Amateurs aren't the only ones who choke, as Robert Damron and
Dudley Hart proved by botching a putt and a pitch, respectively,
at the Nelson
Tour players dread the word, but choke is what Damron (above) and
Hart did on the first hole of Sunday's playoff, handing the title
to Sergio Garcia. There's no other way to explain how Damron
could yip a four-foot putt and Hart could flub a basic pitch,
shots that either of those guys could normally pull off 100 times
in a row. But under pressure, Tour pros often get as nervous as
amateurs. Damron and Hart moved so quickly during the playoff
that they looked as if they simply wanted to get it over with.
Had they taken deep breaths, slowed down and focused on the
target--not the ball--one of them might have won.
Focus on the Target Under Pressure
When the heat is on, a golfer tends to focus his eyes and mind on
the ball. That interferes with the mind's natural ability to
facilitate hitting the ball directly at the target. To avoid such
a mistake, make an effort during your preshot routine to stare at
the target and glance at the ball, instead of glancing at the
target and staring at the ball. Focus on the target until the
image is set in your mind, then look at the ball and swing.
AND ANOTHER THING...
"I Love Tiger Woods's swing right now. He simply needs to
throttle down a tad to get his timing back."
"The asterisk people put by Byron Nelson's record 1945 season (18
victories, 11 in a row) because so many pros were off in World
War II is silly. Nelson would have won just as many if everyone
had been at home."
"Now that Lorena Ochoa has her first win, I expect her to contend
for the top spot on the LPGA money list."
COLOR PHOTO: ERICK RASCO
COLOR PHOTO: DAVID BERGMAN (DAMRON)
COLOR PHOTOMONTAGE: ERICK RASCO/JIM GUND (BACKGROUND)
Derek Hardy is the associate teaching director at Tierra Rejada
Golf Club in Moorpark, Calif.