Thumbs Up Phil Mickelson & Confidence in Golf: It’s All So Senti-Mental

The Putting Whisperer

SIR Phil

Thank you Phil – for saying it like it is and letting me know it’s OK to be human (no matter the level)

Here’s the prelude – So I’m watching the PGA Tour the other night and I catch the clip from Phil talking about how he totally whiffed his first couple of tee shots at this week’s championship at Valhalla.

I think he was getting the EBGBs with the larger crowds that showed up and the change in intensity got to him AND his nerves.

I’m not so sure why but listening to him talk somewhat absolved me from a very down place I had fallen into after a complete failure attack at a driving range in Mountain View last weekend.

I felt better and re-assured in a silly way that I had already known. Even the greats – for whatever reason – have to remind themselves that they have to trust and have confidence in their swing both on and off the grass.  But he knew, somehow even after the awful misses and unlike other times when his swing failed him at first,… this time – he was confident and knew without a doubt that he indeed had his groove.  You know that feeling?  Those days when it seems you can’t hit the ball incorrectly if you tried – you’re so loose and focused and having fun and confident?!  He knew he had it and just kept at it and then he got into contention. BAZINGA!!!

So much about this game is mental and non-physical – almost spiritual at times if you think about it too hard.

Truth is, I’ve been making progress ever since New Year’s Day.  It’s been hard and I’ve had set backs but I have had days where they ball flight was elegant over and over again and I’ve had more days than not where I felt I could strike a practiced shot with confidence and get the desired result during a practice session – more than 70% of the time.  Often enough to make me want to keep practicing.

I’ve spent the past 6 months trying to change my physique, practicing routinely at least 5 days a week, getting to the putting greens and driving ranges, pushing through injuries and good and bad days and then the other day – I just sucked.  I outright sucked – as if I had just picked up a set of clubs from Costco yesterday.  I’m there on the driving range and some twerpy kid is waiting his turn and the place is full (I can’t stand going on a Saturday – that was my problem right there) and I couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn if I tried.  It was un-nerving and unsettling.  It unbalanced the rest of my weekend for sure.


Yes I Can

In retrospect I realized I hadn’t played in front of any large public group in like ……forever – only duos and light practice range traffic – since the year began…..(my game-plan is to work in crowd control next year – assuming I get to a point that I can play some local amateur tournaments as is the original intent) and so I was completely miss-aligned and I threw my tempo off and I kept pulling the ball left.  But the thing is I was not confident at all.  I didn’t trust anything I was doing.  I did not follow my routine.  I panicked.  I got distracted.  I let outside stuff including some bad energy I received earlier in the day when meeting with someone and other extraneous stuff sway my attention and my belief.  I was nervous and full of doubt and I couldn’t do anything to slow that down.

FAST FORWARD:  I haven’t swung a club in the last 5 days.  Very rare.  I’ve been down all week.  Then I saw this CLIP – THIS SIMPLE LITTLE CLIP thing from Phil and it reminded me. …. AND i STARTED  to feel better.

That stuff comes from within.  And I’ve swung like a champ before.  And miss-alignments can be corrected.  And I just need to find a way to routinely set myself up even when I’m nervous.  I need to learn how to align myself off the ball and club face instead of relying just on site lines – right?  and i can learn that if i read a bit and practice a bit. And if I keep at it – I’ll be able to handle heavy traffic without the willies.!!!

So thanks Phil.  Thanks for that bit of encouragement(without knowing it) by just keepin’ it real and letting us all know that even though you’re a superstar you still deal with the same block and tackling issues as the rest of us do now and then.




CONFIDENCE.  That’s a holy grail thing to get to.  One of golf’s life lesson derivatives.  And it feels like a fleeting hiding unicorn sometimes that you only get a glimpse of while running through the forest.  Or it’s a moody jolt of energy and creativity that shows up when you’re your laziest and trying your least (ya’ know that whole less is more thing) but physically up to snuff or some odd combination like that – that leaves you wondering – why am I playing so well today?

And it’s such a beautiful thing –   That’s when you’re just dribbling the soccer ball towards the goal and “looking sideways like ma’ man Pele’ – right?”

Nothin’ but net.



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