by W.R. Marshall
American Reporter Correspondent
June 21, 2006
IT'S THE DRIVER, PHIL
CHARLESTON, S.C. -- Phil, Phil, Phil. You had a plan, thought it was a good one, worked hard on it, but in the end things didn't go the way you wanted. You kept ending up in the weeds and ankle-high rough; you had no clear line to the green, and victory was suddenly in doubt.
Yet there you were, on the very next hole, grabbing that driver that kept landing you in the rough, the one that kept getting you in trouble.
You know what I think (or don't). I think you confused strategy and tactics. Strategy is your overall plan, the big picture, but once on the ground, once shots are flying, the wind comes up and terrain changes, you have to change with it. You can't keep thinking that at the end people are going greet you as a liberator... . I mean winner.
Yeah, you looked good early on as you stroked it down the middle for a day or two, but things started to fall apart pretty fast. It didn't look to us like you had a plan for when things went south.
Every minute things got a little worse, but you were still yanking the big stick out of your bag, going with the strategy that to millions of us at home was obviously starting to fail. Jeez, Phil. Even the guys on tv were telling you to rethink this whole thing, ro take it in another direction. Look, everyone was behind what you were trying to do. It was a noble undertaking and very rarely accomplished.
But as you learned at the end of your long walk, your efforts - and this may be hard to hear - and even your best intentions don't get you the prize if you ignore reality in the moment. Just because your team had already worked it all out on paper doesn't mean it's going to work in the real world. It's like the poet said: "Bogies happen."
You've got to leave the driver in the bag when the driver isn't working, even if you think the driver should work. Now, clearly the driver wasn't working for a good part of your lengthy struggle. But there you were.
And now what, what's in the future? This is going to hurt for a while; it's going to leave you damaged. You had to be able to see what the rest of us saw, but you didn't, at least not in the moment, and that lack of vision when things got rough cost you dearly. It cost all of us. We don't like to see failure on this large a stage; it hurts us all, and makes us think maybe we shouldn't put our faith in you to begin with. I think you might already be in a position where everything you do from here on is going to be second-guessed by the whole world.
And what about history? I know you a have one eye on what they're going to think about you when you're gone, and let's be honest, your tenure at the top isn't going to last that much longer. It can't; that's just the nature of beast.
I know you're probably hearing this from everyone, but it's not too late to get things going right again. There's been a good deal of carnage, but now you know where things went wrong, you've admitted to some mistakes and you can look at this with fresh eyes - go at it a whole new way - and leave the driver in the bag!