June 24, 2024

Emotional Control

"I have no chance of controlling my golf game, until I first controlled myself." Is a quote, adapted to golf, from the great baseball Hall of Fame pitcher, Carl Hubbell. The best example of exceptional emotional control is being demonstrated currently by Scottie Scheffler. The number one player in the world is seemingly unfazed by the adoration and attention that he is receiving as he is clearly pulling away from his competition as the best golfer in the world.

Scottie is showing the same attributes that Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus demonstrated in their peak years, which is to play their game to their full potential without the outside pressure weighing on them and affecting their ability. Tiger and Jack possessed extraordinary physical skills that put them ahead of most others with regard to talent. But the same could be said about Greg Norman, Tom Weiskoff, or Sergio Garcia. All had the physical tools, but lacked that special something to rise above and take advantage of their exceptional skill. There are plenty of others that had the potential, but didn't take advantage of it. Scottie, statistically this year, leads in PGA Tour in almost thirty categories. That can be daunting to have to live up to those numbers, however he seemingly is oblivious to those figures. Tiger and Jack were the same.

Emotional control is rooted in self-belief. Knowing who you are and what you stand for and not trying to be something that you are not. Sandy Tatum, former President of the USGA, made this quote. "When you reflect on the combination of characteristics that golf demands of those who would presume to play it, it is not surprising that golf has never had a truly great player who was not also a person of extraordinary character." Putting golf in perspective to life is vital to releasing the ability to do "what you know you can do".

Scottie Scheffler looks like he is having fun while playing a demanding game. He appears to enjoy the challenge. He is trying to do the best he can, but excepts not every shot can be perfect. If you are at ease with yourself, what can go wrong? If you have exceptional talent like Scottie possesses, then good things will happen. If they don't, like this year's US Open, you don't sulk, but come back another day and try again. No excuses.

You are not your golf game. Jack, Tiger, and Scottie know this and can separate themselves from that part of their lives. Think of your best rounds of golf. You were relaxed and all was good in the world. Mickey Wright, maybe the best women golfer of all-time, stated, "When I play my best golf, I feel as if I'm in a fog - standing back watching the earth in orbit with a golf club in my hands." That's total freedom and release of control. Emotional control is not control, but the letting go of control. Be like Scottie and play free.


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