Mind Over Sports

Posts Tagged ‘PGA Tour

Have you ever noticed how, when there’s something in life you want to happen and push and push to make it happen it seldom happens. Then, when you back off and “let go” and begin to move on with your life, presto! It happens!

You see this quite often among hunters of whitetail deer. They positon themselves in treestands and are constantly looking around for a deer to come close to them. Finally, they decide to sit back and enjoy the moment not caring whether they see a deer or not, and just like that, a huge buck appears within sight.

The detachment principle also works in male-female relationships. A young man is interested in dating a particular girl and keeps trying to line up a date with her but she continually refuses. Finally, he says “the heck with it” and shortly thereafter the phone rings and it’s her, wanting to meet him for a date.

The power of detachment generally works after you go afer something with great intensity and then finally acknowledge it’s not going to happen and “let go.” This is also sometimes referred to as the Theory of Pardoxical Intentions.

But what about Rory McIlroy? According to the Associated Press: “Three holes into the Deutsche Bank Championship, Rory McIlroy had to make a 15-foot putt just to escape with triple bogey. He already was 4-over-par and had every reason to believe this tournament was headed for an outcome that was becoming too familiar for a player of his class.” But then, something surreal happened. McIlroy went from a miserable start to a memorble finish, closing with a 6-under 65 on Monday to make up a six-shot deficit and win the Deutsch Bank Championship. Is it possible he unknowingly practiced the concept of “detachment” and had accepted the fact he was not going to win and decided to “let go.” And when he made that decision, his game vastly improved.

So remember, when you go after something in your life, with great effort, and it doesn’t happen, you may need to back off and become detached by “letting go.” Take Rory McIlroy’s word for it. It works.

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.

My name is Lieutenant Columbo of the LAPD Homicide Department and I’ve been assigned the Tiger Woods case. It’s pretty obvious somebody murdered his golf game and my job is to find out who.

One of the first things I noticed (I’m always noticing things) was when Tiger and his Swedish ex-wife, Elin Nordegren were divorced, I couldn’t find anything negative that was said about her in the media. And by the way, another thing I’ve noticed is that Tiger has a history of dating tall beautiful statuesque blonds who are highly intelligent, like Elin, and when he does he starts winning tournaments.

But getting back to the case. I talked Tiger’s divorce over with my wife (she’s very smart about things like this) and she said whenever there’s a divorce it’s never just one of the partner’s fault. It’s always both partners who contribute to the divorce, and yet, like I said, I couldn’t find anything negative about her, even in old newspaper clippings. Now, to my wife (and to me, too) that is very strange. It sounds like a “cover-up” so I had to ask myself, why in the world would anyone want to cover-up her contribution to the split-up?

Then, I dug a little deeper and came up with a very interesting statistic. I googled “The Sexual Behavior of Swedish Women” and you’ll never believe what I came up with. Listen to this: Did you know that 39% of all Swedish women have sexual fantasies of having sex with another woman. That’s right. Thirty-Nine percent. So I had to ask myself, is it possible that Tiger’s ex-wife falls into this category? Or that she’s had sex with other women? That would certainly account for Tiger’s promiscuity. Who knows?…maybe he came home one day and found her in bed with another woman? When you’re investigating a murder anything is possible.

So here’s what I think may have happened. When Tiger and his ex got a divorce, Tiger did everything humanly possible to keep his ex-wife’s sexual practices out of the media. Why? Because he was worried about the effect it could have on his children. And, in my opinion, it’s been like a dark cloud over his head, just like that Joe Btfsplk guy in those Lil’ Abner cartoons. And it’s this very cover-up that could be affecting his game because he is “withholding.”

I checked with a sport psychology consultant who happens to be a friend of mine and he said that when an athlete withholds it’s a form of lying that demeans him (in this case, Tiger) and not only lowers his self-esteem but also creates psychological baggage that affect his ability to focus and process information. My friend also told me it could be a source for “misdirected anger.” He said that when and if I’m able to find the murderer he predicts we will see an entirely new Tiger because a big load will have been lifted from his shoulders. And that dark cloud will disappear.

There’s one other thing my friend told me. He said that he believes Tiger is over-estimating the effect it will have on his children since most children are highly resilient and are capable of adapting to adversity in their lives. Especially if they have been loved unconditionally as he was sure Tiger’s children have been.

Now, here’s my problem. I can’t just arrest Tiger’s ex for having murdered his game, unless, some national sports writer gets wind of this and after finding out it’s true writes a column about it. And if that happens, my friend says he believes you will see an entirely different Tiger Woods on the golf course, providing, of course, he’s found another tall, beautiful statuesque blond who is highly intelligent.

Tiger Woods announced today he will miss the Masters for the first time since 1995 when he first entered it as an amateur. Seems he had a pinched nerve repaired. And already the “boo-birds” are out saying his career is over. But those birds don’t know much about back operations. When it comes to back operations, repairing a pinched nerve is like falling off a log (assuming it’s true) compared to the fusing of discs. Now THAT is major back surgery. Take it from one who knows. I’ve had four back operations but it was the last one (fusing five discs in a 6-hour operation) that did me in. I’m still able to get around okay but I had to kiss my days playing handball and jogging – goodbye. Thank goodness Tigers’ problems aren’t nearly as severe as mine, or anyone else who has had major back surgery.

Tiger says he’s still eyeing those records held by Jack Nicholas for most championships won (18) and Sam Snead for most PGA Tour Titles won (82). And I predict he will eventually break both of them. The only thing that could keep him from doing this does involve his back. And his ex-wife (keeping her off of it.) Ex-wives can be quite vindictive, especially when their ex-husband is dating a beautiful Olympic Skier.  And they’ve been known to use their children as negotiating weapons.

I checked the internet on this and found that yes, indeed, PGA golfers are allowed to check their incoming e-mails and, according to Carter Rich, equipment standards manager for the USGA: “It’s fine to call your family and let them know you’ll be late for dinner. But calling your coach for swing tips is of course not permitted under the Rules of Golf.” So if you’re Tiger Woods and you get a nasty incoming call from your ex-wife, even if you don’t answer it, the mere fact she is calling you can negatively affect your focus. But it can also have the opposite effect. If you’re Phil Mickelson and you get an e-mail or incoming call from your loving wife, Amy, telling you she’s preparing (metaphorically speaking) a huge delicious steak for dinner, and you love steak, that could have a positive effect. So my suggestion is: Ban all cell phones and I-phones on the course during the PGA tour, and this would apply to the fans as well as the players. Distracting phones have no place on the golf course during competition.  And they definitely shouldn’t be used to enhance performance.

The following is from a New York Times story, dated May 5, 2013: “In the second round on April 12, Woods’s third shot on No. 15 hit the flag and rolled off the green and into the water. Woods took a one-stroke penalty and dropped the ball in the fairway, a few feet from his original divot, and played his fifth shot.

“Woods unwittingly called his drop into question when he said in an ESPN interview that he took it two yards from the original spot, which was not ‘as nearly as possible’ to the spot from which he first hit, as the rules require. The next day, the Masters rules committee assessed Woods a two-stroke penalty and allowed him to play on, invoking Rule 33-7, which allows the penalty of disqualification for signing an incorrect scorecard to be waived in exceptional individual cases. Woods finished tied for fourth.

“The United States Golf Association and the Royal and Ancient released a statement Wednesday, saying that Woods did violate the rules by playing his ball from the wrong place and that the ruling to allow him to remain in the tournament was correct. The application of Rule 33-7 was reasonable because the Masters rules committee failed to meet with Woods before he signed his scorecard.”

What caused Woods’ mental error on Saturday, the third day of the tournament? It’s important to remember that what takes place away from the golf course affects what takes place on the golf course. No one knows for sure but from my perspective Tiger could have had a little Friday evening spat with his new significant other, Olympic Skier Lindsey Vonn, that affected his focus the following day. Or he might have gotten into a frustrating argument on his cell phone with his ex-wife Friday evening regarding a particular family issue involving their children, which often happens to men who have gone through divorce. When there are children from a former marriage, a divorce doesn’t end a relationship with an ex, but merely transforms it.

For those of you who follow my column know that I’ve been advocating for years that what takes place away from the field of competition affects what takes place on the field of competition, and how important it is that an athlete be happy and have his or her life in harmony and how that positively affects performance. A good example is Tiger Woods. In an article in today’s USA Today titled “A happy Tiger is a dangerous Tiger” fellow golf pro Steve Stricker observed that “he’s so happy.” According to the article: “Stricker and other players on the PGA Tour say Woods appears more at peace off the course, which they think correlates to improved play on it. Without expanding or giving away too much, Woods says there’s a correlation between the two.” And much of that has to do with his new relationship with Olympic Skiier Lindsey Vonn. So if you’re an athlete, it’s important that you learn from Tiger’s experience. When you’re happy and your life is in harmony you’ll perform close to your skill level on a consistent basis. Tiger is going to win the Masters. Post-Masters comment: I was wrong.

N. V. I.
National Visualization Institute

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