The current number one on my list of People I Dislike For No Real Good Reason is this guy from Portland, Oregon who has set out to become a PGA tour professional by putting in 10,000 hours of practice and training. Since I’m feeling sort of pissy today I thought I’d just list all the reasons why this guy bothers me:
1. The guy, who has a name, and it’s Dan McLaughlin, isn’t just planning to get on Tour. His plan is to win a tournament. And not some Nationwide event mind you. No, he’s talking the PGA Tour. And then catch this: once he wins, it’s Mission Accomplished time and he plans to move on to his next 10,000 hour program. From this distance I can’t tell where the arrogance begins, the ignorance ends or where the sheer marketing chutzpah takes over.
2. He hadn’t played golf before starting his quest. In fact he hadn’t even watched a tournament on TV. I guess the game sounded easy to him. Sucker.
3. He has freaking 10,000 hours available for this project. That’s a lot of time. I can hate him just for that alone.
4. He’s been in Bloomberg Business Week, with his picture no less. I haven’t, even without a picture. Bloomberg Business Week mentioned his blog. Still waiting for them to mention mine.
5. It appears that one of his first rounds ever was at Bandon Dunes. Yeah, that’s what golf is like pretty much everywhere.
6. He is the poster boy for the school of thought that says, “Gosh a golly, you can just do anything in this world as long you put your mind to it.” Such nonsense. Those of you who are not on Twitter miss out on a lot of good stuff, but you are also spared a daily barrage of inspirational quotes and exhortations to go out there and make your dreams come true. I really believe that a lot of unnecessary unhappiness is spawned in the wake of failed efforts to become something special.
7. What’s so wrong with acknowledging talent? Mastering something like golf is not like baking a cake: mix ingredients, apply heat for a set period of time, and voila, you’re one of the best in the world. There’s a big difference between recognizing that all the greats had to work very hard to achieve their greatness, in other words that it’s not simply a matter of talent, and asserting that ALL it takes is effort.
8. Even at the crappy level at which we play, our golf games express something about ourselves, aside from our deficiencies in eye-hand coordination or flexibility. Our personalities come through and McLaughlin’s formulaic approach ignores the reality that all golfers bring something to the game other than their accumulated hours of practice. And the truly great golfers? The game allows them to express something in themselves, something that revels in the endless variety of challenge that this game presents. There’s artistry involved here. I can’t imagine anybody presuming to say this: “Well I’m going to put in 10,000 hours learning to paint and once I’ve made my improvements to the Sistine Chapel, I think I’ll work on those unfinished symphonies those less efficient 19th century slackers left behind.”
Well enough on that guy. Buy my book instead. It’s on Amazon. Just enter “Why We Golf” in the search bar.