Because you want to lie to your self, or at the least have selective amnesia for psychological preservation, I at all times felt I used to be nice beneath stress, however the truth is, I used to be in all probability common.
I keep in mind having a six-shot lead one 12 months within the 72-hole qualifying for the Western Amateur with three holes to go. Then immediately I misplaced all coordination and made a double bogey, adopted by a quad and a triple. I as soon as once more had a six-shot lead going into the final spherical of knowledgeable event in South America and I misplaced all six of these pictures within the first few holes. I keep in mind hitting a one-iron to a foot on the second to final gap within the Southwest Conference Championship and profitable by one. Another time I had a one-shot lead trying over a brain-addling 40-foot putt that was sharply downhill. It broke about 15 ft and I poured it proper within the center to beat Payne Stewart and win my solely PGA Tour occasion.
The distinction was between the man who regarded fully noodle-rocked and the man who may stare down all comers is one thing I may solely guess at.
I’ve choked, I’ve kicked ass, and I’ve achieved every part in between a whole lot of occasions. Of course, I can inform you the qualitative physiological variations between these days but when I really knew the supply of the inner-calm the place my greatest golf got here from, I’d have been ready to reproduce it at will. And I by no means may, whereas I attempted like hell.
Lexi Thompson‘s U.S. Women’s Open collapse places her with Ben Hogan and Arnold Palmer
Therefore, once I see a participant collapse as Lexi Thompson did this previous weekend on the US Women’s Open, holding at one level a five-shot lead solely to shoot 41 on the again 9 and lose, I can actually perceive the irrevocable ache of it however making an attempt to clarify it’s elusive.
On our Sunday night time “Live From” present, I pointed to a ghastly stroke she made on the primary inexperienced—a six-footer for eagle—that she hit properly off the toe of her putter. Walking off the primary inexperienced, she had hit 4 pictures. A blistered 300-yard drive, straight as an axe stroke throughout the panorama that discovered the golf green and a trapped operating 223-yard iron shot that kicked and clawed its manner proper subsequent to the outlet. She smiled that paw within the cookie jar smile. She radiated confidence. Then she moved her putter a few ft, lacking the middle of the face by at the least a half an inch (which is the equal of a significant league pitcher throwing a pitch behind the batter) and the ball didn’t fall, however I suspected her confidence, like autumn leaves, did.
Two superb pictures instructed one story. One timorous prod instructed the reality.
It was not going to be Lexi’s day.
Perhaps it was merely that she was competing for her nationwide championship and most of her closest opponents from the Philippines, China, Japan and South Korea have been simply enjoying in a significant championship. It’s a tissue-thin distinction however possibly sufficient to alter the dopamine structure in a single’s physique.
Maybe Lexi Thompson knew the historical past of The Olympic Club properly, the place monster tales get mangled and the tragic echoes rang in her ears.
I do know this although, for 3 days Lexi Thompson performed the perfect golf I’ve ever seen her play, which appeared to be the results of consideration to her psychological preparation and absolutely that preparation allowed for the potential for failure.
Golf could have modified an important deal over time however the inside sport stays very a lot the identical; discovering that place, that inside calm, the place nice golf comes from, at occasions, evades even the easiest gamers.