The Mental Game Block

By David BreslowApril 27, 2005, 4:00 pm
Jack Nicklaus was reported as saying Golf is 90% mental. Most golfers admit that the mental game is at least somewhat important even though some place more value on it than others. When I speak in front of groups I often ask what percentage of the game of golf is mental? The answers I receive range from 10% to 100%.
 
Whats interesting to me is that even those golfers who answer 50% and above tend not to formally develop this part of their game beyond reading some books and listening to some tapes. The next question I ask is How many of you have tried to use tips theyve learned from books or tapes? This usually triggers a yes response from just about everybody. Then I ask, How long do those tips last for you? There is almost always a collective groan after hearing this question. Why? Because almost everyone in the room has had experience with trying a new tip and have it magically disappear not to long after. In fact, over the last 15 years working with golfers, the average tip time lasts about 2 weeks.
 
How long do the tips you work on last? Do they tend to come and go or work for short periods of time?
 
MENTAL GAME BLOCK
As I talk with golfers they continue to express confusion and frustration over this thing we call a Mental Game. The fact is that you are influenced by your mental game whether you formally develop it or not. There are very precise and predictable mind-body performance principles that operate in everyone. Yes, they operate the same in you as they do your favorite pro. John, an amateur golfer with a 16 handicap has the physical talent to lower his handicap by several strokes. When I asked him if he ever developed his mental game his reply was I dont think thats the problem, its something Im doing with my mechanics. John spends a lot of money on lessons and is convinced his on course issues are always mechanical. John is not atypical either. There are many golfers who have a block about working with or developing the mental game.
 
Finally, when John became so frustrated that his game didnt improve the way he wanted it to, he called me. What I wanted him to understand right away was this; the mental game is made up of three components: the mind, the emotions and the body. In addition, he quickly learned that each of these three factors are all connected and involved every time he puts his hands on the golf club. It was easy to show John how true this was by using his own experiences as the proof. John quickly realized that he was under the influence of these factors all the time and that his focus on mechanics ONLY, was limiting himself as a golfer. John, like many golfers had a resistance to what they assumed the mental game was or wasnt. Over the years, Ive identified 3 common blocks players use to keep them from developing these aspects. They are:
 
  • They assume talking to someone means they are weak
  • Its just mechanicsI can figure it out
  • I dont need a therapist
     
    The irony is that anyone who plays great golf has already learned how to use the mind-body performance principles whether they do it consciously or unconsciously. The principles operate in everyone and nobody has a corner on the market. Understanding these principles makes a player stronger, not weaker. Relying on the intellect alone can cause a golfer to play under their true talents and finally, the FlowZone program is not about therapy.
     
    John learned that the so-called mental game is really not separate from his performance and never was. Just because he found ways to resist it didnt mean it wasnt already influencing his game. The mind, body and emotions are all connected and in continuous communication with each other. When there is disruption in this process, performance is affected. Think about itif youve ever been in the zone you already know how true this is. When in the zone you experienced a smooth flow of energy and the mind, body and emotions were in synch.
     
    Think of yourself as a finely tuned racing engine. This engine has elite parts and when the engine operates smoothly all the parts are working together without disruption. The flow of communication and energy is smooth and powerful and performance is high. When disruption or obstacles occur, the engine does not run as smoothly and performance is affected. It may be sluggish, parts arent working together and some parts are working harder than others to compensate. This results in a loss of energy, power and performance. When this happens have the parts all of a sudden become less elite? No. They are still elite partsthey just arent functioning together very well. Your body operates exactly the same. You already have the elite parts within you. When they work together you play your best. When there are obstructions in how you use your mind, emotions and body, your performance can be negatively affected.
     
    Are your elite parts operating as efficiently as they can?
     
    NOTE: Discounts on Performance Coaching are available only until May 15th 2005. This is our way of saying thank you to The Golf Channel visitors! For more info, visit www.theflowzone.net.
     
    Related Links:
  • David Breslow Article Archive
     
    Copyright 2005 David Breslow. David is the author of Wired To Win and offers the highly acclaimed FlowZone program: Your Resilience Factor: Adapt and Excel in any Environment Workshop and TeleCourse that takes performance to the next level. David has appeared on The Golf Channel, ESPN radio, etc. For more programs/services/products or sign up for a free newsletter (write newsletter in subject box). Contact: David Breslow 847.681.1698 Email: David@theflowzone.net or visit the web: www.theflowzone.net. For book orders call toll free: 1.888.280.7715.
  • TOUR Championship Final Round Becomes Most-Watched FedExCup Playoffs Telecast Ever and Most-Watched PGA TOUR Telecast of 2018

    By Golf Channel Public RelationsSeptember 25, 2018, 6:48 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla., (Sept. 25, 2018) – NBC Sports Group’s final round coverage of the TOUR Championship on Sunday (3:00-6:19 p.m. ET) garnered a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 7.8 million average viewers, as Tiger Woods claimed his 80th career victory, and his first in five years. The telecast’s TAD was up 212% vs. 2017 (2.5m). Television viewership posted 7.18 million average viewers, up 192% YOY (2.46m) and a 4.45 U.S. household rating, up 178% vs. 2017 (1.60). It also becomes the most-watched telecast in the history of the FedExCup Playoffs (2007-2018) and the most-watched PGA TOUR telecast in 2018 (excludes majors).

    Coverage peaked from 5:45-6 p.m. ET with 10.84 million average viewers as Woods finished his TOUR Championship-winning round and Justin Rose sealed his season-long victory as the FedExCup champion. The peak viewership number trails only the Masters (16.84m) and PGA Championship (12.39m) in 2018. The extended coverage window (1:30-6:19 p.m. ET) drew 5.89 million average viewers and a 3.69 U.S. household rating to become the most-watched and highest-rated TOUR Championship telecast on record (1991-2018).

    Sunday’s final round saw 18.4 million minutes streamed across NBC Sports Digital platforms (+561% year-over-year), and becomes NBC Sports’ most-streamed Sunday round (excluding majors) on record (2013-’18).

    Sunday’s lead-in coverage on Golf Channel (11:54 a.m.-1:25 p.m. ET) also garnered a Total Audience Delivery of 829K average viewers and posted a .56 U.S. household rating, becoming the most-watched and highest rated lead-in telecast of the TOUR Championship ever (2007-2018). Golf Channel was the No. 2 Sports Network during this window and No. 7 out of all Nielsen-rated cable networks during that span.

     This week, NBC Sports Group will offer weeklong coverage of the biennial Ryder Cup from Le Golf National outside of Paris. Live From the Ryder Cup continues all week on Golf Channel, surrounding nearly 30 hours of NBC Sports’ Emmy-nominated live event coverage, spanning from Friday morning’s opening tee shot just after 2 a.m. ET through the clinching point on Sunday. The United States will look to retain the Ryder Cup after defeating Europe in 2016 (17-11), and aim to win for the first time on European soil in 25 years, since 1993.

     

    -NBC Sports Group-

    Getty Images

    Tiger Woods names his Mount Rushmore of golf

    By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 25, 2018, 6:29 pm
    Getty Images

    Mickelson savoring his (likely) last road game

    By Rex HoggardSeptember 25, 2018, 3:49 pm

    SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Phil Mickelson lingered behind as his foursome made its way to the ninth tee during Tuesday’s practice round.

    He needed the extra practice, no doubt. He’s one of just six players on the U.S. Ryder Cup team with even a modicum of knowledge about Le Golf National, but the likely reason for Lefty’s leisurely tempo was more personal.

    The 2019 Ryder Cup will likely be Mickelson’s last road game as a player.

    He’ll be 52 when the U.S. team pegs it up at the 2022 matches in Rome. Although there’s been players who have participated in the biennial event into their golden years – most notably Raymond Floyd who was 51 when he played the ’93 matches – given Mickelson’s play in recent years and the influx of younger players the odds are against him.

    “I am aware this is most likely the last one on European soil and my last opportunity to be part of a team that would be victorious here, and that would mean a lot to me personally,” Mickelson said on Tuesday.

    It’s understandable that Mickelson would want to linger a little longer in the spotlight of golf’s most intense event.

    For the first time in his Ryder Cup career Mickelson needed to be a captain's pick, and he didn’t exactly roar into Paris, finishing 30th out of 30 players at last week’s Tour Championship. He’s also four months removed from his last top-10 finish on the PGA Tour.


    Ryder Cup: Articles, photos and videos


    Although he’s reluctant to admit it for Mickelson Le Golf National looks every bit a swansong for the most accomplished U.S. Ryder Cup player of his generation.

    In 11 starts at the Ryder Cup, Mickelson has a 26-16-13 record. Perhaps more telling is his 7-3-1 mark since 2012 and he holds the U.S. record for most matches played (45) and is third on the all-time list for most points won (21.5), just two shy of the record held by Billy Casper.

    Mickelson’s record will always be defined by what he’s done at the Masters and not done at the U.S. Open, but his status as an anchor for two generations of American teams may never be matched.

    For this U.S. team - which is trying to win a road Ryder Cup for the first time since 1993 - Lefty is wearing many hats.

    “You know Phil and you know he's always trying to find a way to poke fun, trying to mess with someone,” Furyk said. “He's telling a story. Sometimes you're not sure if they are true or not. Sometimes there's little bits of pieces in each of those, but he provides some humor, provides some levity.”

    But there is another side to Mickelson’s appeal in the team room. Although he’s never held the title of vice captain he’s served as a de facto member of the management for some time.

    “At the right times, he understands when a team needs a kick in the butt or they need an arm around their shoulder, and he's been good in that atmosphere,” Furyk said. “He's a good speaker and good motivator, and he's been able to take some young players under his wing at times and really get a lot out of them from a partner standpoint.”

    In recent years Mickelson has become something of a mentor for young players, first at the ’08 matches with Anthony Kim and again in ’12 with Keegan Bradley.

    His role as a team leader in the twilight of his career can’t be overstated and will undoubtedly continue this week if Tuesday’s practice groupings are any indication, with Lefty playing with rookie Bryson DeChambeau.

    As DeChambeau was finishing his press conference on Tuesday he was asked about the dynamic in the U.S. team room.

    “We're going to try and do our absolute best to get the cup back,” he said.

    “Keep the cup,” Lefty shouted from the back of the room, noting that the U.S. won the last Ryder Cup.

    It was so Mickelson not to miss a teaching moment or a chance to send a subtle jab delivered with a wry smile.

    Mickelson will also be remembered for his role in what has turned out to be an American Ryder Cup resurgence.

    “Unfortunately, we have strayed from a winning formula in 2008 for the last three Ryder Cups, and we need to consider maybe getting back to that formula that helped us play our best,” Mickelson said in the Scottish gloom at the ’14 matches. “Nobody here was in any decision.”

    If Mickelson doesn’t step to the microphone in ’14 at Gleneagles in the wake of another U.S. loss and, honestly, break some china there probably wouldn’t have been a task force. Davis Love III likely wouldn’t have gotten a second turn as captain in ’16 and the U.S. is probably still mired in a victory drought.

    Lefty’s Ryder Cup career is far from over. The early line is that he’ll take his turn as captain in 2024 at Bethpage Black – the People’s Champion riding in to become the People’s Captain.

    Before he moves on to a new role, however, he’ll savor this week and an opportunity to win his first road game. If he wants to hang back and relish the moment so be it.

    Getty Images

    DeChambeau gets foursomes, fourball mixed up

    By Will GraySeptember 25, 2018, 3:31 pm

    SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Bryson DeChambeau is an accomplished player when it comes to match play, having captured the U.S. Amateur and starred on a Walker Cup team. But don’t ask him to explain the semantic difference between the formats in play at this week’s Ryder Cup.

    DeChambeau became crossed up Tuesday at Le Golf National when he was asked about the intricacies of foursomes play – better known to many Americans as alternate shot.

    “Fourball, foursomes, I always get those mixed up,” DeChambeau said. “It’s just easier for me to say alternate shot.”


    Ryder Cup: Articles, photos and videos


    Thankfully for DeChambeau, he still has some time to make a distinction between the two before the matches begin in earnest. And when they do, it’ll be fourballs for the morning sessions both Friday and Saturday, with foursomes in the afternoon – a change from the 2016 matches when DeChambeau was on the grounds at Hazeltine as a spectator.

    While the foursomes format brings with it added pressure in an already tense environment, one of the biggest concerns is how well players can adjust to using the ball of their partner on a given hole. DeChambeau is known to leave nothing to chance in his preparation, and he’s already circled that particular factor as he gets set to make his Ryder Cup debut.

    “It’s key because we want to be comfortable. Each player needs to be comfortable with the ball that they are playing,” DeChambeau said. “So for compatibility reasons, it’s one of the most important things out there in regards to alternate shot. It is the most important.”