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… 😀👍🏻