Archive for December, 2011

December 19, 2011

Playing to MY Par

As the snow rolls into Chicago and my season officially wraps up, I have been looking back on how I approached this past season and the goals I set for myself.  One of my co-workers is getting her Master’s degree in sports psychology and has agreed to take me on as a bit of a project.  I have sat down with her a few times already and discussed how I approach practice, playing, setting my goals and how I deal with stress and my bad shots on the course.  It has been interesting to say the least and I am very excited to continue working with her on my mental game throughout the winter and into next season.

The very first thing we discussed was how I measure my game on the course.  She gave me a book that her advisor wrote called “Smart Golf” by Dede Owens and Dan Kirschenbaum and one of the very first concepts they discuss is playing to your own personal par.  I have been very caught up in the idea of breaking 80 and getting myself to a single digit handicap.  Every time I go out and play and I don’t break 80 I consider it a failure.  Since I have yet to break 80 you can imagine how many times I have walked off the course feeling like I didn’t accomplish anything even if I played decent.

When I go back to San Diego this week I am going to try this new technique.  I am going to approach each round with the mindset of simply trying to break my own personal par.  For me that means I get a stroke on the 14 toughest holes on the course.  If I go out each round and try to shoot below my handicap, eventually I will start to drop my handicap and break 80.  I really need a new metric of success on the course because the fact that I still have not broken 80 is getting very frustrating.  I am hoping this new approach will let me enjoy the game a bit more and allow me to start seeing small victories as progress on the road to my larger goals.

 

December 5, 2011

Westwood, McIlroy AND Woods!?!?

I will go ahead and say that this weekend got me FIRED up for next year on the PGA tour.  Why?  Because Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods all won and will all be headlining the  PGA tour next season.  I know they will throw in Luke Donald, Bubba Watson, Rickie Fowler, Bill Haas, Matt Kuchar, Webb Simpson and a few others as a marketing ploy, but I am calling it right now that these three will be the story of next year.

I am not the biggest Tiger fan in the world and I will be the first to admit that I never believe any of the rumors that he is back.  I truly believe that Tiger will never dominate the PGA Tour like he did earlier in his career.  That doesn’t mean I dont’ think he will win and win majors.  I think he will win next year and I am not sure if a major is realistic or not.  With that being said, you can’t deny the electricity he creates.  I know that he won the Chevron this weekend and not the Masters, but it felt like I was watching a major for the last two holes.  He has the IT factor and there is no denying it.

The reason I say he won’t dominate is because too many young guys have grown up on the tour in his absence.  They never experienced the aura of the dominant Tiger and they won’t be quick to back down when he is in contention.  Rory showed us all that he has mental toughness after absolutely embarrassing himself on the back nine at the Masters only to freakishly win the U.S. Open.  Westwood has been through a rebuilding of his game and has a huge chip on his shoulder of never winning a major.  He will get one eventually.  These are the guys who are going to challenge Tiger now that he is “back” even though I still don’t think he will ever be the Tiger of old.

I really think this next year on the PGA tour is going to produce some memorable golf.  Just like this year brought a bunch of first time winners to the winner’s circle, next year is going to generate some genuine rivalries and match ups that hopefully last all of us viewers a large chunk of time.  I, for one, can’t wait for it to get here and start all over again.