Phil Mickelson Talks about his 2021 PGA Victory - Aging and Winning

"Worked harder is the deal," Mickelson said. "I just had to work harder physically to be able to practice as long as I wanted to, and I've had to work a lot harder to be able to maintain focus throughout a round. That's been the biggest challenge of late.

"My desire to play is the same. I've never been driven by exterior things. I've always been intrinsically motivated because I love to compete. I love playing the game. I love having opportunities to play against the best at the highest level. That's what drives me, and I think the belief that I could still do it inspired me to work harder. I just didn't see why it couldn't be done. It just took a little bit more effort.'' (Phil Mickelson after winning the 2021 PGA Championship). (Bob Harig, ESPN, 05/23/21)

Hard work – Desire – Intrinsically motivated – Love of competition – Loves playing the game – Relishes challenging opportunities – Belief

Phil Mickelson’s win at the 2021 PGA championship was not only a boost to anyone who is getting older and thinks winning is no longer possible, but in this quote Mickelson displays the textbook qualities of a champion. 

Hard work does not simply mean getting up earlier every day it means hard work with a purpose. In this reference Mickelson suggests that he is working on his fitness so that he can practice longer and his approach so that he can maintain focus.

Desire to play is critical as it provides the basis for all of the work necessary to compete and win. Without the base level desire to participate it is impossible to be able to do whatever it takes to be the best.

Intrinsic motivation is an absolute requirement for winning and being a champion. While few would ever turn down a big paycheck, it is not about the money. For the very best in the world, the internal drive for self-perfection and to win is stronger and more powerful than any paycheck. No external motivator is strong enough to power a champion athlete over an entire career.

Love of competition is an obvious requirement and for the very best in the world it is almost an addiction. It is a quality that most often is played out in every aspect of a champion’s life.

Loves playing the game enables the best in the world to get up every day and do what they do best. What might be hard for an observer to understand is that these athletes still love to play their sport. In Phil’s case he still loves to play golf and if he did not still enjoy playing golf it would be impossible to put out the daily effort necessary to win and to compete at the highest levels.

Relishing a challenge is at the heart of a great performance. For a great champion, there is the constant challenge with the self to attain perfection and to win and then there is the challenge of the competition. To both win the internal challenge and at the same time beat the best in the world is the ultimate prize.

Belief – If you do not believe in yourself and your ability to perform and persevere then you have no chance. Having absolute trust and confidence in yourself and your abilities is an outcome of all of your effort and preparation. Great champions earn the unwavering belief in themselves and are not afraid to put it all on the line.

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