Last Updated Apr 30, 2009 9:18 PM EDT
Perry then hit what was probably the shot of the tournament, an eight iron to within six inches of the hole and a certain tap-in birdie. The roar of the crowd was unbelievable; not only for the shot, but also for the likelihood that Perry would go 3 up with two holes to play.
If the first two steps of EQ are defined as first understanding your emotions and then learning to control them, golf must be one of the best ways of learning emotional intelligence. Imagine what must have been going through Cabrera's head as he walked up to the 16th green with the cheers and applause ringing out for Perry, knowing that if he missed his putt, his chance to wear the green jacket would be over.
They say in golf that the most important six inches are those between your ears. While most ball sports require eye-hand coordination and timing to hit, kick or catch a moving ball, golf is different. The ball is stationary but the slightest variation in swing or body posture magnifies the miss. Putting in particular is fiendishly difficult, particularly under pressure. Tiger Woods is probably the best clutch putter the world has ever seen. His discipline is phenomenal. He always takes 17 seconds over a putt and he "freezes" his body just before the stroke.
Cabrera, showing incredible discipline over his emotions, drained the putt. You could sense the momentum swing; Perry made his birdie but inside his head would be the thought that all golfers know. The worst position in match-play is to be two up with two holes to play. You should win the match but deep down you know if you lose the next hole the game is over. So it came to pass.
Many people ask me what is the best way of achieving self-control and resilience. I always say if you are really serious about it, take up golf.