Mina Harigae to the "Next Nicklaus" - bragging on your golf pupil's a kiss of death
Dave Vivolo is not a big name in the world of golf. He is the golf coach at Robert Louis Stevenson School, best know for giving us the Firestone guy on one of those Bachelor seasons, and head pro at Monterey Peninsula Country Club, the Cypress Point of the Monterery Peninsula (wait a second, let me think that one over.) He also has a mouth that runneth over. In an article of late, he is quoted as saying about Mina Harigae: “I think she could beat most women in the world right now, on any stage, I really firmly believe that. She has tremendous potential – I’m talking No. 1-in-the-world potential.”
When speaking with the media, shut up. Don’t brag about what has transpired and NEVER, EVER brag about what has not yet transpired. The streets of unfulfilled promise are littered with players for whom greatness was predicted. Bangkok Al, he of eastern wisdom and charm, recently reigned in those who anticipate such for Long John Holmes (sorry, I meant JB.) Now, why I would ever choose to use Bangkok and John Holmes in the same sentence is beyond me, and another story for another time.
I recall a local kid in western New York being given the same treatment on the front page of the Buffalo News, a paper equally noted for its journalistic content and fish-wrapping quality. The local wunderkind was given the spin by his over-zealous local pro, and subsequently failed to produce anything more than a lower-end D1 scholarship.
Think about it: the kid earned something that few of us could, yet the taste was sour, due to the has-been pro’s hyperbole. Remember when Gary Nicklaus was feted on the cover of Sports Illustrated?
The best he ever did (besides wear those short shorts for the cover shot) was that playoff-loss to Phil Mickelson. Again, quite a feat by any standards, but little more than a murmur when greatness is predicted.
So here’s the lesson when talking to the media about your prodigy: Resist the urge to go out on a limb and set up your pupil. The kid is younger than you, for goodness sake. Just Shut up. Smile and shut up. Acknowledge mild potential and shut up.
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