What We Can Learn From Phil’s Win At The Open

I always find a couple of “take away” moments from the tour events and this spectacular British Open did not disappoint. Phil Mickelson came back grassfrom a 5 shot deficit to win The British Open. He had one of the greatest final rounds of golf ever played. If you had a chance to watch the round, you would have been amazed at the shots he made and the putts he dropped in. It really was something to see. The entire event was gripping to say the least.

I have to say, I always love it when I see professional tour players hit a few errant shots. In the case of those “off the mark” shots at The Open, when they went bad…they went really bad. The bunkers were unbelievable. There were shots perched next to and up against interior bunker walls, forcing stances that Cirque du Soleil would envy! I’m sure all the physical therapists watching were commenting on the looming Medial Meniscus tear or perhaps an ACL strain. Hands were flying off the club left and right to avoid a wrist strain. With the super slow motion camera patrolling the fairways, we viewers could see all the details of the straining muscles and grimacing faces, results of shots gone a stray.

And of course there were the semi-grassless fairways that were veritable thruways to the extremely long and unforgiving willowy fescue. The fescue seemed to consume golf balls the way kids consume popcorn at a movie. In the end, Phil brought his “A” game and played the course as it was designed. He adapted to the terrain, made good decisions and hit the shots required in order to be successful.

The two take away moments for me were really found in two comments Phil made following his victory. The first was that he really focused on each shot, one at a time and he never got ahead of himself. This is such a key component in any successful round of golf. The more you are able to stay present, the better your performance on the shot at hand. To never get ahead of yourself is a challenge we all face. We tend to say things like, “if I can par this hole…if I make a birdie here, then I can finish with a good score!”  We tend to do the math along the way and it never really helps us lower the score in the end.

The other comment he made was about his shot selection. He said there were several options for shots into the greens with several clubs to choose from for those options. He and his caddy Bones, did a fantastic job of choosing just the right club and just the right shot for each situation.

I thought this to be a really great comment and something we might consider when we’re out there playing our own game. I always work with my clients on creating different shots with different clubs. This expands the creative side of the game. We all know that Phil is one of the most accomplished short game players the game has ever known. So if you get a chance to take a page out of Phil’s book, think about being a bit more creative.

The next time you have a shot into a green, consider the terrain and whether or not there could be another shot option that might produce a different shot shape. Perhaps a back pin location could prompt a three quarter pitching wedge rather than a full sand wedge. The same location could even warrant a 9 iron short pitch shot to the front 1/3 of the green so the ball rolls most of the way to the pin! Whatever shot you choose, stay present with it and stay committed to it, you’ll be glad you did!


About Cathy

I am an LPGA Class A teaching professional with more than 20 years of experience. I've recently been selected as a Golf Channel Academy Coach. I have been listed as one of the best teachers in the country by Golf for Women Magazine, best teacher in state by Golf Digest and been nominated to the prestigious Top 100 Teacher list by Golf Digest. I offer whole game improvement plans and strategies that will help you achieve your goals. Whether you have a single digit handicap or you are just a beginner, I will help guide you to your success by creating a learning environment that is completely unique to you! I am one of only 30 people in the country certified by the Golf Coaches Association. I use V1, FlightScope and Boditrak technology.
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