I need to vent, and I'm sure some of you have had similar experiences. On Sunday and yesterday, I played in two different match play tournaments with two different partners.
The first day I played with a very close friend against two other members of our club. Even though I had a birdie on the second hole, I was rocky on the other five holes. At the seventh tee, my friend declares, "We're four down. This match will end quickly." "That's a great attitude!!" I shot back.
I had no intentions of conceding the match at that point and would never concede a match until it's clear that I've lost. After the seventh hole, it was obvious that I was playing solo against the twosome, although mentally it felt like I was playing against a threesome. I played with such determination and focus that I shot a five-over back nine, which is very good for me.
I understand if my playing partner is not playing well and is frustrated with her game. But, I don't appreciate the give-up attitude. We ultimately lost, but it was not until the 18th hole. Our opponents even graciously recognized we gave them a good fight to the end.
When I'm having an off day, and my playing partners are playing well, I try to help my partners with the logistics of playing. For example, I'll help look for fairway distance markers. I'll keep score, if that would help them concentrate on their game. I'll pull and tend the flag more often, so they don't have to worry about it and can focus on reading their putts. Or, I'll pick up their clubs on the green. I'm still trying to contribute and play well, but I'm also recognizing that my partners are playing better than I am and want to support them in continuing to do so.
Yesterday I had a team play event with another partner. I've never played with her as a partner and she seems to be a nice person. However, on a couple of occasions she did the worst thing possible to me, which is put doubt in my shot. In the first instance, I'm about 65 yards off the green and her ball is on the rough 20-30 feet short of the green. I've taken my practice swing and was set to take my swing when she yells, "Do you need me to mark my ball?" First of all, if I did, I would have asked her. My intent was to sail over her ball and stop the ball near the pin. She should have seen that I was just about to swing and, instead of being helpful, she was being disruptive.
The other time was when I was reading my putt, which was about 15 feet from the pin on the rough with a downhill 5" break right to left. I was visualizing my putt when she used her putter to show me the line 3" on the other side of the hole of the break. Annoyed, I declared, "No way!" and had to back off and start my routine over again. When I did finally putt, it went into the hole for a nice birdie.
I understand she was trying to be helpful in both instances, but she instead interfered with my concentration and confidence. If there were other instances, I would have said something to her politely, but fortunately there weren't any others.
In summary, when you're playing as partners with others, make sure you're being a partner and not a distraction and annoyance. It will make way for others wanting to play competitively with you again.