Watching the waste management tournament last week in Arizona, Ricky Fowler gave us a masterclass in how to stay in control of your game. He went into the tournament on the last day with a 5 shot lead, when the unthinkable happened. With just eight holes left to play he chipped on to the 11th green and watched as his ball trickled past the bunker and landed in the lake. After taking a penalty drop he walked up the slope to assess where to play his chip shot, only to find his ball which had been stationary roll back into the water hazard.
Facing another penalty drop he continued to chip his next shot past the flag leaving him with a 17-foot putt for a triple-bogey 7. Keeping his emotions in check he then went on to sink the putt. I'm sure he was annoyed, but he was able to keep his emotions in check and continue to focus on the shot in hand. Unlike most club golfers I see out playing, who loose their temper and allow the emotions to take over. I've written previously about emotions and how they flood your body cortisone, making it difficult to focus. When interviewed after his win he said:
"I did a decent job of getting past the two holes which cost us five shots today. A bad break with the ball rolling back into the water but we moved on and that's what's nice about having a cushion after 54 holes, it allows you to make mistakes. You don't have to be perfect. So to step up and play the way I did the last four or five holes was nice."
"I have been in this position a lot and know it can go the right way or the wrong way. At the end of the day winning is amazing, but there are a lot bigger things in life."
"If I hadn't won today the sun is still going to rise tomorrow. That was a calming factor."
So think of Ricky's words next time you're faced with a shot that didn't go to plan. Ask yourself the right question - "will this shot be the end of my game?" As Ricky proved no it won't, we all make mistakes, golf is not a game of perfect.
If you would like to learn more about the mental side of the game please get in touch or check out our other blogs, there's something in here for everyone.