Playing Hide and Sneak with Woods


Call it Hide and Sneak.

It’s interesting how so many PGA Tour pros do not like looking at leaderboards. They hide their eyes and sneak around leaderboards until the very end, and then many of them still don’t look. They leave it to their caddies near tournament’s end to inform them if they need to know where they stand before playing a shot.

You’ll hear players say that they don’t look because it destroys routine, because looking invites thoughts that ruin focus, that it gets them thinking too far ahead and takes them out of the crucial “one-shot-at-a-time” mantra.

Could it be, bottom line, no matter how they rationalize it, that looking at leaderboards elevates the choke factor?

Sports psychologist Bob Rotella doesn’t like his players looking at leaderboards unless they can show him they player better doing so.

It’s relevant this week with Tiger Woods making his charge onto the leaderboard at the Buick Open Friday. With so many players outside the top 100 in the world rankings contending, you can’t help wondering what effect his name has on players near the lead.

“He’s always on everyone’s mind, but when you’re out there playing, you don’t really think about it,” Vaughn Taylor said. “I’m sure the closer we get to Sunday, and the closer he gets to the top, guys always think about it. So, it’s just one of those things. You gotta play your own game and stay in your own world and just play golf and not worry about what he’s doing.”

Good luck with that, fellas.

Woods, by the way, doesn't play Hide and Sneak. He looks at just about every leaderboard he passes.