The Master

Are you an expert?  This is a person who has a comprehensive and authoritative knowledge of or skill in a particular area.  Are you an expert financial advisor?  Are you an expert parent?  Are you an expert writer, singer or guitar player?  Are you an expert golfer or tennis player? As an expert, are you attracting the peak performance mindset of the Zone, especially at the right time and place? An expert spends an inordinate amount of time, energy and sacrifice to reach this apex level of performance.

Today 87 professional and amateur golf experts are playing in the 83rd Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia.  They qualified because of this expertise. However, this Sunday only one will be called a Masters champion.

The Master's Golf Emblem

A master is extraordinary.  This person is unique. This is a rare artist, performer or player of consummate skill.  This individual is more than expert at their craft. He or she can consistently put the Zone on like an overcoat as they showcase their expertise.  Typically, a master is a person of the past whose work serves as a model or ideal.  Yes.  This week 86 players will look up to only one master after the sun sets at Augusta National this Sunday.

A master has spent an inordinate amount of time and effort in honing his or her craft.  They excel at the basics of their passionate work and fully understand all of the nuances that come with it.  A window of mastery opened to this individual when experience, knowledge, skill and passion culminated at the same time. A relentless pursuit of excellence brought them to this place in time. Through a myriad of challenges, they remained true to the purity of their craft.  These are the masters.

Who is a master?  Think of Jimi Hendrix as he magically stroked his guitar.  He felt the music and it exploded through his fingers to mesmerized audiences.  The great guitarists that followed all dreamed of Jimi’s riffs.

Think of painters Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso or Jackson Pollock.  They permeate our visual senses with the delicate touch of their artist’s stroke. When I helped launch the famous South Beach artist Romero Britto, it was the master Picasso that he emulated.

Emily Dickinson was a master of the English word. Her poetry stands the test of time as it invokes feelings of our own mortality. She has been recognized as one of the world’s top 50 most influential women.

Ansel Adams captured the beauty of the American West with his amazing black and white photographs.   One glance at his scenes of Yosemite National Park and you immediately think his name.  Generations of photographers have tried in vain to capture his magic.

And remember Fred Astaire?  How he graced the stage!  He was a virtuoso dancer whose career spanned 78 years. He had technical control and an astonishing sense of rhythm. Rudolf Nureyev, Sammy Davis, Jr., Michael Jackson, Gregory Hines, Mikhail Baryshnikov all felt his influence. He made us all want to dance.

These are experts that became Masters.

Today the 2019 Masters Tournament is being played. Just 87 golf experts from around the globe will gather to test their craft in the tiny Georgia town of Augusta. One will be declared the Masters champion. Each contestant will leave Washington Road and turn onto Magnolia Lane to the world’s greatest golf tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club.   This memorable lane is 330 yards long and is adorned by 61 beautiful magnolia trees.  For 35 years I’ve traveled up this picturesque driveway.  I know it well. Through this entrance the players will approach a 365-acre compound that encases the 18-hole course.  This will be the player’s canvas where they will attempt to paint a masterpiece.

The victor will place a white ball into 18 cups with the least amount of shots or strokes.  The 7,475-yard course is spectacular with more than 80,000 plants of more than 350 varieties that adorn the Augusta National grounds.  But don’t let the beauty fool you.  Only a masterful performance on the treacherous and demanding course in front of the most knowledgeable spectator base in the world will wear the “Green Jacket” as the symbol of his mastery.

Each could be considered experts of their craft.  But are they truly a master?

Experts believe.  Great experts expect.  The master knows.

The Masters’ test is formidable.  From the first hole, the course will be challenging.

Over 90% of the golf experts that tee it up today will choke and be out of contention when the  final round on Sunday is underway.  Who will be left to vie for the Green Jacket prize?

Most golf pundits (Golf Digest, etc.) say Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose or Dustin Johnson will still be in the hunt Sunday afternoon.  They include Jordan Spieth, Jon Rahm, Brooks Koepka, Rickie Fowler, Tiger Woods, Hideki Matsuyama, Phil Mickelson, Paul Casey and Bubba Watson.  This list is based on historic results.  Makes sense.  Statistics….okay.  However, the Master has heart (not that the above players do not) and heart is difficult to measure.

Outside of the favorites, look for dark horse performers Charles Howell, III (who knows Augusta National better than anyone and is a Zoniac) and Tommy Fleetwood.  I’m rooting for the dark horses to have a heartfelt, masterful week!

Tip du jour:  Focus on what you do well.  Deal from your strength.  Continue to hone these prominent parts of your craft. 

Be in the Zone!

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