Four lessons any manager can learn from the Masters Golf Tournament – Part 3 0

Azalea - The 13th hole at the Masters

The 13th hole at Augusta, named Azalea,  is a beautiful par 5. An accurate tee shot to the center of the fairway on this sweeping dogleg left allows a player to go for the green in two. A tributary to Rae’s Creek winds in front of the raised green, and four bunkers threaten behind. On Friday, Bubba Watson hit a perfect drive on 13, had a great iron shot into the green, but couldn’t close the deal with his putt and make eagle.

Yesterday, Phil Mickelson hit a monster tee shot on 13 into the fairway. Phil’s second shot landed almost 20 feet from the hole, some 13 feet further away than Bubba’s. Phil imagined what the putt would need to look like to go in. The ball actually had to go up hill and then make a sweeping right hand turn to get to the hole. And that’s exactly what it did! Phil was able to make 3 on this par 5 hole.

It’s no coincidence that Phil Mickelson is #2 two on the PGA Tour in strokes gained – putting. Phil is able to imagine  the path the ball needs to take and then execute the stroke needed to create that path. Oh, and did I mention that Phil is in second place at the Masters, one shot behind Peter Hanson, going into the final round today?

As managers, we need to be able to imagine the end result and then execute it. Our employees count on us to understand the issue and then imagine the correct path to achieve the desired result. Those managers who can do that end up on company leader boards in the same way Phil Mickelson is on the Augusta Leader Board. Success begets success.

One final thought, there’s a difference between a professional golfer (manager) and the rest of us. As Phil is standing over that 20 foot putt, he knows he is going to make it. He is not thinking of  all the reasons why it might not go in. He believes it will go in. To close the deal, to complete the project, to be a successful manager, you need to believe it too.