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Newsletter August 2010


           Wow! What a month July was for golfers. Amateur and professional golfers of all ages took a giant leap forward in believing in themselves and showing us what new levels of golf can be reached. Here in their own words are mental tools that they used to win national and world championships.



            First there was unheralded and little-known Louis Oosthuizen, the fourth South African to win golf’s oldest championship on July 18th at St. Andrews, Scotland, the Home of Golf. It was especially memorable as he did it on former President Nelson Mandela’s 92nd birthday. The 27-year-old won the Championship by seven shots over Lee Westwood shooting scores of 10 under par, 65-67-69-71, 272.

            Oosthuizen attributed his win to his mental game. He said, “It was really a matter of getting my confidence up. It was a matter of me believing it. My win at Malaga just got my mind around things. I was very frustrated the last four years because I knew I could win…and it just never happened.”

            Ernie Els, who did not make it to the weekend, called Louis before the third round and advised him to have fun. Gary Player called him before the Sunday round and advised him to stay calm and enjoy the ride.

            The blustery second round at The Open reminded me of the first time I had experienced a “wind delay” which delayed play for four hours. I was playing in the 2000 USGA Senior Women’s Championship at Sea Island, GA. There was a tropical storm off the coast blowing winds so hard the balls would not stay on the putting greens.

            If a ball at rest is moved by the wind which is an outside agency, there is no penalty and the ball must be replaced. A ball moving after you have addressed is a penalty, so we made sure we didn’t ground our putters in our preshot routine.

            Day two of The Open had a one-hour delay as heavy rains and 40 mph winds blew the balls off the greens. Tom Watson described the conditions on the Old Course as; “She put on her boxing gloves today and just hit us with all she had.”

            Oosthuizen learned to enjoy playing in high winds which he exemplified when he shot 57 last year at the Mossel Bay Golf Club, a breezy links course boarding the Indian Ocean coastline in South Africa.

            To keep his mind from wandering to other things at St. Andrews, Oosthuizen put a red dot on his glove as a trigger to remind himself to focus. Before addressing the ball he looked down at the red dot. Known as a temperamental player until three or four years ago, Oosthuizen maintained his even demeanor throughout the championship, and said after his victory, “It (the red dot trigger) worked great all week.”



            The USGA Amateur Public Links Championship, held at Bryan Park, Greensboro, NC also encountered a wind and rain delay on July 17th; this time for seven hours. Lion Kim, a senior on the golf team at the University of Michigan, won with a 6 and 5 victory over David McDaniel of Tuscon after resuming play at 4:51p.m and finishing at 9:00p.m. His last tournament victory was the 2004 AJGA Avila Junior Classic.

            Kim always believed that he was good at match play, but hadn’t been able to forge out a win. He stated his belief as, “I felt like, before this week, I’ve always been a little unlucky in that, when I do play well, it seemed like my competitor would play better.”

            Going into the APL, he changed his attitude. He said, “So coming into this tournament, I took a different mindset. I told myself: If your competitor plays good, then you need to play great. If your competitor plays great golf, then you need to play phenomenal golf. That was my mentality when I made it to match play.” 



            Bernhard Langer became the first German to win any U.S. Golf Association championship and the first Champions Tour player to win back-to-back majors since Tom Watson took the Senior British Open and Tradition in 2003. Langer scored his first senior major by winning the Senior British Open at Carnoustie, Scotland with a one-stroke victory over Corey Pavin. After winning, he said, “You still get nervous, and especially a championship that means something to you. Corey played very well all day. I knew he wouldn’t go away.”

            The weather also caused a delay at the USGA Senior Open Championship at the Sahalie Golf Course, Oregon. The second round was brought to a halt at 8:00a.m. when the fog moved in, making it almost impossible to see the end of the driving range. Play was delayed for more than two hours. The final groups finished just after 9 p.m.

            Fighting off jet-lag after winning the Senior British Open title the previous week and the loud gallery cheering for local hometown pro Freddie Couples, Langer was evenly composed and shot a 2-under 68 on Sunday to pull off the different 8-time zone trans-Atlantic double win by 3 shots.

            "There was definitely them against me and for Freddie, you could feel that and that's not the case in a normal golf tournament," Langer said. "Normally the people when you hit a bad shot they keep quiet and when you hit it good they applaud for everyone. ... If I play my hometown they want me to win, it's quite normal and I knew I was going to be up against that but when you pull through that and you win in difficult circumstances it just means that much more."

            Langer summed up his championship saying, "I hit it straight and made some putts.” He summed up his positive strategy as, “It's always the same, isn't it? Just different venues, different conditions, but it's always the same idea, hit it where you're looking and try and play smart."


            On the distaff side, 15-year-old Alexis Thompson shot scores of 69-72-67-67 at Evian-Les-Baines, France to finish 13 under par. She tied for second place at the Evian Masters, one stroke behind the winner Jiyai Shin.

            Jim Liu became the youngest winner of the U.S. Junior amateur July 24th at Egypt Valley Country Club, Ada, Michigan.  Liu, who turns 15 next month, is more than six months younger than Tiger Woods when he won the first of his three consecutive U.S. Junior Amateur titles in 1991. Liu made nine birdies in the first 18 holes of the 36-hole final and defeated 17-year-old Justin Thomas 4 and 2. 



            And as a grand finale to the month, Stuart Appleby won the Greenbrier Classic last Sunday on the Greenbrier Old White course by scoring a spectacular 28-31, 59 joining only four others on the PGA Tour who have accomplished that feat.

            Stuart described his round this way, "I felt relaxed today. I walked a bit slower than I normally do. I'm a pacey sort of person. Not in playing, the golf sense, but from an energy point of view. Today, I felt much more - I slowed myself down a lot, and I think that kept me a little bit more in the rhythm of how I was thinking and actually how I was playing the game."

            Appleby started his final round seven strokes behind the leader, Jeff Overton. He shot 6-under 28 on the front nine, eagled the par-5 12th hole, and had a strong finish with birdies on the last three holes to break Sam Snead’s course record of 60. Appleby had only one bogey in his four rounds of 66-68-65-59, 258, 22-under par, 11 of those under par scores fashioned in the last round.

            "I knew what it was all about," Appleby said of his breaking birdie putt on 18. "I knew I had to make it - I knew I had to make it for the tournament, I knew I had to make it to have a 59. I'm sitting there going 'how many opportunities are you going to get to do this?’ The cards had been laying out perfectly for me all day. Why wasn't I going to do one more? I just got a good look at it and just - bang - it felt good."

            "When you start pushing, you start getting more tense," Appleby continued. "You don't tend to be aware of those levels, as well, when you're tense. You're just going in a circle and chasing your tail and you think you're doing the right things. I just had to focus.”


Universal Truth: You create your own reality and are personally responsible for your own success. Everything in your life right now is something you created. When you believe good things are coming, they come quicker.


            Keep honing your mental game until YOUR miracle happens.


Entrain Your Heart & Brain for Peak Performances!


© Copyright PMI 2010. All Rights Reserved.


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