Even Jason Day worries about blowing it

FullTournament622jpg-3666993-3666996-640x360All golfers worry about screwing up. Our minds just go there. It even happened to Jason Day on the final hole Sunday in the PGA Championship.

The difference between major champions such as Day and most other golfers is that they know how to deal with those harrowing thoughts. Day has struggled with them in the past; on Sunday he didn’t.

Check out Day’s thoughts Sunday on the 18th hole where he had a three-shot lead over Jordan Spieth.

“Yeah, I honestly said, don’t double bogey. Don’t hit it left, don’t double bogey. Hit it as hard as you can up the right side. And I mean, I hammered the drive up the right side and — I’m being honest here, I was over the second shot, and I’m like, don’t hit it short in the water. It was a mile short, but I had 191 yards with a bit of wind into me. So all those things run through your head.”

Sound familiar?

“But that’s the moments like we were talking about, where you have to pull yourself back and say, no, I’m not going to have that. I’m going to stamp my foot on that thought and move forward and try and grind this out and really work on the process of getting the shot right. And both those times happened to me. And I fought through those negative thoughts and ended up finishing it off.”

That’s the wisdom of a major champion. Stamping on the thought was his way of making the thought go away. There are different ways to deal with intrusive, troubling thoughts, but the technique is similar: You witness the thought and then dismiss it by turning your attention to something else more valuable.

(With troubling thoughts, you can even make fun of them as if you were sarcastically making them go away. ‘Thank you stupid thought but now I’m going to ignore you. Goodbye.’)

In Day’s case, he turned his focus to his “process.” On the drive and approach, as he did all day, he meticulously went through his pre-shot routine, which involved visualizing the shots he wanted to hit. By becoming completely absorbed in his process, he kept his mind quiet and hit solid shots and won his first major championship.

There’s only a few folks who can belt a drive about 380 yards, but like Jason you can learn to deal more effectively with those inevitable demonic thoughts and make your day.

Picture: PGA of America


About Tim O'Connor

Tim O'Connor is a golf coach, an award-winning writer, and speaker. Tim takes a holistic approach, coaching golfers in the physical and mental aspects of golf. He co-hosts the Swing Thoughts podcast with Howard Glassman, and is the author of The Feeling of Greatness: The Moe Norman Story. He plays bass in CID—a Guelph punk band!