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Monday, July 23, 2007

Pressure Cooker

By Charlie Schroeder

I found it very easy to be an armchair quarterback during yesterday's final round of the Open Championship. I also found it very easy for me to tear the stuffing out of my couch watching Romero try to hit a two-iron from the long grass, and Harrington hit it in the drink twice on 18. (It was just as nerve-wracking to see Garcia's putter go ice cold after having such a stellar week.)

I've never been in a situation with that much at stake so it's impossible to comprehend what goes on inside a golfer's mind and body, so this morning I consulted one the many golf psychology books I have for some words of wisdom. I paged through "Golf, the Ultimate Mind Game" by Rick Sessinghaus, and found this:

"...[some golfers] get a lead and begin to play not to lose it. The tension in their body increases. This tension stops the club from fully releasing and causes a block...playing to win is the attitude of staying present and treating each shot the same...playing not to lose is the intention of don't hit a bad shot! This affects confidence and our ability to close out rounds."

I remember hearing another great psychologist, Dr. David Wright say a few years ago: "when you have your opponent down, you have to step on his neck." Doc wasn't trying to be mean-spirited; he was trying to convey what athletes must do to win. Yesterday we saw a lot of golfers trying not to lose The Open and it wasn't until Harrington got to the playoff that we saw someone who finally wanted to win.


Ryan Noll said...

I agree with you Charlie. Nevertheless, it takes putts to win tournaments. Sergio missed too many of them.

Anonymous said...

I don't know who this "Dr." Wright is, but stepping on someone's neck isn't something I would recommend under any circumstances. You'd think a "doctor" would know that.