Dont Think About It

By Mike RitzApril 1, 2003, 5:00 pm
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. -- Its all in the head. Or, in this case, la tte. Patricia Meunier-LeBouc became the first major champion of 2003 -- thanks largely to her mind. The native of France has a laissez-faire attitude that keeps her from getting rattled under pressure. Actually, she rarely gets rattled at any time.
Meunier-LeBoucs approach to golf comes from the school of pop-rocker Cyndi Lauper: Girls just want to have fun. Patricia has put things into the proper perspective. She is constantly upbeat, happy and smiling. How could I not be? she asks rhetorically. Im out here playing golf for a living, in beautiful sunshine, with the best player in the world.
Meunier-LeBouc played her last six rounds of competitive golf alongside that best player, Annika Sorenstam. She admitted to getting a bit nervous Saturday afternoon at the Kraft Nabisco, when she built a short-lived five-stroke lead. Then, starting Sundays final round with a three-stroke lead over Annika, Patricia admitted she wasnt entirely comfortable and was playing a bit shy.
The problem: she started thinking. The mind is a terrible thing to waste. As Patricia started to look ahead ' to think about what winning this LPGA major championship would mean ' she lost her lead. Then, she says, she got comfortable again.
One never really knows whats going on inside the mind of the stoic Sorenstam; but immediately after she took the lead with a birdie on the 12th hole Sunday, she made two uncharacteristic mistakes on the next two holes. Did she let thoughts of a possible, record, third-straight Kraft Nabisco Championship creep into her Hall of Fame brain?
While Annika was apparently losing the battle with her own personal demons, Meunier-LeBouc was back playing her own game, smiling, walking jauntily up the fairways, as if she were simply strolling on a Sunday afternoon along the Champs Elysee.
As Sorenstam went bogey-bogey, Patricia went birdie-par. Within thirty minutes, the 30-year-old Frenchwoman went from one stroke behind to two ahead.
Meunier-LeBouc talks of never letting negative thoughts sneak into her head on the golf course. If there is a cavernous bunker guarding her approach to the green, she doesnt think, Oh, no, I cant hit it in there. Instead, she tells herself, So, whats the big deal if I hit it in the bunker? All I have to do next is get it up and down to save par. Add in the confidence she has developed through years of practice and competition on the European LPGA tour, and it becomes quite easy to swing freely and execute the shots.
At this extremely high level of competition, the players in contention are virtually equal in talent and ability. It is the brain that often separates the champions from the hopefuls.
Dont be surprised if Meunier-LeBouc appears often in these major championship battles ' and prevails. When asked about proving she can beat the best players in the world, she responded I think it proves I am one of the best, yes? Confidence defeats intimidation.
Yes, the mind may be the most important tool in any golfers bag. To quote word-smith Yogi Berra, 99 percent of the game is mental; the other half is physical.

Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.

The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 6:01 pm

Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.

Lexi Thompson:

Baking time!!

A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

David Feherty:

Jack Nicklaus:

GC Tiger Tracker:

Steve Stricker:

Golf Channel:

Frank Nobilo:

Ian Poulter:

Tyrone Van Aswegen:

Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.