Let’s Stop Apologizing

October 29, 2010 at 8:35 AM | Posted in Golf, Relationships | 3 Comments
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The coveted Cup

At the Ryder Cup at Oak Hill Country Club in 1995, the golfer Jay Haas was having a  terrible time and, in the end, lost every match and if he had just won one,  the US would have won the Cup. In the middle of the event, Curtis Strange, then the number one American, in an interview was asked if Haas had apologized to the team.

Curtis Strange, to his everlasting glory, said “out here we don’t say we’re sorry.”

He wasn’t asked to interpret what he said but I’m pretty sure I know what he meant. First of all, the team knew that Haas was trying his very best and once you do that, you have nothing to apologize for. Secondly, and most importantly, Strange knew that if we lose our confidence and feel the need to apologize, we will likely play worse the next time out. He didn’t want that — the Ryder Cup has enough pressure as it is.

And so it is with our jobs – and lives.

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  1. It seems natural to me to apologise to my team mates if I let them down (which God knows…). I think it right to acknowledge the fact to them and it actually makes me feel that I have done a little to make amends. This is a good story though which says a lot for Curtis Strange, one of a vanishing breed of gentlemen in professional sport.

    I’ve pretty much had it with the Ryder Cup. The crowd behaviour gets worse every time, and now the players are expected to respond by whipping up the fans. The whole thing is far too overblown and there’s no way back. Golf doesn’t need audience behaviour like a stadium sport. Of course most spectator sport has gone the same way, down the slippery slope to mediocrity and barbarism.

    • I’ve been thinking about your point: what do you do when you screw up? How do you not say, “sorry, I’m late.” As I think about it, that type of ‘sorry’ is just talk. But the ‘sorry’ that I want to get rid of is, ‘sorry I lost that deal’ — when you’ve worked your butt off for it. Instead of the apology, I’d prefer someone say, ‘I lost that one but I plan to win the next one.’

      Agree completely about the Ryder Cup as does Brendan – and not because we no longer hold sway. Can’t we just play golf like gentlemen? Isn’t golf hard enough!

      As far as fans in other sports, the most disgraceful are Yankee fans. Here we are blessed with the greatest team of all and we acknowledge it with a continuing stream of embarrassing displays.

  2. This might be an unpopular comment but my problem with the rah rah side of Ryder Cup golf isn’t so much that it exists. My problem with it is that while I do believe they dearly want to win their matches, they’re more concerned that they’re not paid and that they can’t wear their sponsor’s logos. On the other hand, the Solheim Cup on the women’s side struck me as sincere and I loved every minute of it.

    But it’s gone a bit overboard. There must be a way to have enthusiasm from the gallery that falls within the general scope of acceptable course behavior.


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