Golf Psychology Lessons from the Open Championship at Turnberry – Part 3


In parts one and two, I talked about the golf psychology lessons from the performance of veteran Tom Watson and young Ross Fisher at this year’s Open Championship at Turnberry. As a 59 year old myself, I was overwhelmed by Tom’s amazing performance and mental strength around one of the toughest links courses. It almost seems unnecessary to mention his age and recent hip replacement operation. As a golf psychologist helping clients to play the best golf they possibly can, whatever happens, I couldn’t fail to be impressed with Ross’s calm ability to shrug off the disappointment of that quadruple bogey and play on like the consummate professional he has become.

So what’s left to comment on and learn from this year’s Open Championship at Turnberry? Well, I started to talk about Tiger Woods in part 2, but put that on hold so that I wouldn’t detract from the praise I wanted to lavish on Ross Fisher. I also feel that there’s a lot to learn from Lee Westwood’s sad failure over the last few holes, as he was playing as well as we all know he can and probably better than the other leading contenders.

I was so impressed with the way Lee accepted the "rub of the green" of that unlucky roll into the fairway bunker on the 72nd hole. The way he focussed on the shot that he was left with was just amazing and the bunker shot onto the green left me stunned and speechless – not a normal state for me. With Dr Karl Morris as his golf psychologist, I have to believe that Lee knows all the golf mind techniques he needs to unleash his true talent and close out major championships. I just feel that he needs to be using those techniques unconsciously and for me the best way to achieve that is with golf hypnosis. Oh I’d just love to have the opportunity to work with him on that.

Now Tiger has had the benefit of working with a really good golf psychologist in Jay Brunza for the last 20 years and at his best Tiger is clearly the leading exponent of mental golf in the history of the game. If that’s not enough, he also makes good use of self hypnosis, especially when he’s winning tournaments.

So why, oh why does Tiger get so angry on the golf course? Watching him on Thursday and Friday, well he wasn’t there for the weekend, it seemed like every time the camera focussed on him, he has making angry gestures, banging his club on the ground or even hurling his club away. At the same time, he was demonstrating the ability to calmly stop in mid swing if someone moved or a camera clicked, so he hadn’t totally lost it.

I’ve heard people dismiss his anger by suggesting that these displays of petulance are just his way of releasing bad luck and the very occasional bad shots he may hit. However, it doesn’t seem to help him and it’s only when he really focuses on his game that he calms down and capitalises on all that golf mind training. It seems like whenever he loses his cool like this, he eventually realises that he has to knuckle down to make the cut or to win the tournament. He only just failed to make the cut on Friday with one of these focused charges.

So Tiger, please remember your golf psychology training and act more like a true professional on the golf course. We know you are the best golfer in the world when you’re using your golf hypnosis. In addition, your playing partners and the paying public will get even more enjoyment from watching you play and win.

Now I haven’t forgotten that it was Stewart Cink who took the Claret Jug home with him, it’s just that I haven’t forgiven him for depriving Tom Watson and oldies like me of a famous and rejuvenating victory.

Leave a Reply