Tomorrow afternoon, just off of Fort Morgan Road, sixteen men will begin the 11th Annual Kiva Cup. I’ve played in enough Kiva Cups to know that this event, modeled after the Ryder Cup, isn’t simply a guys golf trip. It’s a battle; a battle against sun and wind, aches and pains, one of the toughest courses you’ll ever play and a cart girl who relentlessly drives up to the tee box in your backswing. The fiercest battle, however, is the battle within yourself.
Golf is not an easy sport to play. More than anything, it requires time – a lot of time. When I created my ideal week earlier this year, I realized that I just did not have the time on a consistent basis to practice the game. Kiva Dunes is not a course for people like me, people who own clubs but struggle mightily to hit two decent shots in a row. In the face of that realization, I let my teammates on Team USA know that I would not be participating in the 2013 event.
I don’t regret the decision not to play. Still, I presume it’s only natural that, on the eve of the tournament, I find myself missing the event. I don’t miss the golf, it was always secondary at best to me, but I miss my teammates on Team USA. So, on the eve to the Kiva Cup, I offer to them the following words of advice from my experience in the Cup:
1. Stay in the hole. In the history of the Kiva Cup, just as many, if not more, holes have been won with bogeys or worse than have been won with birdies or better. Stay in the hole. Any idiot can hit 3-iron in to the canal on #17, but it takes someone special to hit 7-iron over the canal to dry land, then play a bump-and-run shot and try to make a putt for par. Stay in the hole.
2. The most important shot is the next one, not the last one. I don’t care what your handicap is, you’re going to hit a bad shot at some point this weekend. Don’t worry about it. Go find your ball and hit it again. Conversely, your tee shot to the throat of the fairway on #5 isn’t going to mean anything if you duck-hook your second shot over to the Monkey Squirrel habitat on the left. Focus on your next shot, not your last one.
3. Never quit. In a pre-race interview before the NASCAR race in Kansas, Carl Edwards said, “Early on, I realized that I could beat about 95% of these guys just by not quitting.” Coming back to halve a match after finding yourself 4 down with 4 to play is the stuff of which legends are made. Don’t quit! Stupid stuff happens at Kiva Dunes when you start putting pressure on someone. Don’t quit!
In closing, I want to say to Captain Jim, you belong where you are. You are a golfer. Battle. Every hole, battle.
Best of luck to Team USA, and to all the Cup competitors, travel safe and have a great trip. Be sure to tip JeriLynn.