As we know, life is often not one continual hot streak. A player who has a career game, the next day against the same opponent might have just the opposite result. Even a player as talented as Michael Jordan is not immune to such a swing in performance. He understands, however, the secret to getting his mojo back, is all in the mindset associated with playing a game of opportunity.
As we tell the "shooter's story," we explain this time, things just aren't going the player's way. Nothing is going right, as each shots smacks the backboard or bounces off the rim. The crowd is silent as their star misses again and again. In this moment we ask the question, "What is he thinking now?" Nearly 100% of the class answers, "Don't give me the ball!" This is the answer we expect, setting up the key point of the conversation.
The mentally tough athlete fully understands the correlation between thinking and success. They understand the more they elevate their mood, the more access they'll have to their athletic brilliance. In this instance, where not a single shot has been made, the thought process is no different than it was the night before." As he runs down the court his mind is saying, "This is perfect. This couldn't be better. Give me the ball!" It's a powerful mindset to operate from and a likely reason the entire world knows about players like Michael Jordan.
To have the "Shooter's Mentality" means you always want the ball. You see everything you do as a game of opportunity with no reason to shrink or hesitate just because one swing, one shot or one attempt at anything didn't go your way. It's the understanding that people are at their best when they feel their best and an elevated mood is always only a thought away!
Spend some time thinking like a champion and you can count this week's challenge as complete!
Develop Mental Toughness
Jeff Ritter is the CEO/Founder of MTT Performance. The program operates out of Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach, Calif. Follow him on Twitter at @mttgolf
We recently highlighted his music video in which Matty, better known by his social media handles @Md_18undapar, shows off his skills as both a rapper and a putter. But his biggest talent just might be his ability to light up a room -- even golf's biggest room.
Matty made his first appearance at the annual PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando last week and boy, did he make the most of it as evidenced by his Instagram feed. Here he is with some of the game's biggest stars, like Bubba Watson:
And Lydia Ko, with whom Matty joked by saying "Prom?" in his caption. Aww.
Then there were the teachers this young player took advantage of meeting, like Hank Haney:
And Dave Stockton:
Matty then got to show off his skills. Check out that powerful swing! And the perfect club twirl:
And of course, Matty got his picture taken with Blair O'Neal -- a must for all PGA Show first-timers:
Nice work, Matty. We can't wait to see what you do next year. You know, when you're 12 and running the entire event.
Haas has come to this win total and $21.5 million in earnings (NOT including a $10 million FedEx Cup bonus) before turning 33. That means he could just be entering the prime of his career, but still, his results in golf's four biggest events are puzzling.
Haas has played in 21 major championships and has never finished in the top 10. The closest he's ever come to contending was holding the 18-hole lead at the 2014 Masters. He shot 78 on Friday, though, and wound up T-20. Only twice in those 21 starts has Haas bettered that performance with a T-12 at the 2011 PGA Championship and a T-19 at the 2012 British Open.
Haas actually has plenty of company when it comes to his ratio of tour titles to major titles. He's the 80th golfer to have six or more wins without a major and he's not even close to Harry Cooper's record of 31 victories without a major. But Haas' history is unusual because unlike Cooper and the overwhelming majority of those 79 other players, Haas has never come close to even contending at a major, let alone winning one.
Of the 80 players on that list, only four never finished in the top five at a major championship: Joey Sindelar, Chi Chi Rodriguez, Willie Klein, and Wayne Levi. Only one of those other golfers also never once finished in the top 10: Levi.
In fact, Levi is the gold standard for unusual track records in major championships. He had twice as many wins (12) as Haas currently does and even won the PGA Tour Player of the Year Award in 1990. Yet his best finish in a major was a T-11 at the 1984 Masters and he only had four top 25s in 33 major starts.
More typical is someone like Bill's dad, Jay. The nine-time PGA Tour winner never won a major, but he had T-3s at the 1995 Masters and 1999 PGA Championship, as well as a T-4 at the 1995 U.S. Open. "I think he deserved a major in his career as good as he played," Bill said of his dad in 2014.
But so far, Bill, hasn't followed in his father's footsteps when it comes to those close calls -- which is probably why his name never seems to come up in the "Who is the best player without a major?" debate despite the fact Haas has played on the last two U.S. Presidents Cup teams and has as many PGA Tour titles as Henrik Stenson and Lee Westwood combined. Unlike those guys, Haas has never been higher than No. 12 in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Of course, some might argue that winning the Tour Championship and claiming the FedEx Cup and its $10 million bonus like Haas did in 2011 is a major in its own right. But until he at least shows up on a final-round leader board at one of golf's four biggest tournaments, we're going to continue to wonder why.
CEO Charles Cox called it "a thoughtful strategy that will allow the network to remain competitive and produce engaging content while growing the golf lifestyle," in a statement provided the Hartford Business Journal.
Meanwhile, the network is suing its former CEO Jamie Bosworth, according to the Hartford Courant, which reported that he "expressed doubts about the company's ability to succeed to investors and potential investors while he was leading the company -- and continued doing so after he left, the company says in a Superior Court lawsuit against him."
The suit claims that the network sent him a cease-and-desist letter in October, but that "he continued to criticize the company's management and programming," the Courant reported.
Ten days ago, the Courant reported that the network had "delayed payroll payments to some employees last week but made the payments on Friday and remains on track in its growth strategy, a company official said."
At the Waste Management Phoenix Open in 1999, Tiger Woods had a heckler, an Air Force veteran, who, it turned out, was carrying a gun in his fanny pack. “It was the same one he used to end his life six years later,” columnist Paolo Boivin of the Arizona Republic writes in recalling the incident and the aftermath.
A Tiger Woods' heckler at Phoenix Open being apprehended (Getty Images)
“The Phoenix Open’s success can be instructive for the PGA Tour as it thinks about life without Mickelson and Woods,” Scott Bordow of the Arizona Republic writes. “The Phoenix Open is the rare event on Tour that has thrived without Woods That’s one reason representatives from several PGA Tour events will be in Scottsdale this week. Their mission: Find out why the Phoenix Open attracts huge crowds, younger audiences and is a transcendent sporting event in the Valley.”
European Tour players received this memo recently: “In recent weeks, there have been a number of occasions where players have not played a provisional ball when their original ball has not been found. Some of those players when asked for the reason why stated they were unsure that they were entitled to do so.” Geoff Ogilvy floated an idea, recounted in this Scotsman column on the plague of slow play by John Huggan: “It would be interesting if part of gaining a tour card were passing a basic rules test.”
Matt Kuchar is a member of the Vintage Club in Indian Wells, Calif., and sounds like a member of the Chamber of Commerce for the region. “This is what people move to Palm Springs for, is weather like this,” Kuchar said in this story by Larry Bohannan of the Desert Sun on how tour players’ enjoy coming to the desert. “I’ve really enjoyed coming here, I spent a lot of time here, and this is one of the reasons is the fantastic weather, the great golf that exists.”
It had an opportunity in the final round of the Humana Challenge on Sunday, but scotched what could have been the best story of the year in golf, a victory by Erik Compton.
When does a man with his third different heart, twice a transplant recipient, compete at the highest level of a sport and prevail? It doesn’t happen. Ever. But it could have happened on Sunday.
Compton, 35 and coming up on seven years since his second transplant, was tied for the 54-hole lead. Golf Channel devoted much of its two-hour pregame show to Compton and his incredible biography.
Twitter, not ordinarily a conduit of golf cheerleading, was lighting up with Compton well-wishers:
“@ErikCompton3 play hard today and keep telling ur story bud. #DonateLife,” @KevinMorin1, a kidney-transplant recipient, wrote.
"Never rooted for anyone as hard in my life as I will be today for @ErikCompton3 #YouGotThis," @AustinSmith wrote.
“Dear God, please let Erik Compton win the @HumanaChallenge #WhatAStory,” @cheesemania77 wrote.
What a story, indeed, with or without his winning, and, alas, he did not win. Compton birdied the first hole on the Palmer Private Course at PGA West in La Quinta, Calif., to take sole possession of the lead, but that was good as it got.
Compton played admirably enough, shooting a two-under par 69, to finish tied for ninth. Admirable is great, just not good enough on the PGA Tour. He played alongside winner Bill Haas (with whom Compton was tied, along with Justin Thomas and Michael Putnam), who closed with a five-under par 67.
“I just get the sense from watching him that he’s trying to be too careful,” Roger Maltbie, following Compton’s group for Golf Channel, said once he had fallen from contention. “You can get to where you try so hard, try to be so exact that it really kind of hurts your performance. It seems like he’s trying to be too precise.”
Maybe he wanted it too much. The rest of us did, too. Still, his quest brought a great deal of attention to him and his cause, which he wears on his sleeve: “DONATE LIFE.”
But the story doesn’t end here. Compton, who tied for second in the U.S. Open last year, was 56th on the PGA Tour money list and is more than just a good story. He’s a good player.
“He picks the right courses, he could win out here,” Nick Faldo said on the telecast on Sunday. “Pick a flat golf course, ones that aren’t a real physical strain, I think it’s just a start. I’ll bet he can do this again another week.”
Not long ago, I received a promotional email from a golf course my friends and I have often played during the winter, called Lyman Orchards. That got my hopes up -- but the email wasn't an announcement that the course had re-opened; it was an invitation to celebrate "National Pie Day" with "a Free 6-inch Pie." And the pie wasn’t really even free, since you had to buy $25 worth of other crap in order to get it. And then the weather turned almost vengeful: driving rain and sub-freezing temperatures. And then we got snow.
I’ve been passing this golf-free period by working -- or "working" -- and, when I think of it, throwing birdseed onto the hill outside my back door. And one day I noticed something interesting: the birds, with all their frenzied wing-flapping and hopping-around as they pushed and shoved each other to get at the seed, had cleared almost all the snow from the area where I’d been feeding them:
That made me wonder: could bird power be harnessed to keep golf courses open during the winter? Spread birdseed with crop-dusting planes, which can’t have anything better to do until spring, and let birds take it from there? Fairways and greens only, to keep costs down? I don’t know; I’m not an ornithologist. But let’s try it.
When my wife was in third grade, her Brownie leader didn't believe her when she said there was a bird with "tit" in its name, but my wife was right, and the photo above is proof. Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, on a day when there was no functioning golf course within a hundred miles of where we live, the Sunday Morning Group went out to dinner, at a sports bar called 1st and 10.
Hacker (real name) ordered something that isn’t on the menu anymore but that the chef will make for you if you know to ask for it:
It's two hot dogs split the long way and wrapped in a tortilla with chili, bacon, cheese, and some other stuff, then dipped in batter and deep-fried -- and it comes with fries. I asked our waitress why it wasn’t still on the menu, and she said they took it off because no one but Hacker had ever ordered it.
Quite a few guys showed up that night. One who didn’t was Stanley. The day before, he had reported, by email: “Had a golfer’s knee installed on Monday. Now rehabbing. Legs the same length.” Hacker visited him a couple of days later:
Golfers who have knee replacements often figure they ought to get more handicap strokes. But shouldn't they actually lose strokes, to make up for how much better they feel? When I suggested that to the group, Stanley disagreed. "I have no doubt that the U.S.G.A. will soon ban this device,” he wrote from the rehab center. "However, my knee was installed prior to the change and is therefore grandfathered." We'll see.
The other thing we've been doing this winter is working on our relationship with our first (and, so far, only) official sponsor: Jagermeister. Our sweatshirts are at the embroidery shop right now, because we're having our names and some other stuff added to them. Even so, we've had a measurable impact on sales. A bridge partner of mine in Mississippi, who doesn't play golf but does read my blog, wrote to say that he is seriously thinking about buying a bottle. And Other Gene's wife, Diana, recently ordered some in a restaurant.
Just the beginning, my friend. Just the beginning.
Jason Dufner couldn’t help himself, as so many can’t. When he arrived in California for the Humana Challenge, he made the obligatory In-N-Out burger stop. It was an aberration. “This is a new Dufner -- 20 pounds lighter -- and so the side trip to a fast food restaurant was a form of cheating that was more reward than relapse,” ESPN’s Bob Harig writes in this story on Dufner’s new health initiative brought about by necessity. "If I didn't do it, I wasn't going to be able to play golf," Dufner said.
Jason Dufner last summer; he's now 20 pounds lighter (Getty Images)
“[John Daly] is 48 now, says he's happy as a clam, especially ‘if I can hit my irons better.’ He stands and chats near the 18th green on a quiet Wednesday afternoon. He is as inconspicuous as anybody can be with snowball white hair, and red and white pants. The ever-present cigarette is lit Fans draw to him as if he is magnetized,” Bill Dwyre of the Los Angeles Times writes in this column catching up with Daly.
It’s always fun to hear about Masters’ rookies planning their first excursions to Augusta National. So it is with British Amateur champion Bradley Neil, who is making a preliminary exploration of the course and is attempting to set up a date with countryman Justin Rose, Gordon Bannerman of the Daily Record writes. “[W]ith the tournament getting closer one of the things we want to get out of the way is the potential for being slightly overawed by the sheer scale of it,” his caddie Phil McKenna said.
Was Tim playing with Phil that day? “No, I wasn’t,” he said, “but if he had been I’d have gotten into his head and he wouldn’t have broken it.”
Phil also holds the course record at the Grand Golf Club in San Diego, a 64 that Tim threatened to break one day. Several years ago, I asked Tim about it.
“I was playing with Phil and a buddy of his, and I’d gotten it to nine under through 12,” Tim, the Arizona State golf coach, said. “And then he realized what was going on, and he got in my head on purpose, because he didn’t want me breaking his record. I ended up shooting 65.”
There was a time a few years ago when Tim held more course records in Southern California than Phil did, three to two. This latest puts Phil up now, four to two. Phil holds the course record at La Jolla Country Club (60) and the Plantation Golf Club in Indio (58).
Tim, whose handicap index is plus-3.1, still has course records at Del Mar Country Club (67) and the Farms (62), according to the Southern California Golf Association Directory.