Rub of the Green and Anger Management at The Masters


I’ve already talked about how much I enjoyed last weekends 2009 Masters at Augusta. Now, as each day goes by, more detail is coming into my conscious mind. I hadn’t realised how much I had learned about golf psychology from watching just one event on television.

I don’t know if you saw much of Sergio Garcia during the weekend and saw just how unhappy he seemed to be with himself and the course. It was no surprise to hear his negative comments about the course after his final round. One quote really stuck in my mind, "I don’t think it’s fair," he said. "It’s too tricky. Even when it’s dry you still get mud balls in the middle of the fairway. It’s too much of a guessing game. They can do whatever they want. It’s not my problem. I just come here and play and then go home."

Now, he clearly wasn’t the only one exhibiting similar feelings through their body language and in one particular player through his obvious anger. I saw many players having apparently mishit shots resulting from “mud balls” and I saw many different reactions. I didn’t notice any anger from Kenny Perry when his “mud ball” on the second playoff hole veered off to the left – he was disappointed, but just got on with the job of playing the ball as it lies, without complaint. I suspect he would have said that it was the same for everyone. Maybe that attitude got him into the playoff, even if his mental game seemed to desert him over the last few holes.

I wonder what Justin Rose would have done if he had been in Sergio Garcia’s shoes. If you read my post Positive Reframing for Better Golf Performance like Justin Rose on 3rd April you’d know the answer.

Golfers who complain bitterly about the “Rub of the Green” rarely enjoy their golf that much or perform to their best and I know that before I got into golf psychology I used to suffer in that way. One possible exception is Tiger Woods with his clear annoyance and sometimes outright anger over things like “unfair” gusts of wind affecting his shots. He still scores amazingly well despite the anger. Perhaps he would score even better if he could manage it as well as he handles the rest of his mental game.

On a final happy note, I was delighted to read of Sergio’s later apologies in the press, as I think he has the potential to be the real successor to his mentor, the great Seve Ballesteros.

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