By now, those of you who follow the PGA Tour closely or even watch SportsCenter are aware that Kevin Na made a 16 the hole-nine during the first round of the Valero-Texas Open. That is a story in and of itself worth noting, yet he also had the unfortunate (or fortunate depending on your perspective) circumstance of being mic’d for the Golf Channel’s coverage of round one.

Let me precede the following that I am a huge fan of golf, was definitely impressed with how Kevin Na handled himself yesterday, and I try to look for the best in people. I will also be the first to admit that we all have our bad days and that if we were judged solely on our poorest actions, we would all be left alone to self-destruct.

With that being said, I have not been a fan of Kevin Na for quite some time. Although I have never spoken with him personally, I have been around him on several occasions.  Two specific instances that occurred several years ago, (one when I was playing college golf in Southern California, the other when caddying on the PGA Tour) have caused me to severely question his attitude and relational skills to the public. I understand he must face a tremendous amount of pressure from a variety of sources, but that pressure should not be an excuse for poor behavior (or performance).  He is a famous athlete, children look up to him, and he should do his best to set a proper example for all of his followers.

With that being said, I am impressed with how he handled the debauchery that occurred on the ninth hole yesterday and we can all learn from how he handled a difficult situation.

  1. Laugh at Yourself

When you make a mistake and compound it several times to the point of certain embarrassment, you can either remain angry for an indefinite amount of time, or let it go. A great way to let go is to laugh at the situation and mistake made, relieving the nauseating feeling in your stomach and accepting what just occurred. The quicker you can let the situation go, the quicker you will be able to learn from your mistake and use that knowledge to achieve a greater level of success.

  1. Stick to what got you there in the First Place

If you have achieved any level of success in your current position, you have developed a process over time that has allowed you to reach this success. This process is paramount to your success, and although alterations may be needed along the way, there is no reason to “reinvent the wheel”. Kevin Na is not on the PGA Tour because he commonly smashes drives 350+ yards or hits his driver off the deck. He is on the PGA Tour because of a solid wedge game and deft putting stroke. Had he remembered that, I guarantee you he would have taken a 16 out of the equation!

  1. Finish Strong

Being that Na made 16 on the ninth-hole, he had nine holes to decide how he was going to respond. He could have quit by either walking off or just mentally checked-out, tried his best to play well or landed somewhere in between. Na performed very well on the back-nine as he carded three birdies against zero bogeys. This determination and perseverance will serve him well in the future and is a great example to follow.

I am hoping that what we witnessed on Thursday was a more mature Kevin Na that has learned from his seven years on the PGA Tour. He is on one of the world’s largest stages and has the opportunity to make a tremendously positive impact on lives worldwide. Let’s hope he makes the right decisions on and off the golf course in the future – always keeping his driver and his attitude in check!

Any thoughts, comments, or personal interactions regarding Kevin Na? I’d love to hear them!

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