No rest on Sunday of a Major Championship
By Keith Stewart, PGA
When it comes to Sundays, most of us think of it as a day of rest. Culturally, it has always had a relaxing connotation. Easy like Sunday morning as a mindset doesn’t necessarily focus the mind either. And my favorite day as a dad – Sunday Fun Day!
Here at Southern Hills, it is not a day of rest. It’s quite the opposite. Rest will come tomorrow for those who made the cut. The leaders are waking up imagining a storyline that places them in a picture with the Wanamaker Trophy. And for those who cannot see that scene, they, like many amateurs, might need a little help on how to close out a Major Championship.
Granted, most of you won’t be playing for a $15 million dollar purse with $2.7 million prize for for the PGA Champion, but in the end all pressure is self-induced. I love that line as a PGA Coach. I learned it from Tiger Woods when I was a PGA Assistant Professional at Isleworth Country Club a couple decades ago.
When you think about this sentiment, it really makes sense. We all build our internal insecurities. On Sunday, those intimate issues come to the forefront. If you care about performing your best, then you are going to be nervous. Any player at any level feels it. How do the best overcome their anxiety, keep reading…
- Choose a walk-up song. Something that fills your body with self-belief. A tune that motivates you and most of all makes you smile. Entering the arena for the day is very important. Do not have a fearful mindset once you wake up. Build the day up in your head. Exercise confident decision making. Eat your favorite breakfast, watch a great show and most of all as you drive over to the course and warm up, play that song!
- Handling a pressure filled round starts with great preparation. This is no time for an all-nighter. The best way to increase your performance power is to practice under pressure. Make your range time more functional. Simulate actual play by hitting to specific targets. Create a fairway down range and split the middle five times in a row. Not enough amateurs practice with functional challenges like this.
- Analyze your recent performance. Look for areas of your game that have really propelled your ability to play well. When designing your gameplan for the day, make sure you play to that strength. This will enable you to build confidence throughout the round. The 17th hole at Southern Hills today is playing 302 yards. If you are a good driver of the ball, go for it. Better wedge player, lay-up.
- When you do arrive to the course, find out what the conditions are like. If there are players out there already, get a sense for scoring, speed, or wind. Did overnight weather change the course? Getting yourself acclimated to the conditions will help keep you calm. It is one more set of details that set you up for “Sunday success.”
- The last and most important step in this process is how you step onto the first tee. Play that walk-up song back in your head. Enter the arena knowing you have prepared to the best of your ability. Then step in with some bounce in your step. Be a true baller and embrace the challenge.
Believing you can accomplish anything comes from putting in the proper effort. Whoever accepts the Wanamaker Trophy this evening will have certainly pictured and prepared himself doing it well before this morning.