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Posts Tagged ‘Hunter Mahan’

We’ve all felt it. A tightening of the muscles around the neck. A lump in the throat. A rising of blood to the forehead. A quickening heartbeat. Sweaty palms. In golf, it’s particularly troublesome, we are told. It’s a game that requires precision timing and coordination. It requires being in the moment, dealing only with the matter at hand, namely wielding an unwieldy metal club, attempting to hit a small white dimpled ball to a target over 300 yards away. Any tightening, sweating, beating, or blood rising beyond the norm will truncate that process and dynamite any chance for success. We feel it elsewhere too, like at work when the our supervisor comes by and asks to have a “word with you,” or when a cop pulls us over, or when our spouse “needs to talk.” Pressure greets us almost daily with its bared teeth and a scowl. An overdue phone bill. Noisy neighbors that need quieting. Humans have always known it. We have much experience dealing with it, yet it’s as difficult to handle now as it was in the caves of France thousands of years ago.

In golf, no tournament is as pressure packed as a match play event, like the one being played this week in the Arizona desert. Every hole is as pressure packed as the last, and the last may well be your last before your flight home. How do these guys handle it? How do they maintain their level of concentration? How do they keep their swings from crumbling (more…)

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First, let’s be clear about something: Rickie Fowler is doing absolutely great, so far, in his initial season as a touring pro. Regardless of some of the pinheaded pundits, his lay up on the par 5, 15th hole in Phoenix was a sign of maturity and level headedness. I like that he made a decision that few expected. He plays his own game. And he does play to win. His strategy was just different, though quite reasonable under the circumstances. There is no more demanding game than tournament golf. Even we amateurs face many tough decisions during a round of golf. What we decide for any given shot is dependent on many inner and outer considerations. I’ve gone over some of these in previous posts, and you’ve all experienced these many factors. Hunter Mahan didn’t make better decisions than Rickie: He sank more putts down the home stretch.

Fowler has the mental makeup to be a winner, and he will be. It took Ben Hogan two years to win his first pro tournament, and no one had a better golf mind than the Hawk. Fowler makes decisions quickly and he performs effectively. He’s been compared to Lanny Wadkins, but I would more compare him with Arnold Palmer. And here’s why. (more…)

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