Golfs February Madness

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And now todays article
 
College basketball has its March Madness and Golf has its February Madness coming up in the Accenture Match Play Championship in Marana, Arizona. This is an exciting format that ranks players as seeds and starts off with four brackets of 16 players each. The 16th seed plays the number one seed, 15 seed plays the number two seed and so on down the line in each bracket.
 
This format leads to a very different mindset and mental approach for several reasons:
  • Each round is a head to head match-up with one opponent

  • A player can shoot a low score and lose and shoot a higher score and win

  • The mindset is narrowed to focus on one player and one round at a time rather than an overall score over a four day period

  • Lose a round and go home
Here are some questions I will find most interesting:
  1. Can Phil Mickelson regroup and take on the challenges necessary to win this event?

  2.  
  3. Can Charles Howell III channel his positive momentum into a victory?

  4.  
  5. Will Tiger be ready for the head to head competition?

  6.  
  7. Will golfers like Shaun Micheel, Sergio Garcia and others emerge from the field in this format?
Because of the different format the highest ranked golfer doesnt necessarily win this event or even finish in the top five or ten. Heres a review of past winners over the last eight years:
 
2006 - Geoff Ogilvy
2005 - David Toms
2004 - Tiger Woods
2003 - Tiger Woods
2002 - Kevin Sutherland
2001 - Steve Stricker
2000 - Darren Clarke
1999 - Jeff Maggert
 
Since 1999 Tiger Woods has been ranked the worlds number one except for one year, 2004 when that honor went to Vijay Singh. Just like the NCAA Basketball tournament the hot player can go far in this type of format and as such this creates a very different experience from one golfer to another. For some, it opens a window of opportunity and possibility. For others, it creates more tension and pressure. Once again, the mindset of each golfer will determine how well or how poorly they respond to the format in this tournament. Here are the 3 mindsets I believe will make a positive difference:
 
1. Seize the opportunity
 
Rather than view the format in a way that causes more pressure and tension (If I lose, Im out) view each round as an opportunity to express your talents fully and completely. This mindset creates freedom instead of pressure
 
2. Narrow the focus
 
Play one round at a time. You can win even if youre not playing your best. A 73 might win one round and a 63 might lose one round. Each round is a separate entity so it is important to narrow the focus to playing your best on each shot and each hole the entire round.
 
3. Enjoy the process
 
Why not enjoy the process rather than resist it? You could play a great round and still lose and you have no control over it if that is what happens. Enjoying yourself is a key factor that opens the flood gates to play your best. Playing uptight usually means you wont play your best golf. You cant control the format or how others will play so go out and enjoy yourself from the very first shot.
 
This will be a fun event to watch! To Your Best Golf
 
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