Cink Always Aware of Feelings of Inadequacy
It wasnt very long ago, though, that Cink was uncertain whether he would ever amount to anything in professional golf. He suddenly became aware of his professional inadequacies, something that he just couldnt seem to get out of his mind.
It was 2002 when I was struggling the most, he said of that time only two years ago. He was a Ryder Cup selection in 2001, but the events of 9/11 occurred and the match was postponed. That, unfortunately, gave him an opportunity to look around at whom else had made the Ryder Cup team.
I started comparing myself as a golfer to the other Ryder Cup team players, he said. Not just the current guys, but the ones that were in the past, too, Ryder Cup guys down the line. And I started being really harsh on myself for making mistakes.
For instance, Ryder Cup players don't miss three-footers, don't hit the ball in the rough on par-5s - just really hard on myself. And it changed very gradually over time so it's almost like I didn't notice it.
Cink had finished 26th on the money list in 2001, but his sudden period of self-doubt dropped him all the way down to 73rd the following year. It reached such a state that he finally revealed his fears to his swing coach, Mark Wood.
I sat him down and said, I've got problems. I mean, I'm really worried about where the ball is going to go, and I'm worried about missing putts. I'm scared of leaving myself a three-footer coming back. This obviously was not the same Stewart Cink that presently is No. 1 on the tour in putting.
Wood had an answer. He had an acquaintance in Florida whose specialty was working with self-doubters such as Cink. His name is Preston Waddington, and he had just the fix for Cink. Dont try to be perfect, said Waddington. It isnt possible, and the quicker you discern that, the better golfer you will become.
I've really learned a lot since then, the last few years, about fear in a golfer's mind and where it comes from, said Stewart. And instead of trying to push further out and filling your mind with other thoughts, I've really tried to grasp the fear and figure out why I'm afraid - why is a golfer afraid of a three-footer when it really is just a ball going in a hole or not? It really boils down to sense of self issues.
I was letting my golf results, my scores, my position on the money list, wins, not winning, everything - affect the way I felt about myself. And there's enough burden out here to carry when you've got these guys you're playing against and the golf courses are difficult.
Cink is very open about his sessions with Waddington. Some players would be hush-hush about any kind of psychological help. But not Stewart. Humans are prone to feelings of self-doubt, and Cink was Exhibit 1A. Jack Nicklaus himself said that if a golfer isnt a little scared, then he isnt much of a golfer.
You know, Cink said after winning the NEC Sunday, it's too much to ask of a person to perform under that kind of stress and add all this sense of self on top of it. It's psychoanalyst mumbo jumbo, I guess, but I've really gotten to a place where I'm accepting of my mistakes. Out there today, I was just prepared to accept any of those putts not going in.
Oh, he said, he still has periods of self-doubt. He expects, like Nicklaus, that he will be facing his fears when hes 50. A work in progress, Stewart termed it.
It's sort of the way the golf course unfolds itself different every day, you face new challenges, he said. Well, in my mind I face new challenges every day, too. I love talking about it because I'm proud of myself for admitting that I have issues. And being strong enough to go and tell somebody that I needed help, and I got help and worked hard to deal with it.'
He had in his mind what a champion golfer should look like. And he didnt fit that picture. Actually no one does, but Cink didnt realize it. No one is perfect with every shot, every putt. Its not how good your good shots are, as the saying goes, but how good your bad shots are. Thats where the champions stand out, never being bad enough to make it a hopeless situation.
Every time I took a new step up, said Cink, I started becoming harder on myself. And I gave myself less leeway for mistakes, so I was just killing myself. It was just too much stress to play under.
Cink still gets down on himself at times. He isnt a Vijay or Ernie or a Tiger ' and he never will be. But he still is one of the best players in the world. Hes No. 5 on the tour money list, and that should mean something. He doesnt need a therapist to tell him that that is pretty good.
Email your thoughts to George White
Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off
NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.
Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.
The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.
Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.
Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.
Third-round tee times for the 147th Open
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.
Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.
Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.
Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.
Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.
4:15AM ET: Gavin Green
4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed
4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose
4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton
4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley
5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner
5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson
5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)
5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood
5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello
6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford
6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma
6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele
6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood
6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na
6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin
7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim
7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira
7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters
7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li
7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker
7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink
8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook
8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris
8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim
8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari
8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson
8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell
9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka
9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott
9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren
9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone
9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett
10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler
10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell
10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau
10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen
10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele
10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood
11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson
Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.
He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.
“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.
At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.
Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.
“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”
Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?
Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.
Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.
“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”
Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.
Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.
“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.
More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.
“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”