Mind Over Sports

Posts Tagged ‘British Open

Even though golf great Phil Mickelson lost his bid to become the first male golfer in 437 major championships to shoot that mythical score of 62 when his 16-foot birdie putt didn’t fall on the 18th hole at Royal Troon in the British Open, he still shot a fantastic 63!
One has to wonder what might be going on in Mickelson’s personal life that helped his mental game. When athletes are happy and their lives are in harmony they perform close to their skill levels on a consistent basis. When they’re not happy and their lives are not in harmony, they don’t. So Mickelson must have been mighty happy when he shot that sixty-three. Perhaps he received some good news about his legal problems.


In November, 1997, Tom Watson quit drinking and his wife, Linda, divorced him. Not long after, in 1998, Professional Golfer Denis Watson (of Zimbabwe) went through a divorce when his wife, Hilary, left him and their three infant children (Kyle, Paige and Ross) and shortly thereafter, in 1999, married Tom. She must have been madly in love with Tom to have abandoned her three small children and one would think that, right after Tom and Hilary were married, his golf game would have improved immensely. But it didn’t. It’s difficult to build any kind of relationship on other people’s unhappiness. Hilary’s feelings of guilt had to have a negative effect on Tom and his golf game.

Fast forward to 2009 when Hilary’s children are older and have joined Tom and her on their farm in Stilwell, Kansas, and Hilary was once again happy. Which, of course, positively affected Tom’s game. That same year, nearing his 60th birthday, Tom led the British Open much of the way before losing in a play-off. I don’t think it was a coincidence that when Hilary had her children back with her, Tom’s game improved.

I’m sure the golf pundits will be having a field day with this question, but I’m equally certain it’s because of one of two reasons. Or both.

First, as far as I know, Tiger has not brought about closure to his confrontation with Sergio Garcia. As I’ve often stated, when you are angry you give away your power. Tiger needs to arrange a public meeting with Sergio, have him apologize, and then Tiger can gracefully accept his apology and forgive him. And move on.

The second reason, and could very well have happened the night before his final round, he may have received a nasty phone call from his ex-wife threatening that he will not be able to see his children during normal visiting hours as authorized by the court. As any man (or woman) will tell you, when you get a divorce and there are children involved, the divorce doesn’t end your relationship with your ex, it only transforms it. And my understanding is that Tiger’s ex-wife is not very fond of his significant other, Lindsey Vonn.

So there you have it, and when you combine the above with the fact that Phil Mickelson is enjoying a happy family life (which I assume is true) then good things happen. What takes place away from the golf course affects what takes place on the golf course. Maybe Amy, Phil’s wife, told him the night before the final round that she was pregnant with their fourth child and 43-year old Phil was going to be a papa again? Of course, his being forty-three that could have had the opposite effect ☺

I know it must sound crazy to be predicting that Tiger will win the upcoming British Open, but the reason I’m making this prediction is because of a news article that appeared in today’s USA Today. It said: “Tiger Woods left West Palm Beach, Fla., on Saturday for the British Open, landing with his trusted confidants – caddie Joe LaCava, agent Mark Steinberg, public relations manager Glenn Greenspan and girlfriend Lindsey Vonn.” He’ll be surrounded by people who care about him and love him, especially Ms. Vonn. Having Lindsey around enhances his feelings of self-worth and subsequently enhances his performance in his sport. He seems to be happy and his life is in harmony. And on top of that, “His Elbow Feels Fine.” Who knows, He may even shoot 18 birdies in 18 holes, something I believe is only a mental barrier, similar to the 4-minute mile. Ben Hogan thought so, too. Now if only his ex-wife will leave him be. ☺

This is another good example of Psycho Self-Imagery…how, when athletes’ lives are in harmony, their performance in their sport is enhanced. 27-year old Louis Oosthuizen has a new marriage (2007 to Nel-Mare) and more importantly a new baby daughter (2009, Jana.)

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