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Avoid big mistakes like those that doomed Garcia

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Take a moment and think about your last round of golf. How much better would your score have been if it weren’t for those one or two holes where you had a double bogey or worse?

Tiger Woods came away victorious in The Players Championship on Sunday by making the fewest mistakes down the stretch.

Sergio Garcia, however, suffered the opposite fate.

Woods was tied for a field-best five bogeys for the golf tournament. Combine that with ranking third in greens in regulation and winning golf tournaments becomes a lot easier.

Blow-up holes, like Garcia’s quadruple bogey on the island green 17th when he was tied for the lead can come from anywhere for no apparent reason.

However, there are a few things you can do to safeguard yourself from big numbers, or at least dramatically reduce them.

• Play difficult holes safely. The 17th at TPC Sawgrass is notorious for producing big numbers from the best players in the world. The key is knowing when you have to make birdie and when you don’t. Most players would take four pars on 17 and move on. On a difficult hole, choose the club you are most confident with from the tee and proceed knowing that par or even bogey is a good score.

• Commit to every shot. Poor swings that can lead to big numbers often happen when you’re not committed to the shot you’re about to hit. When doubt over club or shot selection creeps in your mind just before, or even during, the swing, the body responds by making a poor golf swing. Decide on the shot you want to hit and commit fully. Even if you make the wrong decision, the outcome will at least have a chance at being okay.

• Avoid turning one mistake into two. After hitting his tee shot into the water, Garcia compounded his problems on 17 by hitting his next shot in the water. If and when a bad shot occurs, do everything you can to take the safest way out and get the next ball in play. On a hole like 17 at TPC Sawgrass, aiming at the center of the green and accepting a two-putt is a lot better than making a quad.

Take an online lesson with Tyrus York.