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Seve Ballesteros

Seve Ballesteros' Five Best Tips For Winning Head-To-Head Matches

Former Golf Digest Playing Editor Seve Ballesteros authored several instruction articles for Golf Digest back in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Among them was his advice on match play. Among his many victories in major match-play competition, Seve was 20-12-5 in eight Ryder Cup appearances and also captained the European team to victory in 1997. -- Ron Kaspriske
Seve Ballesteros
Play your own game, but also 'play the man.' I take the view that my opponents are not there for me to ignore, rather to help me in my choice of shots. That means I have to be a good decision maker. Hitting thoughtless shots is the fastest way to defeat. No one likes to play aggressive golf more than me, but at times it's better to temper your ambition. I'll give you an example, In a match against Ian Woosnam in the 1987 World Match Play Championship at Wentworth, I paid dearly for an impetuous second shot to the last hole, an often reachable par 5. We both hit good drives, and the green was in range with my best 3-wood. In an effort to reach, I pushed it into the trees. By doing so, I made it easier for Ian. Suddenly there was little chance of him losing the hole. He could play for an easy 5. If only I had hit a more conservative 3-wood close to the green, the possibility of my getting a 4 would still have been in Ian's mind. Making your opponents fear the worst is a powerful weapon in match play.
Scott Heppell/AP Photo

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