Why’d I Do That?
Your partner hits into trouble, then you do the same
ou’ve been teaming nicely, playing steady, neither stressing the other out. Then disaster strikes: On a tough driving hole, your buddy ares a tee shot into the water. He turns to you and
Yutters those awful words: “Sorry, partner, you’re on your own.” Suddenly the entire weight of your golf existence is on your shoulders. Sure enough, your shot follows his into the drink.
Or maybe you’re playing a headto-head match. Your opponent pumps one out-of-bounds, so all you have to do to probably win the hole is drive it anywhere in play. What do you do? Send it O B right behind him. When your partner – or opponent – screws up and you’re hitting next, take a breath and devise a plan.A few tips:
(1) Embrace the opportunity. Don’t look at it as, Oh, no, it’s all on me! This weakens you mentally. Experienced players in team competition agree beforehand never to apologise to their partners.You both know you’re doing your best.
(2) Thinking It’s my turn to help creates too much tension. Go through your usual pre-shot routine; it’ll help you stay loose. And don’t freeze over the ball –waggle the club, move your feet. Focus on normal tempo, even slower than normal. Under pressure, most players rush.
(3) Play a shot you know you can pull o , even if it’s not pretty, or hit less club o the tee so you stay in play.These are good con dence builders to help you come through in the clutch. When you’re feeling pressure, talk to yourself in physical – not emotional – terms. That three-footer is le to right, not to stay 1 up. Think of shots as maths problems, things to be solved dispassionately. Focus on your target clearly just once, then swing. The more you look up to see the target, the more likely you’ll disrupt your rhythm and create doubt.
MORRIS PICKENS, PHD Sometimes one bad shot can define a partnership. In the 2004 Ryder Cup, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods came to the 18th hole in their foursomes match tied with Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood. Mickelson hit his tee shot so far off line it came to rest against an OB fence. Tiger, visibly mad, had to take an unplayable. They lost the hole to a bogey, setting the tone for a lopsided European victory. Rick Smith
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