The two-year US election campaign and the summer golf seasons have come to an end. Before your attention moves on to other activities, now is the time to review the goals you accomplished, and the successes you had over the last six months.
One of the Positive Mental Imagery mental tools is to write down every time you learn something about yourself and your golf game on the golf course. If you haven’t been doing that in 2008, now is the time to review the successes you had. It could be as small as a chip-in or sinking a very long putt, or as large as a hole-in-one or winning a tournament. Here are some successes and learnings from professional and amateur world class-golfers in 2008.
Anthony Kim, PGA TOUR
In 2007, Anthony Kim played some tour rounds hung-over on almost no sleep. In 2008 he gave up drinking alcohol during tournaments. Early in the year he set some goals such as making the Ryder Cup and winning. His main goal was to be prepared at every tournament. “I’m very proud of a lot of situations this year; how I’ve conducted myself as a professional.”
The 23-year–old member of the Ryder Cup, Sept. 16-21, 2008 made 6 birdies and blitzed Sergio Garcia 5 and 4 in their individual match on Sunday, leading the team to victory. Kim was so focused and in the moment that he didn’t realize that he had won the match on the 14th hole and had started to walk to the 15th tee.
Cristie Kerr, LPGA TOUR
At the Safeway Classic, Portland, Oregon August 24, 2008 Cristie Kerr shot 7-under 65 to make a playoff with the two Swedes Helen Alfredsson (69) and Sophie Gustafson (68). Kerr drilled a 20-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole to win her first title of the year and 11th title overall.
“I mean, it was a pretty amazing putt to make in a playoff,” said Kerr, who started the day four strokes back. “But, you know, putting is my favorite part of the game, and I feel like I have a pretty good imagination. . . . I was kind of relishing the fact that I had a putt to win.”
Hunter Mahan, PGA Tour
In the 1std round of sectional qualifying for the US Open, Hunter Mahan shot 73 and was just waiting for bad things to happen. He changed the way he was acting and thinking and shot 63 in the 2nd round.
“I’ve been playing pretty good ever since,” said Mahan. “I was so concerned with how I looked and how I swing, I forgot how to play and get the ball in the hole. I was able to let myself go out there and play and not criticize myself on the course as much.” Hunter Mahan ranks 27th in scoring average on the TOUR.
Lorena Ochoa, LPGA TOUR
Ochoa posted a playoff victory Sept 28, 2008 at the Navistar LPGA Classic, Prattville, Ala. to end a four-month victory drought. She was winless in her past seven starts after opening the year with 6 victories in 9 events, including 4 in a row.
“I had a good feeling that today it was my day and it was going to happen,” Ochoa said. “I didn’t try too hard. Sometimes you need to play and have a good time, and that’s what I did.”
Troy Merritt, Boise State University Collegiate Player
Troy Merritt, 22, No. 15 in the 2007-2008 Golfweek/Sagarin College rankings, led the NCAA Division I with a scoring average of 69.53
His coach at Boise State, Kevin Burton helped to improve his mental game in two key ways: Understanding how to focus more efficiently, and emphasizing visualization– knowing what you want to do and seeing it in advance.
“I used to grind for five hours straight, and I’d walk off the course drained and with a huge headache.” Merritt said. “Coach has got me to where I grind 30 seconds to a minute over the shot. After that, don’t think about it. Now I’ve got music in my head or: I’m thinking about the clouds overhead while I walk down the fairway – anything but golf.” “I try to keep the mechanics to a bare minimum,” said Merritt. ”It’s all imagination and having fun.”
“I don’t worry about what I did wrong after I hit a bad one. I don’t play that game. I know I’ll hit a better shot next time” said Merritt.
Joan Higgins, Women’s Mid-Amateur Champion
Joan Higgins of Glendora, California, 52 became the oldest winner of the Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship at Barton Hills CC in Ann Arbor, Michigan on September 11, 2008. The championship is open to amateur women 25 years of age.
In the final match, Higgins made 13 pars and five bogeys. “I was trying to make birdies, but I wasn’t going to be too aggressive and put myself in trouble,” said Higgins. “I knew that I’d be in good shape if I kept making pars.”
On 18, Higgins lagged a birdie putt to a foot and watched as her opponent Lynn Simmons missed a 20-footer that would have forced extra holes.
“I told myself that she was going to make it, because you have to think that way,” said Higgins. “Then the putt didn’t go in, and suddenly I was the champion.”
Padraig, Harrington, PGA TOUR
Padraig Harrington won the British Open Championship and the PGA Championship in 2008 and tied for 3rd in scoring average on the TOUR.
“I remember I spent about two-and-a-half years as the highest ranked European player in the World Rankings and I never felt comfortable with my position,” Harrington said. “And when I was 14th I never believed I belonged. It took me one-and-a-half years to get to eighth and by the time I got there, I believed I was good enough to be 14th, but not eighth. And it was the same when I got to sixth.”
“I always thought that doing more was the way to success for me,” said Harrington. “There were many events where I would be in contention but I would still be on the range on Saturday thinking about working to improve my game. I always got better, but always played worse. There is another fine line between getting your head in the right place and hitting the ball well. You don’t see Tiger practicing during the week of a major. It takes discipline to do that. When you reach a certain level you have to be big-enough and brave enough to say, I’m ready,” said Harrington.
Vijay Singh, PGA TOUR
At the Barclays PGA Tour event at the Ridgewood CC, Paramus, NJ the last week in August 2008, shooting for FedEx Cup points, Vijay Singh won following up his win at July’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational proving that his often inconsistent putting was now under control. He led the field in average distance of putts made (4’4”) and didn’t have a three-putt.
Vijay is well-known for his hours of practice and this time he practiced his mental game. “I convinced myself that I’m the best putter,” said Singh. “At the end of the day, it kind of gets to your head that you’re not a good putter. So I made a point after last week that I’m going to change that attitude, and I believed in myself that I’m the best putter. I came out here with a different attitude, and I putted great this week” he said.
Fred Funk, PGA TOUR & CHAMPIONS TOUR
Playing in the Champions Tour Senior Players Championship at the Baltimore Country Club, Fred Funk shot 72 in his third round, October 11, 2008. That night changed his mental game/attitude and decided that he would just go out and have fun playing on Sunday in the last round. Saturday night he wrote down some mental reminders which he took out to the course with him to reinforce his desire to have fun. He did just that shooting a 6 under par 66 and closed to one stroke behind the winner, D.A. Weibring who had his own pieces of paper in his pocket.
D.A. Weibring, PGA TOUR & CHAMPIONS TOUR
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