Raymond Floyd talks about how he changed his attitude about playing in the US Open and enabled himself to win at Shinnecock Hills in 1986. We got to know Raymond after this in the early 90’s. His relationship with his wife, Maria, was the key. She was effectively his sports psychologist.
He had just blown a lead in the previous tournament on Sunday and had a very poor record in the US Open to this point. On the drive to Shinnecock, Maria challenged Raymond about his loss and about his attitude about the US Open. Raymond was not allowed to block his recent loss out or ignore it. He had to dig deep to understand himself and why his attitude about the US Open was actually a big reason he blew the lead on Sunday and why he had performed poorly in previous US Opens.
Intellectually he had decided that the USGA was setting up the courses in ways that made them unfair. They were no fun to play and he could not anticipate that he would do well. Of course, this created a lousy attitude for competing in the US Open and it put him on edge during that last round that he blew.
Any time you let yourself feel like things are unfair or that you have no chance to succeed, you are setting yourself up for emotions and poor performance. You are beating yourself before you start. The chances of playing well and changing your attitude that way are very low. Maria knew Raymond better than he knew himself.
By changing his attitude about the setup at this US Open, by focusing on the great course and its design, Raymond let go of the past frustrations and created a much better competitive attitude for this tournament. He was already playing at the top of his game. Changing his attitude allowed him to succeed instead of self-sabotaging that would have happened without Maria’s intervention.
Always try to get to the bottom of why you played the way you did, when you play poorly and when you play well. The better you understand your thinking and attitude the better able you are to do something to change and keep improving. The answer is not usually found in your swing or technique. It is your mind that controls everything. Use your mind to help you perform. Self Awareness is super important to your potential.
Running away from self-analysis, blocking and denying will not help you play better or overcome your challenges. Dwelling on your failures and re-living them without finding solutions is the sure path to struggle and potential failure. It is not easy to look at yourself and look for the faulty thinking. Your ego does not like to go there. You need a Maria in your life to help you figure it out.
There are several more gems in this article, but I will let you discover them. Read the rest of his article here.