Just Dont Think About It

By Mike RitzApril 1, 2003, 5:00 pm
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. -- Its all in the head. Or, in this case, la tte. Patricia Meunier-LeBouc became the first major champion of 2003 - thanks largely to her mind. The native of France has a laissez-faire attitude that keeps her from getting rattled under pressure. Actually, she rarely gets rattled at any time.
Meunier-LeBoucs approach to golf comes from the school of pop-rocker Cyndi Lauper: Girls just want to have fun. Patricia has put things into the proper perspective. She is constantly upbeat, happy and smiling. How could I not be? she asks rhetorically. Im out here playing golf for a living, in beautiful sunshine, with the best player in the world.
Meunier-LeBouc played her last six rounds of competitive golf alongside that best player, Annika Sorenstam. She admitted to getting a bit nervous Saturday afternoon at the Kraft Nabisco, when she built a short-lived five-stroke lead. Then, starting Sundays final round with a three-stroke lead over Annika, Patricia admitted she wasnt entirely comfortable and was playing a bit shy.
The problem: she started thinking. The mind is a terrible thing to waste. As Patricia started to look ahead ' to think about what winning this LPGA major championship would mean ' she lost her lead. Then, she says, she got comfortable again.
One never really knows whats going on inside the mind of the stoic Sorenstam; but immediately after she took the lead with a birdie on the 12th hole Sunday, she made two uncharacteristic mistakes on the next two holes. Did she let thoughts of a possible, record, third-straight Kraft Nabisco Championship creep into her Hall of Fame brain?
While Annika was apparently losing the battle with her own personal demons, Meunier-LeBouc was back playing her own game, smiling, walking jauntily up the fairways, as if she were simply strolling on a Sunday afternoon along the Champs Elysee.
As Sorenstam went bogey-bogey, Patricia went birdie-par. Within thirty minutes, the 30-year-old Frenchwoman went from one stroke behind to two ahead.
Meunier-LeBouc talks of never letting negative thoughts sneak into her head on the golf course. If there is a cavernous bunker guarding her approach to the green, she doesnt think, Oh, no, I cant hit it in there. Instead, she tells herself, So, whats the big deal if I hit it in the bunker? All I have to do next is get it up and down to save par. Add in the confidence she has developed through years of practice and competition on the European LPGA tour, and it becomes quite easy to swing freely and execute the shots.
At this extremely high level of competition, the players in contention are virtually equal in talent and ability. It is the brain that often separates the champions from the hopefuls.
Dont be surprised if Meunier-LeBouc appears often in these major championship battles ' and prevails. When asked about proving she can beat the best players in the world, she responded, I think it proves I am one of the best, yes? Confidence defeats intimidation.
Yes, the mind may be the most important tool in any golfers bag. To quote wordsmith Yogi Berra, 99 percent of the game is mental; the other half is physical.
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Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

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Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

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Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

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Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

“There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.

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In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

“To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

“To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.