Handling Adversity Like Lewis
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C.– The road to a world No. 1 ranking is filled with twists and turns, as evident by LPGA player, Stacy Lewis.
This week at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup, Lewis seized the Rolex No. 1 ranking, but not without a true test of her character and ability on the course. After the completion of her third round, Lewis was sitting pretty just two strokes behind leader, Ai Miyazato heading into the final round.
Then heartbreak struck.
Before signing her scorecard, Lewis was slammed with a two-stroke penalty throwing her four-shots back from Miyazato. Knowing this was her chance to capture a No. 1 ranking, Lewis had been dealt what should have been a momentum-killing setback.
Lewis received the two-stroke penalty as a result of a violation of Rule 13-4, which prohibits players from testing the condition of a hazard (bunker). Lewis’s caddie tested the surface of a fairway bunker on No. 16 with his right foot. Television viewers called in to LPGA officials regarding the violation, leading to a review of the video after the round, and ultimately the two-stroke penalty.
Suddenly, Lewis was four strokes back of the victory and the No. 1 ranking heading into the final round.
“We looked at the video, he walks into the bunker, he kind of pushes, he kind of bounces his knees a little bit, and his foot turns,” Lewis said. “That was kind of the big indicators, that his foot turned, and you could kind of hear the sand crunch a little bit. So that’s deemed to be testing the conditions.”
Lewis maintained a positive outlook on the situation at all times.
“More than anything I just feel bad for him because he feels awful,” Lewis said. “But he’s the best caddie out here, so we’ll be fine. We still have a chance to win tomorrow … In my mind I shot a bogey-free 66 today, and that’s what I’m going to take home tonight.”
Lewis turned her anguish into fuel for her final round and carded an 8-under-par 64 to rein victorious in Phoenix and become the second American female to take the Rolex No. 1 Ranking.
What can a junior golfer take from Lewis’s story?
In a round of golf there are millions of opportunities for disappointment. A single bad shot or penalty stroke can feel like the end of the world in the middle of a promising round. It is easy to let frustration build from a bad hole, or an unfortunate break. One bad hole is not the end of the world.
The importance of keeping a level head and realistic goals is evident in Lewis’s story. Lewis took her unfortunate situation and turned it on its head. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of her round, she took what could have been a tournament-ending blow and used it to propel herself to victory. During the final round on Sunday, Lewis birdied four of the final six holes to seal the win.
“It happens,” Lewis said. “People hit a wrong ball or ground their club in a hazard. Weird things happen when you play enough golf, and I told [my caddie] that over and over and over again. He would have felt horrible if we lost by two. That’s why I just put the dagger in and made some more putts coming in.”
Learning how to take a difficult situation and turn it into a positive is a skill that benefits golfers on and off the course, but is not easily mastered. Junior Sports Corporation Assistant Director of Mental Training, Scott Swainston is trained to help junior competitors learn to take situations like Lewis’ in stride.
Contact Swainston for a consultation or for more information on Mental Training. Be on the lookout for Swainston at the following International Junior Golf Tour (IJGT) Mental Training Tournament Series Events: