Nick Dougherty

Be­ware the an­gry golfer. Why on-course tantrums aren’t al­ways a bad thing!

Today's Golfer (UK) - - First Tee - Nick Dougherty is a three-time Euro­pean Tour win­ner and now a pre­sen­ter on Sky Sports’ golf cov­er­age. Fol­low him on Twit­ter @Nick­dougherty5

When­ever I see play­ers throw­ing clubs or curs­ing a bad shot, I al­ways think back to when I was grow­ing up and I was taught that los­ing your tem­per was the worst thing you could do. It’s easy to laugh at that ad­vice now be­cause no mat­ter how hard I try, I’ve al­ways strug­gled to re­main on an even keel. I’ve snapped many clubs over the years and within sec­onds, I’ve al­ways re­gret­ted my ac­tions. It’s a stupid thing to do, but I’ve never be­lieved in bot­tling up your emo­tions. The trick, of course, is know­ing how to chan­nel that red mist in a pos­i­tive way. Re­cently, I’ve started work­ing with Gar­ret Kramer, who wrote The Path of No Re­sis­tance, and he’s taught me that thoughts are not pow­er­ful in them­selves; they are only pow­er­ful if we try to wres­tle them. That’s why I see noth­ing wrong with play­ers los­ing their rag on the golf course, pro­vided they don’t start beat­ing them­selves up for do­ing it in the first place.

Don’t get me wrong, I never con­done nor en­joy see­ing play­ers snap­ping clubs as I think it sets a bad ex­am­ple for bud­ding, younger golfers. But at the same time, I know I’d be a hyp­ocrite if I told my son off every time he lost his rag af­ter mak­ing a sloppy er­ror or get­ting a bad bounce. I’m as guilty as any­one and I don’t think it’s pos­si­ble to be 100% in con­trol of your emo­tions. Stress does bad things to peo­ple and although duff­ing a chip might be a first-world prob­lem, at the time it feels like it’s life end­ing.

The best bit of cad­dieing I ever re­ceived came just af­ter I fin­ished sec­ond in my de­fence of the Sin­ga­pore Mas­ters in 2006. I was play­ing in China at the TCL Clas­sic and mid­way through the round, I was right on the cut mark. I re­mem­ber hit­ting a bad shot and sound­ing off, say­ing things like: ‘What’s the point? Why do I even bother?’ In that mo­ment, I ex­pected more from my­self and I was be­hav­ing like a child. My cad­die Ian More turned to me and said: ‘Why don’t we just pick the ball up and go in if it’s that bad?’ Part of me wanted to throt­tle him, but the other part knew what he was try­ing to do and that pulled me back from a dark place. I went on to birdie four of my last five holes and ended up fin­ish­ing fourth. It was a fan­tas­tic piece of cad­dieing be­cause it stopped my emo­tions from spi­ralling out of con­trol. That’s when I think cad­dies are at least 50% re­spon­si­ble for vic­to­ries. The emo­tional sup­port they can pro­vide is of­ten over­looked, es­pe­cially when the pres­sure is on. A great ex­am­ple was Mal­colm Macken­zie at the 2002 French Open. He was lead­ing by one head­ing down the 72nd hole and needed to hit a 2-iron off an up­hill lie to reach the green. Ob­vi­ously, he was ex­tremely ner­vous and his cad­die Rod Wooler could sense that. It got to the stage where Mal­colm con­vinced him­self that he couldn’t make the shot and needed to lay up, and that’s when Rod stepped in and said: ‘What are you, a man or a mouse?’ He knew Mal­colm wasn’t go­ing to back down from that; he just needed some­one to chal­lenge him. Of course, he went and smacked it on the green and won the tour­na­ment. Those sto­ries still do the rounds at af­ter-din­ner speeches, but they are great ex­am­ples of cad­dies step­ping out of the stereo­type of just car­ry­ing the bag. A lot of peo­ple gave Steve Wil­liams stick when he said he had won 13 Ma­jors, but he def­i­nitely added to Tiger’s im­mense ar­tillery. When I played with Tiger, Ste­vie was every bit as in­tim­i­dat­ing, if not more so. He was just big, mean-look­ing and all business. I think the aura that Tiger cre­ated owed a lot to Steve’s in­flu­ence. But then some­times it’s just the small, un­said stuff which makes th­ese guys ex­tra special. Lee West­wood would ad­mit that Billy Fos­ter is the master at melt­ing away any ten­sion. Some­times he’s the coun­sel­lor, some­times he’s the joker, and some­times he’s the guy to kick you up the back­side. Be­ing able to don the role of a cad­die, friend and psy­chol­o­gist is what sep­a­rates the good from the great. And I can prom­ise you that not all cad­dies are equal. That’s why I’m so in­trigued to see how Phil Mick­el­son fares with­out hav­ing Bones on his bag. They were like broth­ers and you only had to hear the con­ver­sa­tions they had over club choice to know just how re­liant Phil was on Bones’ in­put. They went so in depth and whether Bones wanted to or not, he knew Phil needed to dis­cuss every op­tion to get those cre­ative juices flow­ing. The dy­namic clearly worked, and yielded five Ma­jor cham­pi­onships. It’s go­ing to be strange now see­ing Bones walk the course as a com­men­ta­tor for Golf Chan­nel, es­pe­cially if Phil gets him­self in a po­si­tion to win an­other Ma­jor. But if he does man­age to add to his tally, you can bet Bones will be first on the scene with a mi­cro­phone in hand. And I’ll hap­pily stand in line to watch that.

‘Although duff­ing a chip might be a first-world prob­lem, at the time it feels like it’s life end­ing’

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.