Be Like Rory

by Patricia Rose, Director of Career Services

Last week’s U.S. Open Golf Tournament was thrilling to watch, especially for those looking for new, young stars. There was Patrick Cantlay, the UCLA freshman, an amateur who played the championship in even par, something only 21 others could manage. And Kevin Chappell, a tour rookie, who at 24 tied for third, and was the top American finisher. But the week belonged to 22 year old Rory McIlroy, who won in record-setting fashion at 16 under par.

McIlroy, from a working-class background in Northern Ireland, was humble and approachable throughout the tournament. Yet he exuded confidence with his every shot. How different from his experience this spring at the Masters, when he blew a big lead in the final round, and finished well off the pace.

What happened after his humiliating defeat? McIlroy didn’t hide from the press, or the public. He took time to analyze what went wrong, and resolved not to repeat his mistakes in future tournaments. And then he let his Masters defeat, and his public embarrassment, go. He didn’t dwell on what might have been. He didn’t get down on himself. He moved on. (In fact, he participated in a humanitarian visit to earthquake-ravaged Haiti. As he said upon his return, no one died at the Masters.)

We all can take some lessons from Rory. First, be confident, regardless of age or lack of experience. Any number of young people have achieved greatness at an early age. So may you. Second, face up to your mistakes. Even the horrible public embarrassing ones. Learn from them. Figure out what to do so as not to repeat them. And then third, let them go and move on. Do something for someone else. Don’t wallow in your disappointment. Life is too short.

We all can’t win the U.S. Open, but we can all be like Rory if we try. He’s one sports hero who is truly worth emulating.