Mental Toughness and Golf

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Strength of mind propelled Tiger Woods to dominate the golfing world!

Mental toughness is the cornerstone of golf. Arnold Palmer thinks so and I am sure if you ask any golfer they would agree! The picture above reminds me of Tiger Woods in his prime! In his early years, Tiger was almost unstoppable. Yes he had a great swing, soft touch and a deadly putting stroke, but mostly he was mentally superior to all players.

Every time he hit the links, the knew he was going to win. Obviously Tiger did not win every tournament he entered, but his record speaks for itself:

  1. Woods has won 79 official PGA Tour events, second only to Sam Snead, and six ahead of Jack Nicklaus with 73 wins.
  2. Woods has won 14 majors, second all time, behind Jack Nicklaus.
  3. Woods is 14–1 when going into the final round of a major with at least a share of the lead.
  4. Woods scoring average in 2000 is the lowest in PGA Tour history, both adjusted, 67.79, and unadjusted, 68.17.
  5. Woods has the lowest career scoring average in PGA Tour history.
  6. Woods has amassed the most career earnings of any player in PGA Tour history (even after inflation is considered).
  7. Woods is one of five players (along with Gene Sarazen, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, and Gary Player) to have won all four professional major championships in his career, known as the Career Grand Slam, and was the youngest to do so.
  8. Woods is the only player to have won all four professional major championships in a row, accomplishing the feat in the 2000–2001 seasons. This feat became known as the “Tiger Slam”.
  9. Woods set the all-time record for most consecutive cuts made, with 142. The streak started in 1998, he set the record at the 2003 Tour Championship with 114 (passing Byron Nelson’s previous record of 113 and Jack Nicklaus at 105) and extended this mark to 142 before it ended on May 13, 2005 at the EDS Byron Nelson Championship. Many consider this to be one of the most remarkable golf accomplishments of all time, given the margin by which he broke the old record and given that during the streak, the next longest streak by any other player was usually only in the 10s or 20s. It should be noted that when Byron Nelson played far fewer players made the cut in a given event.
  10. Woods has won a record 26.2% (79 out of 301) of his professional starts on the PGA Tour.
  11. Woods is the only golfer to have won the U.S. Amateur three consecutive times (1994–96). (Source Wikipedia)

In my opinion, Tiger Woods current woes are mental. I am confident that if he was a mentally strong as he was in 2000, he would continue with his winning ways. Mentally, he is one of the strongest players to ever play professional golf. I am not sure how he regains his mental toughness, but if he does, he will be a force to contend with!

I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!

7 thoughts on “Mental Toughness and Golf

    • Pete

      1999 and 2000 were Tiger Woods best years. In 41 events he won 17 times and was in the top 10, 33 times. He was almost unbeatable. Additionally, in those two years he won 4 majors. Three of them in 2000. He finished 5 in the Masters in 2000. During those two years, especially 2000, there were two PGA Tours, Tiger and the rest. I attribute most of his success to his mental toughness. I would suggest he was feared at that time during any head to head battle on Sunday. So it was not so much an adjustment as the accumulation of his mental preparation leading up to that amazing year! What do you think?

      Cheers
      Jim

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Jim, Tiger’s dominance was unquestionable but he is now a total mental basket case. The two decisions to go with Sean Foley and then Chris Como as swing instructors exacerbated the problem because of their intense focus on mechanics. Tiger needed to be thinking and playing golf not golf swing, but that’s the route he chose and he is now paying for it. I believe his body has finally given out as well, rendering him more or less done as an effective competitor. There’s no shame in retiring and I’m sure he’ll eventually figure out when to do so and I’m still of the opinion he has a lot to give to the game and should do so from a broadcasting standpoint. As private an individual as Tiger is, I think he has a treasure trove of stories and anecdotes that would fascinate the viewing public for years.

    Thanks!

    Brian

    Like

    • Brian,

      Thanks for the insight. I agree that his body is not as strong as it was and his choice of swing coaches was a knee jerk reaction to not playing well. However, I still think he has a couple more tournaments and one more major in his bag. Not this year, but in 2016! Always great hearing from you.

      Cheers
      Jim

      Like

  2. I’m always intrigued by posts on the mental side of the game. Thus is eye opening around Tiger’s real dominance. Mental toughness is something I want to improve on and for me it’s more about focus and relaxation. I live competitive play but don’t have a great track record with it but with practice and experience comes success. I agree too that Tiger is not at all done. If he can get the drive and mental focus he can be a force again.

    Thanks, Mike

    Like

    • Mike

      I agree that with experience comes success. Staying focused for a round of golf during competition is far more difficult than people realize! For me the key is to start my mental preparation a couple days before the event. Thinking positively and playing an awesome round in my head. Good luck in your future events.

      Cheers
      Jim

      Liked by 1 person

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