Grinders, from Steve Leslie

August 14, 2006 |

A grinder is a term used by golfers and it has two definitions:This is a golfer who is not of elite status and his game does not bring him victories. He is out there working for his money every week picking up the left-over purse money. As a result, he has to compete in more tournaments than a top-level player, play in more Monday morning qualifiers, compete in more pro-ams and corporate events, and is generally seen as struggling to stay on the tour. These are the guys who you see teeing off first on the weekend, and then quickly leaving after their round is over on Sunday and running to the next tournament. Ben Hogan was a grinder and almost quit the tour because of his abysmal financial state.

Alternatively, any pro can be a grinder for a tournament. This is when they just don’t have their ‘A’ game and are fighting on every hole just to stay above water. Even a Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson or Tiger Woods can be a grinder for a period of time. They realize that all the pieces of the puzzle are not fitting but they still fight for every piece of real estate that they can and put every conceivable effort to put the ball in the jar. They know that eventually their game will come around and the results will be shown on the scoreboard and in their bank account.

After Tiger Woods breakout year in 1997 he actually went through a very difficult year in 1998 when he could not buy a tournament win. He was in the process of reworking his swing and as a result he struggled. It all turned around in June of 1999. Woods won the Memorial Tournament in June and 17 tournament wins in 2 years, 32 in 5 years and 7 out of 11 major tournaments.

I see this market as a grinder’s market. The solution to the puzzle is just not there yet and it is very difficult to make money. There is plenty of backing and filling and there is not enough liquidity for a sustained drive. It is quite disheartening to not see the results. But take heart. Things will change, they always do. They will get sorted out eventually and a trend will develop. The key is to stay solvent and survive to be a part of it when it does.

Think of yourself as General McAuliffe of the 101st airborne during The Battle of Bastogne in the winter of 1944. Patton’s 3rd Army 4th armored division is on its way to the rescue.





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