As a senior this year, I have conversed with many people about our program. We are fortunate enough here at Stanford that we have maintained a long legacy of golfing greatness for decades now, and I'm proud to be a part of it. Often times when I talk to people, the first question I get is "Oh, you play for Stanford? So have you met Tiger?" This fall, finally, was the time that I could answer that question with a resounding "yes," and get to share the incredible experience of spending a few days on the farm with my golfing hero.
Tiger's visit was rather spontaneous. It was only a few days before his arrival that we learned he would be on campus, and so all of us were extremely excited. When he got here, he showed up on the Siebel complex seeming very excited to meet all of us. He was extremely kind to everyone, interested to learn more about us personally, and eager to do all that he could to share his experience in a manner that would benefit us most. Needless to say, we took advantage of such an offer.
Our time was mostly spent around Tiger gathered in a circle, where we could fire off question after question, ranging from his practice regime to his mindset over a winning putt for a major championship. One question after the other was answered in a very deep and thoughtful way.
The highlight of the experience for me was during one of those conversations standing around on the range. We asked Tiger why he has gotten so much out of his game all of these years, and how he feels he has maintained such a high standard of excellence. Naturally, I assumed that there would be something in his thought process or his natural talent that would make his excellence seem intangible for the rest of us. However, his answer was so straightforward and simple that it was one of the most inspiring comments I've ever heard as a golfer. When asked about why he has been so good for so long, he said "Everyone is different. You just have to figure out what works for you in every single aspect of the game and do that, and keep getting better at it. Just be yourself." These aspects of the game ranged from how to swing, how to putt, how to manage a golf course, and even how much energy to have in competition.
Prior to meeting him, my idolization of Tiger led me to believe that he had the magic recipe that maybe one day he would reveal. After interacting with him, I realized it is quite the opposite. I walked away knowing that if I know what works best for me, and I do that every day with commitment and passion, that I too will get the most out of my talent. It just so happens with Tiger that getting the most out of his talent means that he wins 14 majors and 79 PGA Tour events. But after all of that, the coolest part about his visit was that he left the farm making us all feel like we could do the same. After meeting him in person, I can't help but root for him more than I already did.