They called Reggie Jackson Mr. October for the simple reason that he performed at a higher level when the pressure was on, during the World Series in October.
The quintessential example of this is Game 6 in the 1977 World Series.
The Yankee's Reggie stepped to the plate on three consecutive occasions and with just three swings of the bat, produced three sky-rocket home runs, powering the Yanks to victory over the LA Dodgers.
Jackson fed off the electricity of the big show, as have the greatest closers throughout the history of any game.
Golf has its own share of type-A personalities.
People who sniff the energy in the air when they are in the lead, as if it is some sort of elixir or rare tonic.
Being in the zone is what they do for a living, so kicking it up a notch when all the chips are on the line is what really gets their engines revved.
Jack Nicklaus was like that, as were Ben Hogan, Tom Watson, Lee Trevino, and Tiger Woods just to name a few.
Remember the Nicklaus and Watson duel in the sun at Turnberry in 1977?
They both shot 65 on Saturday to tie for the British Open lead, and then on Sunday they went at it full-bore in the final pairing, with Nicklaus shooting 66 and Watson winning on the 72nd hole when he closed out with a 65.
The fact that it meant a lot just fired them up more.
Herbert Warren Wind would write, "all that will probably be remembered is the fantastic duel between Nicklaus and Watson, who were paired on both the third and the fourth day and threw some altogether stupendous golf at each other—neither of them ever taking a backward step—right down to the seventy-second green."
By contrast, the finish between Bubba Watson and Webb Simpson at this year's Zurich event, looked like one of those strange interpretive dances, choreographed to illustrate two people who've become dysfunctional under pressure.
They certainly were not trading punches like Jack and Tom.
Tiger Woods was definitely the Mr. October of golf for a long time, but now his ability to perform at all seems diminished, and when the game is on the line, he gets worse, not better.
I'm not sure who really wants it anymore in golf.
So many players at the top seem almost freaked out at the prospect of winning a tournament.
Cases in point are Rory McIlroy at the Masters, Luke Donald last week, and for weeks before that, and recently Steve Marino, who had a chance to win and his circuits just flat out fried at the prospect.
I've seen Padraig Harrington not just lip out, but virtually flip out at the prospect of winning.
Even in winning, Bubba Watson looks like he doesn't thrive on pressure anywhere near enough right now, to ever win a major.
Hopefully, for the fans—and the game—golf will soon produce a player who eats pressure for breakfast and performs like Mr. October instead of Mr. Magoo, when everything is on the line.
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