Monday, June 01, 2009

Playoff Weekend

This weekend's PGA Tour and Champions Tour both needed playoff holes to determine the victor. Congratulations to Steve Stricker, the winner at the Colonial, and Mark McNulty, the winner at the Principal Charity Classic.

Steve Stricker had to overcome several missed short putts during the round. If he had made just one of them, he would have been the winner without the extra holes against Tim Clark. Meanwhile Mark McNulty had to compete against Fred Funk for four extra holes before winning.

It made me realize how mentally tough pro golfers are and how they play a shot at a time. They must have amnesia when it comes to bad shots and putts, which allows them to then hit their next best shot.

I've only been in a playoff once and unfortunately lost in the playoff and finished second. I blame myself though because I wasn't mentally in the game. I went into the last round of a tournament eight to ten strokes behind the two leaders. When I looked at the leaderboard before I teed off, I told someone I just didn't want to finish last. But, when I was about to tee off on the first hole, I learned the two leaders were disqualified. Suddenly I was possibly in contention, but I didn't know my exact standing because the starter didn't have a revised leaderboard.

After the round, I went along with my usual routine of changing my shoes and putting my clubs away, thinking my day of golf was done. I didn't shoot well and certainly didn't think I finished in the money or would be in a playoff. So you can imagine my shock when I learned that I had to go back out to play in a playoff for the Championship. I didn't play well, and I ultimately lost on the second hole.

Where I made my mistake was thinking I was out of the tournament. I quit playing in my head and had already put my clubs away. I did so based on how I played that day, without considering how the other players shot that day.

It's clear that the pros don't think that way and are always thinking they're in contention until the leaderboard tells them otherwise. I certainly learned my lesson and will make sure to know the leaderboard the next time I play in a tournament.

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