Jimmy Walked, I Fell 

Like a sack of fucking spuds.

It’s not often I wouldn’t mind being in someone else’s brain, but for a while yesterday I would have taken it. Golf can be a cruel game and my mind was dark for a period, both on the course and after I had finished. 

Maybe for the first time, a chat really helped. It was a chat with my new coach. Full of American optimism, his thoughts were what I needed. He pulled me away from my negative slant and identified that I had in fact led in both my previous two tournaments for a period. I don’t think I have done this in over a year. He, and my caddie also, are correct, the signs are good. 

But I have a problem. It’s not mental and it’s not physical. It’s technical. For me, people overstate the mental aspect of golf. That’s not to say a clear head isn’t important, it’s just a competent, repeatable technique is more important. I’ve never had a problem winning and I never will. I won when I was a junior, an amateur, and when I really needed to on the Challenge Tour. With all respect to the tournament I’ve just played, the thought of winning it didn’t make me tremble at the knees or make my bladder leak… 

In the past I had the ability to at least find the fairway regularly. That has been lost somewhere over the last few years. I can take the blame for some of that, and naturally, my past coaches should also. No question I’ve made big improvements, but also developed a swing reliant far too much on timing. And although I’m blessed with “good hands”, they don’t perform efficiently for 72 holes, 25 weeks a year. Not even close. 

That’s why, yesterday, before going out I had an underlying sense of unease because I knew that somewhere in my game, there’s a shot that is nuclear. It happens on Thursday’s, Friday’s and Saturday’s as well. For a year, my technique has regressed. Everything shows that, from my stats to my scores. 

When Henrik Stenson won The Open two weeks ago, he was a different animal on that Sunday. I’m a massive Henrik fan, who isn’t, and in the past he’s had opportunities to win majors and for whatever reason didn’t. What interested me about The Open just gone was that, in his speech he mentioned a friend who had just died and subsequently Henrik dedicated the victory to him. Maybe this was what made the difference. Maybe Henrik had that “fuck it” moment. Good stuff happens during that time. But unfortunately it sometimes takes really bad things to happen for one to reach that point. This is maybe, and I say maybe as I don’t know for sure obviously, what helped Henrik play so well all weekend. 

Above clearly identifies a different mental approach a person (may have in Henrik’s case) has taken to reach a different outcome. But for me to win, I don’t need that “fuck it” moment. Because honestly, I don’t really care about winning on the European Tour at the moment, or any tour for that matter. I wish I did in some ways, but for whatever reason, I don’t. So for me to win, I need to build a game that is so good that winning happens because I’m simply just better than the rest that week. And that’s what drives me. My biggest obstacle eventually, won’t be the pressure of winning, it’ll be perpetuating my motivation to always improve. 

Anyway, holiday time for me now in Thailand. Milkshakes by day, wine by night… 😀👍🏻 
 

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24 Responses to Jimmy Walked, I Fell 

  1. Eugene says:

    perhaps you should concentrate on finding your trigger point in golfing ability rather than in writing

  2. Eddie says:

    Don’t tell me I’ve lost my touch on here as well Eugene?

  3. Ian Butcher says:

    Very interesting article, as always. There is a lot lying behind the words. Golf technique cannot be simply a theory or a method, there must be some truth or some correctness. Not a secret either. I believe it involves understanding. If something is correct then it can work by itself.

  4. Tim says:

    Golf is a game of fine lines and your game is not far off… Current form ( minus the others in your scores) does show a win is just around the corner.. Good luck

  5. Donal McCarthy says:

    As always a thought provoking piece. You have all the key ingredients of a great game and a wonderful sporting attitude. Saw and loved your ‘fearless’ approach at Royal County Down in 2015 Irish Open and know the final ‘piece’ is not far away. Keep going……

  6. Maybe the trick is to learn to stumble then regain your balance, rather than fall on your arse. When you dump a drive in the pond, don’t see it as a problem but as a challenge and an opportunity.

    My first novel wasn’t published till I was 48 years old. My 42nd was published this year, just before I turned 71,

    I stumbled many times along the way but I persevered until I crossed the line. I got there not because of great technical ability, although I have some, or because of self belief, although I have plenty, but because of desire, because I really, fucking really, wanted to do it. I had to have that W.

    If you don’t have that in you you need to put it there. Although you need to respect the technicalities, you need to focus much more on finishing the story.

  7. Michael Caddock says:

    Love reading a professionals real thoughts and feelings instead of a manacured post round interview , keep up the the hard work and the writing Eddie , enjoy your break , not too many milkshakes or you will come back from Tailand looking like Aphibarnrat 👍👍

  8. les bayliss says:

    Wise words. You are a honest professional. Just keep on enjoying both your game and more importantly life itself.😊⛳

  9. Andy Dutton says:

    Agree with Quintin’s comments above. If you can find a way of being arsed about winning, you’ll probably win, or at least Thai.

  10. Steve Knight says:

    Dude.. really like your insights into life and the game! Always watch the Leader Board hoping you creep up there and make more TV Time, Am Also Hoping your going to be the next English force to be reckoned with but you sound Very Average in your Words (of life and our Precious Game) A lul it maybe, An Average time, Just going through the Motions, Things getting Monotonous? So your making an OK living but to us Mere Mortals, the 9 to 5ers, The Bogey Golfers who admire the Hell out of you! Your living the Dream pal, Most of your readers may never get the Chance to visit the places you do? Yes i Kinda Agree its not about the Winning, kIndof!!! But is it?? Youve won before! you Know the Feeling (most of us have at some point in our lives) So if Nailing a few Trophies along the Way of life must help yeh?
    If i do have a point to make i Think it would be to Start Enjoying What your doing more and everything will just fall into place around you, the less you worry about it the more it will start to feel natural, The worry of the consistency will fall away once you look back to see youve made the cuts, youve hit the fairways, Got another Trophy for the Cabinet!! So shove a couple of Vodkas in ya Milkshake, add a couple of Shots with the Wine and do anything else that Thailand has to offer. 😉
    We wanna hear about how good Thailand was and how fresh you felt after it. Tomorrows another day, be glad we woke upto it!

  11. Eddie, another honest article that captured how you feel. Those of us who follow you avidly, know to some small degree how you felt – because we felt it too. We are wanting you to do so well and when you stumble or fall, so do we with you BUT it is so much harder for you. Do whatever you have to do with your new coach and whoever else it is you trust. To correct whatever it is you need to correct but to enjoy the talent you have been given. If you lose because someone played better than you, so be it. I can imagine the frustration when you lose because you fell, not because they were better. In the clubhouse we didn’t talk about your 16th hole but your 6th when your drive on the par 5 carried 324 yards, which left you 106 yards to the pin – resulting in an eagle! Oh to replicate whatever you did on that hole along with the feeling/pleasure that must have given you. You are a winner, whether you win a tournament or not – if you get my meaning. Thank you for all the pleasure you give to us who follow you and from the 50 new juniors who are in now in the golf club because of you. Enjoy your holiday with J and as someone said don’t come back like Lardy!

  12. Greg Rowe says:

    Dear Eddie I’ve watched you progress over the recent years, and have cheered you on all the time. I’m sorry for the form you’re experiencing, and I really hope that the swing clicks into place soon. I’m a believer in focusing on the positive, and by being at the top of the leaderboard in your last two events is definitely a good thing. I watched the back nine yesterday and can’t imagine how tough that was to go through. As the wise old owl that you are, you know that we learn more in tough times than we do in the good times. I know that this will all be of use to you soon. Keep your chin up, and I look forward to seeing you in the winners circle soon. I know that is where you deserve to be. Best regards Greg Rowe Golf fan

    >

  13. Nick P says:

    Brutally honest as usual Eddie, I just you take strength and support from all your many fans, 99.99% unknown to you, I hope I meet you one day and can buy you a pint, because you inspire me Eddie , I’m only an eighteen handicapper but your performances and spirit normally in the face of adversity I find incredible in such a damn competitive sport. Never lose faith Eddie, ” you can you will “

  14. Nick P says:

    ” just hope “

  15. Pete Dier says:

    Eddie, although I’m no expert of course, I thought your swing looked as good as I’ve seen it, on Sunday, and it was so good to be able to see so much of your round. I feel sure you’ll win soon, but I just somehow feel it would be good if you really wanted to………..
    But whatever, you always know there’s a lot of people from Frilford and Drayton willing you on!!
    Good luck for the rest of the season.

  16. Steven Tomlin says:

    Love your work Eddie but this post doesn’t sound like someone who doesn’t care about winning to me. It reads more like a cry for help. Swearing and all. Oh dear, at least you didn’t use caps lock as you were throwing the toys out of the cot.

    Your comments here are all very confusing. You think the mental aspect of the game is overstated and then give a perfectly insightful example of the power of Henrik’s ” f it” mental moment freeing him to win his first desperately desired major. You speak of not caring about winning while clearly fretting over the reasons why you are not. Apparently the technical swing problems you want to believe you have been inflicted with were not previously bad enough to stop you winning previously because as you demonstrated you have no problem with winning. Sorry it seems all a bit contradictory to me.

    You are disappointed and that it is natural and maybe you wrote this blog post before the darkness had completely gone. I hope this is the case. From your writings and from the affectionate respect the TV commentators clearly have for you I have an image of an intelligent, insightful, young talented man who likes to see things for what they are. This post to me shows none of that.

    Should this post display your true feelings and views in spite of the evidence you yourself have presented then please, immediately enter the nearest bathroom, stare deeply into the mirror and give yourself an uppercut.

    While on your holiday please take some time to reconsider your reliable technique thoughts and your views on the mental aspect of the game being overstated. Then, with the clear head of an outsider looking in, read again and learn from your own insightful words how Henrik’s spectacularly achieved his breakthrough first major win.

    Surely there has never been a player who doesn’t carry the potential of a weak shot in his game. Sorting out your pre game underlying sense of unease may prove easier and more productive than the effort of trying to have a swing so perfect that you can wake up game day and truly believe you don’t have a destructive shot in you, ever.

    In the humble view of this totally unqualified to make a comment correspondent, there is nothing wrong with your swing and your career results prove it. In fact it might help to also review your post commenting on Jim Furyk wonderful achievements with his unorthodox swing.

    Use the holiday to get your head right so you can get out of your own way and give your obvious natural talents a chance to be the best they can be. You might even find this journey a happier one as well.

    All the best Eddie. You can do it mate.

    • As an ex professional sportsman for over 20 years and as an opening batsman I’ve experienced a similar frustration. I wanted to respond but I think Steven has said much of what I might have said.
      It’s easy to feel disenchanted because golf can beat you up. I think you would like to win but winning can’t be the major objective. I think playing as well as you can for four rounds will put you in a position where your past experience of winning might get you over the line.
      Playing sport at your best requires lots of things but confidence I sigh up the list. If you are saying you can’t hit fairways then you can’t be as confident as you need to be. Yes, previous coaches can accept some responsibility but I bet you missed fairways when you were winning previously?
      Without messing too much with major swing changes, look at you’re misses, identify a regular miss and work at erasing it.
      You’re probably doing it already. Golfers, individual sportsmen are always tinkering, having to put something right. Look at Els recently.

      Don’t try too hard, be confident in your talent and work hard.

      You will be there in the mix and that’s when your had work will get you to the finishing line.

  17. Gary Mall says:

    Dear Eddie, Am gutted to hear you talk like this, technical faults can be fixed and will be, but a winning mentality is essential, golf is not a game of perfection but of trying to be perfect even if we don’t always achieve this, we all have to deal with the swing we got on any given day and this is a lot worse for us weekend hackers but we keep going back week after week till we get it right. Ok you didn’t get over the line this week but you will.
    Don’t believe you can’t be arsed about winning you sound like you hate losing a lot more, we all have bad days, just keep learning from them. Love reading your blog mate, honest and insightful as always. Have a nice holiday then keep working hard, remember your living our dream, will be watching and supporting . All the best Eddie keep the faith.

  18. Dave Cook says:

    Eddie; “people overstate the mental aspect of golf”. Your article is then full of mental tics. Go back to basics. There is a limit to any sportsman’s abilities. Is golf the only sport where top players strip down and rebuild the technique that got them there in the first place? And that on the advice of gurus on cost plus contracts…….?
    It makes no logical sense. How many golfers (a) get better after changing their technique or their equipment in search of that extra something or (b) regress big time because they are not doing what got them there in the first place? We all know the answer to that one. The tours are full of guys who changed to try and get that extra 5% and ended up losing 20%. Then the confidence seeps away and off they jolly well go on the downwards spiral.
    Go back to doing what you did when you were having regular successes.
    I also wonder if you have doubts about being able to enjoy your success, the success that comes from playing golf for a living. Wouldn’t everyone love to be doing that? Well yes but so what? You’re there because you deserve to be there, you earned it, you have more ability than 99% of the population. Enjoy it! Because the reason you are able to live such a “privileged” life is because you give pleasure to thousands, millions of that 99%. We want you to do well. Thats why we watch you. You’re actually doing us a favour! Who doesn’t derive pleasure from watching top sportsmen?

    • Thanks for all the comments guys. Feel as though I need to clarify some more as I think some of you may have misinterpreted a little bit what I was getting at. Which is probably my fault having not explained myself enough maybe. When I say I don’t care about winning, what I mean is, it’s not the winning aspect of golf that drives me to improve. Winning is a byproduct, IMO, when your skills as a golfer reach a certain level.

      In talking about Henrik, I was just identifying how potentially a mindset switch can make the difference for somebody. And indeed that somebody can be anybody. But then I go on to say that even if I had that “fuck it” moment, I don’t believe it would make a huge difference right now. Because I have that pretty much on every shot. The tee shot on 16 last week, the tee shot on 17th St Andrews last year, and countless others, all at various points in different tournaments, they all show to me a technical fault that needs correcting. Last year at St Andrews on 17th tee in 3rd round I was so confident I was going to hit the fairway, and yetI hit it closer to the football pitches the other side of the hotel. That isn’t mental.

      And one last thing, don’t think that I’m feeling down or sorry for myself or looking for sympathy. I love trying to turn the shit into gold.

      But appreciate all the comments from you guys and the support.

      Thanks, Eddie.

  19. NLS says:

    Great read mate.

    I have competed in Long Drive and work with a few Golfers overseeing their fitness. I also help sports teams and individuals to improve their speed, power, and conditioning. Perhaps it is a movement thing? I find when my guys are moving well they are confident in their execution and everything falls into place. Message me if you have any ideas or just wanna chew someone’s ear.

    All the best man.

  20. Jake says:

    Eddie,

    You’re always so honest and easy to relate too. I have struggled for a while with my game, and had that ‘fuck it’ attitude recently. Turned that into 2 under par rounds and won. Sometimes lowering expectations and just going out to ‘hit it’ can be the way forward.

    But your abilities to play the game aren’t in question. From playing with you at lorretto as a child and following you around Woburn last year. You’re an absolute baller, maybe it’s time to take the pressure of yourself and just go and ‘hit it’ additionally if driving is the issue a lot can be said for stenson winning the open basically using only a 3 wood. Find a way that suits you bud. Have the belief in you mate. You’re definately good enough to win, take inspiration from Tyrell, top English finisher in lasts 2 majors that will be you next year.
    All the best going forward mate and enjoy your holiday. Would be good to hear your thoughts on this. Look forward to watching you for years to come.

  21. Samuel Snead says:

    This is hilirious. My advice to you young man is to accept that under pressure you buckled badly. Until you accept that it’s going to be hard for you to progress.

    Did you 3 putt on the 17th green with your driver….?!

  22. aimee says:

    Hang in there, Eddie.
    I admire your writing. Thank you for your blogs.
    I believe in you!

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