The leaders at the Valero Texas Open on Sunday were missing opportunities and backed up to meet Charley Hoffman but, is that just the game of golf (taking good shots with the bad) or are there mental errors stopping the win?
Patrick Reed had this to say after going up against Hoffman, "I put the pressure as much as I could on Charley. It shows he was ready to win a golf tournament, and I had way too many mistakes to close one out." Did concentrating on Charley's game and knowingly increasing pressure cause Reed's failure?
When you are in the lead do you change your game plan and become defensive to maintain your lead or do you keep playing same game that got you into the lead? Which do you think works better?
A frustrated Rory McIlroy had two leads slip away in back-to-back tournaments, at Riviera and at the WGC Cadillac Championship, going into Sunday at the later event with a three-stroke lead.
"I was leading the golf tournament with sixteen holes to play in Riviera. To not get the job done in either two of those instances is very frustrating."
Golf tournaments, at any level, are pressure cooker situations and, when you are in the lead, the pressure always increases. Many golfers may start to play safer and more defensively when they glance up at the leaderboard which, IMO, often gets them into trouble and ultimately loses the match.
Remember the former number one golfer in the world during his prime? Tiger Woods mostly maintained the same game that got him in the lead in the first place - he kept attacking the course. I believe that physical ailments and mental changes in his original plan has stopped him from greatness; the physical problems have caused Woods to swing the club differently and the mental issues, well, we know where that got him...
Golf Tips to Help Keep Your Lead When the Pressure Increases:
2. Tune out distractions and don't fall prey to mental tricks or excuses. At the WGC Cadillac Championship, Justin Rose used excuses to describe why he bogeyed the eighteenth hole...the roar of the crowd for Luke Donald, it felt "tricky coming in", etc.
3. Look, Don't Look, at the Leaderboard...? Golf is a game played alone - it's just you against the golf course. Please see number 2!
4. Don't second guess your shots ... Confidence Rules, from stepping up to the tee knowing you are going to hit a good shot to picking the right golf driver to hit that great shot.
Speaking of that next great shot, if you are holding the lead, consider playing the next shot safe instead of sorry if there are possible pitfalls.
5. Engage in positive self talk. Charley Hoffman finally said to himself at the 18th hole, "Let's finish this here. Let's not play anymore."
"Everyone knows that it is not technical ability which separates the winners from the losers in tournament golf. It is your mind which makes the difference," states avid golfer and specialist in golf hypnosis, Roseanna Leaton.
Are you ready to win?
Join the conversation on Twitter @Golf4Beginners and feel free to comment on our Golf for Beginners blog.
photo credit: Texas Enterprise