Another letter from the DOC… May 2009
When I was a little boy my parents took me to the big city of Stockholm where we went to the amusement park ‘Gröna Lund’. The first thing we came to inside the gates was the ‘Funny House’. A house with all sorts of funny mirrors that made us look even more weird than usual and rooms that seemed perfectly normal but leaned in different directions which made them impossible to walk through. To enter this funny house there were two different sets of staircases. One was an almost normal one that just leaned a bit more than what you would expect a staircase to do. The other one was more of a ladder with each step of the ladder divided in two parts. The two parts were moving and not in a particularly synchronised way. When one was going up the other one was going down. I remember how I struggled and I did not make any progress trying to get up this ladder. That is, until I figured out how it worked. The trick was obviously that unless I got off the moving step at the right time, when the step next to it was going up, I was standing still. If I did get off at the right time it was a smooth climb up the ladder where I had all the help from the moving steps.
I come to think of this as I follow the discussions on whether Shane Lowry, the Irish Amateur who just won the Irish Open on the European Tour, should turn pro or not. This week the Tour is at Wentworth and Shane is not here. He spent the first part of the week at home considering his options and it is not an easy decision. It is a Walker Cup year, the R&A are doing their best to promote how Padraig Harrington, Shane’s fellow Irishman, today looks back at his three Walker Cups with fond memories and a successful match against the US in America in September certainly has the potential to open up even more doors for the 22 year old Lowry. The tricky thing though is that who knows in which direction the step that Shane is stood on at that time is moving?
Yesterday the Golfing Union of Ireland and Lowry made a united announcement that Shane is turning pro. Check out www.gui.ie for what, if I did not know any better, I would think was an announcement that Shane is changing citizenship or giving up the game. He is not. He is moving on to the next step. If that is right or not we will never know as there is no other Shane to compare him with, still in the amateur game. I do not think he will win again on the European Tour in quite some time. Not because he is not good enough but because the guys he will now compete with are very good. He might get into a slump and struggle for some time which will cause more than a few people in the amateur game to say (or at least think) – ‘didn’t we tell you so?’. Chances are also though that he will excel and go from strength to strength. We will have to wait and see but what I do know is that he has moved off a step that was moving up. And he did it before it was starting to move down.
I hope you are successful in figuring your steps out and whatever you do, don’t leave one step until you are certain that there is another one to hop onto. Shane Lowry’s step is a two and a half year exemption to play the European Tour. I would say there is a good chance that is moving up!
“People underestimate their capacity for change. There is never a right time to do a difficult thing. A leader’s job is to help people have vision of their potential.”
– John Porter