A Lesson in Handling Adversity

This past week, the Valero Texas Open was played at the TPC San Antonio (AT&T Oaks Course) in San Antonio, Texas. During the first round,  professional golfer Kevin Na carded a 16 on the par 4 ninth hole of the course.

A little about Kevin Na. At age 8, Na’s family moved from South Korea to the United States. Took up the game a year later and by the time he left the junior golf program had become the top junior player in the U.S. Na has played professional golf for five years and earned over $2 million dollars in 2009 and 2010 making him a top 50 golfer in earnings during that time. In other words, Kevin is not like me, he is not  a duffer but a real pro golfer.

It is amazing the world wide interest this one hole failure and has created and the media coverage of the event. It seems we marvel in the failure of others. Maybe we can relate to the struggles on the golf course (who has not carded the double digit hole?). Maybe we empathize with the moment of failure we have all experienced. In any case, it seems allot of attention has been given to one hole of golf.

I am not surprised by the interest nor the reasons the interest exists. What amazes me is the character that Na shows while going through this adversity. Think about it. Nary a display of emotion and just a light hearted approach to the moment.  How many times do we see athletes use foul language, mouth slurs (caught on camera), throw towels, swing a bat at the water coolers, get in the face of an official and generally just have a temper tantrum each time things do not go there way? It happens all the time. It is the norm. What is not the norm is someone showing some character in the face of adversity and keeping a smile on his face even though he just carded one of the worst par 4 scores in PGA history. Now, that is a lesson for all of us on handling adversity.

It just wouldn’t be a picnic without the ants.  ~Author Unknown


One Response

  1. Carlo Says:

    Hi Mark,

    Great article on Kevin Na. I had the honor of watching him play. He is a pretty cool customer. Success or failure is based upon one’s perception. I love Eastern Philosophy and a lot of their customs; they never allow external circumstances to ever control their behavior. Great piece Mark.

    I wrote a similar article concerning adversity at one of my feeder blogs http://bit.ly/imFnu6 Check it out.


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