News & ToursAugust 21, 2009

Cook Working Towards A Solution

SUNRIVER, Ore. -- John Cook's Champions Tour season is far from being a bust -- he was ranked 15th on the money list coming into the Jeld-Wen Tradition this week -- but he knows it could be a lot better.

"I've struck the ball nicely and haven't gotten much out of it," Cook said Friday after shooting a 67 at the Crosswater Club to find himself T-3 after 36 holes. "I've made some horrible, horrible mental mistakes late in the day on Sunday. I really feel like I could have won a number of times this year, but my brain has gotten in the way."

Cook, who won the AT&T Championship and had 14 other tops-10s in 2008 (his first full season as a senior), has six top-10s in 2009 but is without a victory.  "Last year, I just let things happen," he said. "I won only once, but I felt I had a chance to win 10 or 12 times. I've made some mental errors that have cost me a lot. The goal for [the rest of the season] is to cut down on being a knucklehead."

Although Cook previously has worked with sport psychologists and respects what they do, he is trying to solve his problems on his own this time.  "I've seen enough of them to know what I'm supposed to do," Cook said. "Let's see: 'Breathe, trust, focus, commit.' It's not brain surgery. I guess I'm old and stubborn and have gone that route. My psychologists are my wife and son. My son will call me up and scream at me like's he my coach or something, and talk to me like I talk to him."

Cook is aware that a few slips are all it takes to sabotage a chance to win. "You can't make these mental mistakes because these guys have won hundreds of golf tournaments and dozens of majors and you can't have mental mistakes and try to win out here," Cook said. "It just doesn't happen."

--Bill Fields

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