The U.S. Open's Mental Test

Davis Love III explained, "A U.S. Open is not only just a golf test; it's a mental test and you try to win that battle. It comes down to scrambling, who can get the ball up-and-down and make putts and be patient."

Tiger Woods has observed, "Usually right around par wins, and you just need to hang in there. And most of the players don't have that ability to hang in there, to swallow your pride and hit shots that you don't normally hit, because you're used to making birdies and having to win. Most of the players either haven't learned that, or aren't willing to change from the birdie mode."

Why is it so hard for seasoned professionals to be patient and learn from the past? The reason is because your mind is programmed to repeat your past behavior. Plus, your negative emotions distort your ability to reason and play havoc with your ability to perform.

Let's assume you are a professional golfer playing in the U.S. Open and you are at par after the second round. Would you be willing to keep plugging away and be happy to continue making par? Or, would you be tempted to take a risk and go for a birdie once in awhile? Chances are you would lose your patience and go for it.

If you went for it and made a birdie, chances are you would feel pretty confident and go for it again. Eventually, Old Man Golf would catch up with you and you would pay the piper with a double or triple boogie or worse because of the severe penalties for making a bad shot on a U.S. Open course, especially this year at Pebble Beach.

Then what would you do? Would you wise up and be content to go back to making par? Or, would you be upset with yourself and take more risks to make up for losing ground? This is only a small snap shot of what goes through the minds of many of the professionals playing in the U.S. Open.

The mental test at the U.S. Open is having the humility and patience to play for par for the entire four rounds. If you had the talent and were playing in the U.S. Open, would you be able to pass this mental test?

P.S.: Winning at golf is more than just getting more distance. It is about SCORING. And here is a book that I can recommend to help you learn more about course management.

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