The career of Tony Jacklin has been compared to that of a streaking comet; brief, yet brilliant. Jacklin was born into a working class family in England and at one time was an apprentice steelworker. His father introduced him to golf at an early age and by the time he was in his early teens he was winning tournaments. At 17 he turned professional. Scratching and clawing his way through the ranks, in 1969 he won the Open Championship, the first Englishman to win since 1951, and in 1970 he posted a seven-shot victory at the U.S. Open, the first Brit to win the event since 1920.
Jacklins triumphs revitalized the game in his native land. Jacklin was a seven-time team member of the Ryder Cup (his was the putt famously conceded by Jack Nicklaus in 1969 to end the matches in a halve) and he is unquestionably one of the cornerstones of the success of the European Ryder Cup team, having captained the team in 1983, 1985 (the Brit/Euros first victory since 1957), 1987 (first Euro win on American soil) and in 1989.
His distinctive career earned him the honors of the Order of the British Empire and the Commander of the British Empire.
Recently, Jacklin recounted to me a source of inspiration that he carried throughout his career (Tony is my guest this week on my show on the PGA TOUR Network/XM 146). It was a simple poem, given to him by a friend who used to caddy for him. Jacklins friend has long since passed, but his words, and inspiration, live on. Here is the text of that poem:
'If you think you are beaten, you are.
If you think you dare not, you don't.
If you would like to win but think you can't, it's almost certain you won't.
If you think you'll lose, you've lost.
For out in the world, you'll find, success begins in the fellow's will. It's all in a state of mind.
Think big and your deeds will grow.
Think small and you'll fall behind.
Think that you can and you will.
It's all in a state of mind.
Life's battles won't always go to the strong or fast at hand, but sooner or later, the man who wins is the man who thinks he can.'
Copyright 2008 Matthew E. Adams Fairways of Life
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Editor's Note: Matt Adams is a golf journalist, best-selling author (Chicken Soup for the Soul, Fairways of Life), golf course general manager and the host of the Fairways of Life Show on the PGA TOUR Network and does on course play by play for their live coverage of the PGA TOUR. To view Matt's books or sign up for his 'Golf Wisdom Newsletter,'go to www.FairwaysofLife.com.