The Michelle Wie situation is a great opportunity for junior athletes and parents to stand up and take notice. It is well chronicled by the television, newspaper and radio media but underneath the headlines are some important messages for all junior parents and players.
 
For every Michelle Wie there are many more junior athletes we might never hear of, because they have succumbed to the mountain of external and internal pressures heaped on them. In addition, they may be the recipient of ineffective advice from those close to them.
 
The pressure to win is rampant in junior competition in many different sports. Unfortunately, some parents, coaches and mentors can make this pressure more difficult; not less. As a former Director of Mental Toughness at the National Tennis Center in New York, Ive witnessed this pressure put upon junior tennis players trying to live the dream and make the pro tour. The pressure can reveal itself in many different ways from parents; a comment, a look, anger, frustration and so on. I would never ask someone to dismiss their dream, of course, but its not the dream that causes the problems; its WHO THEY ARE and HOW they go after the dream that matters most.
 
Do we have to go far to see the proof of the dangers in this? Hollywood provides us ample situations to choose from in this regard. Whether its Brittany, Paris or Lindsay we see the negative effects of a lack of balance, poor decision making and ineffective mentoring that occurs around these people. Michelle Wie happens to be splashed all over the media because of her status in the golf world but there are many who never get to that point because the flame burns out long beforehand. Unfortunately, Michelles status is dipping rapidly but a diminishing status is one thing; demeaning a person is quite another.
 
The Michelle Wie story, once again, highlights a very important story lurking underneath. Behind the razzle-dazzle of big contracts, media exposure, selling tickets and making money is Michelle Wie; the person. We know that the number of people who make it in professional sports is such a small percentage of those who try. If someone has the dream then following that dream is important. However, the choices made while pursuing the dream have everything to do with how one gets there; or doesnt get there. How many phenoms have we seen flare on to the scene only to burn out in a short period of time? The media attention will reflect this as well. It begins with a build up and then a tear down and once the star burns out; forgets about them altogether.
 
Tiger Woods, often referred to as the standard is the exception and not the rule, in my opinion. From all indications, Mr. Woods had the benefit of a strong, tough and loving father as well as a mother who exposed him to key insights about the realities of his internal powers by putting him in position to learn those insights. Obviously, Mr. Woods is blessed with a great reservoir of natural talent as well and when you put this entire package together, you have someone like Tiger Woods.
 
Michelle Wie is also talented and at an early age became a media darling. Now, her star is falling. I hope we can keep in mind the important underlying message in the Michelle Wie saga; too much too soon doesnt work for most people. There is no shortage of opinions as to what happened but for sure, the handling of this situation is in question. Reach for the dream but reach for it by learning how to maintain a proper balance between who you are internally and the external challenges you face. This will impact the choices you make and help in choosing what mentors, advisors and people you surround yourself with; which means someone who is willing to say no when necessary. The Michelle Wie story is not over unless she wants it to be. Great choices can still be made and a more effective plan can still be put into effect.
 
It is my hope that all those in position to help direct a junior athlete will take heed of the important message we can learn from in this situation.
 
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    Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 2:06 pm

    New year, same results for Tommy Fleetwood.

    The reigning Race to Dubai champ picked up where he left off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, carding a bogey-free 66 during which the Englishman found all 18 greens in regulation. At 6 under, he shares the lead with Japan's Hideto Tanihara and sits one shot clear of five other players.

    "Very stress-free. Played really well from start to finish," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I did what you need to do around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons solid. You can't really be too greedy a lot of the time, and then sort of my pace putting was really good. So basically just did what you need to do to get a good score around this golf course, and I got one."


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    Fleetwood shined in a marquee grouping that included world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, as he birdied three holes on each nine. This is his first worldwide start since a T-3 finish at the Hero World Challenge.

    It was at this event a year ago that Fleetwood sparked a career campaign, edging Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal for the win. He added another win at the French Open in the summer to go along with a pair of runner-up results and a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open, all of which helped him capture the European Tour's season-long title.

    Fleetwood's sudden success in Abu Dhabi serves as a microcosm for his career resurgence. Prior to last year's victory, he had missed the cut in four of his five other trips to this event.

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    Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore

    By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2018, 12:56 pm

    SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.

    Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.

    He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.

    Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.

    Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.



    The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.

    ''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''

    Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.

    He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.

    Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

    Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.

    ''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''

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    13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:26 pm

    Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.

    Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.

    “An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”



    Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara after the opening round.

    Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings. 

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    McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 18, 2018, 12:10 pm

    It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.

    Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson, and Hideto Tanihara.

    Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    “I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”

    Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.

    “Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.

    This was his first competitive round in more than three months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014.