There are always many moments of an Open golf tournament that you look back upon and smile about. Tom Watson, as he always does, made a load of people smile during the four days of the British Open 2011 at Royal St Georges.
The British weather was as inclement as it could be, and pretty much what we all expect for links course conditions. The wind was pretty evil and there was enough needle like rain added to the mix to ensure that players and spectators alike lot count of the times they changed clothes or tried to control their flighty umbrellas.
Whilst many of the younger players struggled to retain smiles or control of their golf ball in these conditions, Tom Watson appeared to be totally unaffected by it. In fact, he even appeared to be enjoying himself out there.
He said himself that he may have had a natural advantage due to his age. He can no longer try to “kill the ball” and hits a consistently steady shot, with or without the wind. When you hit the ball nice and easy, it’s flight is lower and less affected by the wind. Hence the little ditty “hit with ease into the breeze”.
Tom Watson managed to shoot a 72 in horrendous conditions on Saturday morning, when the average amongst contemporaries who played at a similar time was almost 77. He also kept on smiling, whilst many others did not. He knew that his score wouldn’t put him in contention for the lead but he still enjoyed himself, never the less.
We can learn so much from this veteran of golf. In a week whereby everybody knew that what would define the winner would be his attitude Tom set a stellar example. So too did Darren Clarke, who went on to win. He too accessorized his game with a pretty broad smile for almost all of the four days.
Links golf asks a player to produce different shots. The weather and the course both push a player to the limits of their course management, tolerance and creativity. Just as you broaden your stance to steady yourself in the wind, you also broaden your mind to become mentally tougher and more creative. You have to dig deep to be able to produce and compete when facing this ultimate challenge in golf.
Your attitude comes first. Your golf is a result of your attitude. Both Tom Watson and Darren Clarke showed us the power of having a great attitude in approaching this game with your mind in a good place.
Roseanna Leaton, avid golfer and specialist in mental golf mp3s and author of the GolferWithin golf mind training system.
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