A champion golfer has to be totally confident in every part of his game as well as his personal life.
One of the aspects of golf that is so challenging is the mental clarity required to play championship golf. Major titles cannot be won if a player’s mind is cluttered with a million other thoughts while standing over a three-foot putt.
A mind that is continuously processing subjects other than the shot at hand will not allow the golfer to reach his peak performance. A golfer must have total confidence in his swing and be able to repeat a swing that creates the type of golf shot needed for the situation. That confidence is born from hours of practice and by actually performing the correct swing in pressure situations.
One thing that has changed most for professional golfers today from years past is physical fitness. Tiger Woods has always been a big proponent of conditioning and preparing his body to increase strength and overall fitness.
Championship golf requires strength and the confidence that his body that will allow the player to handle heat, hilly golf courses and difficult shots from deep rough.
Woods has had four knee surgeries in the last 19 years. When a player is not 100 percent physically, his body will not allow him to perform to the best of his ability. He is constantly worried if physical limitations will permit him to produce the type of golf swings necessary to play winning golf.
Woods is healthy now and appears to be confident in using his legs to pull off even the most difficult shots.
There is an old phrase “horses for courses.” Some golf courses seem to favor a particular golfer’s game. For example, Tiger Woods has won multiple events at Bay Hill, Muirfield Village, Torrey Pines and Firestone. He is obviously confident when he arrives at these courses.
Augusta National has also been a favorite over the years. Although he has not won the Masters since 2005, he has 12 top-10 finishes in 16 starts and has won four green jackets.
Perhaps the last piece the complete golfer requires is confidence in his personal life.
Since 2009, Woods has struggled with his personal life and an unsettled home life. He has not won a major championship during this four-year span.
Coincidence? I think not.
His public humiliation and divorce left marks that have taken some time to heal. Divorce and public scandal can leave a measure of doubt in anyone.
Surgery and rehabilitation will fix a knee. Practice and repetition will eventually ingrain a swing change. But personal scars take time to heal.
A sense of being unworthy to win due to personal life difficulties will keep a player from performing at his best and keep him out of the winners circle.
If Tiger is now more comfortable with his personal relationship and at ease off the golf course, his mind will be less cluttered on the course.
Major championships could follow in bunches.
Lindsey Vonn and a more secure personal life could be the answer to finally catching Jack Nicklaus.