SSSSHHH. A One Week Challenge

ssshhhh2For a sport that requires so much silence, ironically, waves have been made over much noise created by two golfers. This is irony at its best. We have all done it; Words have escaped your lips, and within milliseconds, you think…(*slo mo moment*): Waaaaaaiiiiiiit. You wish you had a virtual hook to tongue-reel in those words back into your mouth. Too late; it’s already out there. Where the words go is out of your control. If you offend, you offend. If people laugh, they laugh; the words you say become the fuel for someone else’s reaction. The part YOU control is over, sad but true. Now, add a layer: If you speak to an audience, and thanks to the instant explosion of media reaction which will tear you down and spit you out within minutes, you are held to a higher standard.

Take the case of Sergio Garcia’s comment about Tiger Woods in front of the entire Ryder Cup team at the European Tour’s annual dinner. When (jokingly?) asked by Golf Channel’s Steve Sands how often he will invite Woods around for dinner at next month’s US Open, Garcia replied: “We will have him around every night. We will serve fried chicken.”

The level of fury radiating from this and dispersing across the airways was rapidly analyzed and interpreted. All due to a few harmless words? (or so you thought at the moment of airing) Sergio probably wished he could take those 12 words back, but now, it is up to the media to break him down and then turn to Woods for “comment” which furthers the sting for Sergio. (Oh, they love this propaganda-like ability to take this and explode it furthering the issue to more than perhaps needed) Woods tweeted the comment to be “wrong, hurtful and clearly inappropriate.” So, now that the object of the comment takes offense to it, we are not qualified to comment on how we feel. He was wronged.

Sadly, however, we are now looking at the character of Sergio, and this may be hurting his career

Over a few words!?


I have been reading this story now for a few weeks, and if you are like me, you think that could have been me! I know I have said something without thinking.

Seneca, the Roman Philosopher once said, “Speech is the index of the mind.” Add to that Jesus who states, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” (Mat. 12:34). Furthermore,  James, Jesus brother says, “the tongue is “a fire, a world of iniquity, and “the tongue a “deadly poison.” Ouch!

This made me further think about WORDS. What we say must be in line with our heart. So one must go straight to the heart and check there first.

My goal is not to experience delayed intelligence, but have wisdom as I speak. (not after!)

The beauty of the golf course is it gives us a chance to BE QUIET and think. This may be the time to think about these principles, so delayed intelligence does not become something you have to experience. If you find yourself feeling regret, first, be glad you feel regret. This shows you have a repentant heart and know you need to make a TURN. There, however, may be another clue that lessons are needed: Do you talk a lot? If you are always waiting for others to silence so you can speak up, chances are you say some…MANY wrong things. So, stop talking and LISTEN now.

First if you do play golf, this one will be easy! If not, maybe you need some duct tape. Try these all for ONE WEEK.

  1. Zip it. Try to use your two ears instead of your one mouth for a change. Spend a week observing and taking things in. Maybe your heart will change in some areas. Plus, maybe you will not be so reactive.
  2. This silence will allow you to slow down and think. Awkward silence is just that. Awkward. Not wrong. Sometimes it is best to just take a deep breath and make a wise choice before words come flying out. Believe me, they are ready to soar because you have your opinions. Just hold on for a few seconds! However, BEFORE you speak, you have a hierarchy you must funnel your words through. I’ll use Sergio as an example to illustrate the point.


NUMBER ONE: Are your words truthful?
In Sergio’s case, I’ll opt for thumbs up. He probably would serve fried chicken. Paula Dean would be an ideal person to help him with this! This way, he would not have to go through the Colonel’s drive-thru. Check it out: It only takes 14 minutes and is easy easy easy! And hey, he might try serving some Spanish rice as to make it a complete meal. Guy Fieri has my personal favorite, but this will set him back about one hour. Here you go, Serg: However, if Sergio was not being truthful, then we must move on to the next one.

NUMBER TWO: Are your words necessary?

Let’s take a look at the question. “Would you have Tiger Woods over for dinner?” This is not a trick question. In fact, it demands a one-word answer. To expand on the answer is risky. The superfluous words supplied by Sergio may have been necessary if he was needing to explain his menu but he wasn’t given that task. Still, maybe he thought it was necessary to try to be funny. BUT, he’d have to pass the final test before his words could escape his lips.

NUMBER THREE: Are your words kind?

The sarcastic offer to cook fried chicken for golf’s superstar, not only had a hint of casual racism but did nothing to uplift the individual. Moreover, it did nothing to contradict the underlying prejudice that golf is a white-man’s sport.


We could take a few lessons from Atticus Finch, the sagacious lawyer/father in To Kill A Mockingbird. The best line in the book, and one we can all learn from is when he is addressing the narrator/protagonist, Scout, his 8-year-old daughter. He says, “First of all, if you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…. until you climb into his skin and walk around in it. “(Lee 30)

Being kind means being empathetic and thoughtful. Being kind, means checking your heart before you speak, and making sure that if you do not have something nice to say, do NOT say it. No matter if Sergio thought it was kind or not, he did not think about how Tiger would have taken it. He did not “walk around in his shoes for a while.”

We can all learn a lot from the Sergio-Tiger duo. Hopefully they can too. Next time you tee it up, remember, that silence is golden more often than not. It is in golf. Again, the world of golf gives us crucial lessons for life. I challenge you to try these steps for one week and see if you have fewer conflicts (and maybe better scores!)




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