The word pressure is hugely overused in sport.
‘This is a pressure putt’
‘Look at the pressure taking this penalty’
Pressure, pressure, pressure.
But in top level professional sports the upside may be incredible but the downsides, are they really that bad?
When Jordan Spieth blew up at The Masters it was horrible, but given a short amount of time and with his feet up on a pile of cash in his mansion he’d probably be pragmatic and realise he’s probably got another 30 chances at winning another green jacket.
When a footballer misses a penalty in a shootout it’s grim too. ‘He’s let his country down’ will be the overreaction but he’ll still be a good footballer, still be earning wedge and all will be forgotten when the new season starts.
But out here on the Challenge Tour guys are playing for their livelihoods. The upside is a chance at the bigtime and for many financial security, the downside can be slogging it around the world on a shoestring again and even worse for some, having to give up.
So on moving day at the NBO Golf Classic Grand Final the tension was crazy. Guys knew they had to make a move and finish top three, earn a few extra euros to secure that card and hold their position.
The first two days seemed a little like business as usual but today felt different. Many knew it was now or never!
I walked around with Newcastle lad Garrick Porteous and Frenchman Adrien Saddier who were two guys knowing they needed a move, probably a top two or three finish or face the trip to Q-School next week at big expense.
Every putt, every chip, every drive… it all meant something.
It’s an eery atmosphere out here as there are no real crowds to speak of. Just the players, their caddies and a smattering of officials and well wishers.
You can feel the tension, you can feel the nerves and you even get nervous watching. It’s crazy.
And that is why I was so in awe of what these guys did. They shot a 65 and a 67 but it wasn’t the numbers that were impressive. It was the 10-footers to save par, it was the following each other in for birdies and on the back nine it was almost error-free.
I can genuinely say I’ve never seen anything like it, in any sport. You can only have total respect for them.
So when you’re stood over that knee-trembler six-footer for the monthly medal realise that your downside is a shedload of beers in the clubhouse, spare a thought for these guys who are literally fighting for their livelihood out here, knowing one bad shot could be the end of it.
And tomorrow they’ve got to do it all again. With even more PRESSURE.
I'm the Managing Editor at The Club. I like putting and Rioja. I dislike my low slice.