There is something that needs to be said in regards to Tiger Woods mental toughness. Everyone tries to break down the swing into minute(pronounced MY-Nute) details and often times, amatuers focus too much time and energy on the long game, or the driver for that matter.
The driver is very important, but if you are knocking it 300 yards down the middle and you are getting 5’s on every hole, something else is wrong. Most of the time, its mental, while other times its simply to much attention is placed on one part of the game. That is where a healthy balance has to take place.
Here is a small fact about Tiger Woods in this years Masters that I am not sure you knew.
So Tiger won the 2005 Masters. Ok, nothing new, except he did it with his B game. It was obvious to anyone watching that he his some incredible shots, but at the same time, he hit some unlike – Tiger’esque shots. The drive 80 yards right on 17, the 8 iron blasted way right on 18. I realize Tiger is going through some Swing Changes and it will take a while for him to continue tweaking them, but it wasn’t his swing that won the 2005 Masters. It was his mental toughness.
See, most players go onto a course and will continue fiddling with their swing during the round because they aren’t hitting the shots they need, whereas professionals walk off the range with the swing they are using and work with it during the day. If the shot is a fade on the range, then that is what they will play all day. Tiger had to deal with swing inconsistincies all week. It was his mental toughness, though, that brought him to win the tournament. Whether it was fighting through the rain delays, hitting pins which ultimately threw the ball into a bunker, putting off the green for eagle into a creek, or blowing a 2 shot lead with 2 holes left, his mental toughness kept him in the game.
The chip in on 16, though part luck, was a sign that he was not giving up. Sure, he had the lead, but he knew he screwed his tee shot up and he knew that he needed to get it close for par. He just simply made it. He kept fighting as he knew what he had to do.
His short game was incredible as well as his putting. His mental toughness along with a short game were what won this years Masters. So, when you focus on just your long game, you ultimately sacrifice a chance to lower your scores via your short game, because when its all said and done, a 300 yard drive is worth as much as a 5 foot putt.
Typically, those that do not have a good short game also don’t have a solid mental focus. Those that have a strong mental side to golf are able to perform around the greens in touchy situations (ala Tiger) and get the ball in the hole. Anybody can hit a long drive, but fewer possess the knowledge, skill, and touch to become a master around the greens and to block out the negative thoughts and situations.
I am not poster child for this. I am good around the greens and I always keep myself mentally focuses, but I typically let some cuss words fly out or I get disgusted at myself when I don’t hit a shot how I want. Most people do, but watch the reactions with MOST tour players. Most tour players don’t act like spoiled children when on the course playing. If they miss a shot, they typically frown, then walk up and play their next shot. With amateurs, they throw clubs, slam them, cuss 4 letter words, break clubs, and make an ass out of themselves. I have seen it time and time again. I have been that person as well. Its only, when you see someone else, that you realize how stupid YOU look when you do it.
I realize this article has been choppy and I apologize for that.
I headlined this article with Driver for Show, Putt for Dough
Its more true then you will ever realize. Work on your long game, but spend MORE time on your short game. Also focus on letting negative situations go. You can’t do anything about a previous shot, its over! Move on and make your next shot better.
If you can learn to control your emotions, stay calm, and work on a healthy balance on all aspects of your game, you will be amazed at how much better of a player you will become and how much more of a threat you will be in tournaments