Will young players win the remaining majors?

2011-05-19 00:00

WITHIN the next few weeks, both the U.S. Open and the (British) Open Championship will be played. These are exciting events for golf fans worldwide and we have had some unlikely winners of majors in recent times. So it is reasonable to think that there will be more this year. There are also a number of younger players winning tournaments on both sides of the Atlantic, but we have also seen some young players leading tournaments who completely blow their chances in the final round, especially if they haven’t had a tournament win yet. Yes, it’s called choking.

What happens to these young golfers when they are overnight leaders? What are they thinking about just before they go to sleep? Do they, in fact, get much sleep? Do they choke because they know that winning a major golf tournament is a life-changing occurrence and the situation is too overwhelming? Perhaps they play too defensively because they are afraid of making a mistake. Sometimes when a golfer is under pressure, it is not easy to detect a difference in the swing, unlike cricket where there is a discernable difference in the player’s general body language and in the strokes a batsman makes.

In recent years professional golfers have been employing sports psychologists in order to believe in themselves and to handle pressure situations better. The new term for these people is “performance consultants” and some sportsmen swear by them. They are in effect “shrinks” and if that’s what it takes to be successful then why don’t more golfers employ them? Your scribe doesn’t have the answer to that but the most famous of the shrinks is Dr Bob Rotela. He has written books on how mentally to improve your golf game and his theories don’t exclude long handicap players either. It’s a very interesting subject but in spite of what Rotela says, you still have to to get the ball into the hole in fewer shots than anyone else to win.

One wonders whether Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel used shrinks to enable them to win so calmly at St Andrews and Augusta or perhaps they are just naturally unflappable characters. If so they should spend some time with our South African cricketers.



Victoria Country Club held a 4 ball betterball Stableford competition on Saturday. The winners were J. Wood and G. Lonsdale with 47 points. In second place were B. Sole and G. Palmer on 44 points.

Maritzburg Golf Club held the Old Mutual pairs competition on Saturday. It was a betterball competition. The winners on a fantastic 52 points were P. Jonker and C. Mitchell. In second place on a count-out were B. Edmondson and B. Gibson on 47 points.


From the 19th hole


A priest rushed from church one day to keep a golf date.

He was halfway down the first fairway, waiting to hit his second shot, when he heard “Fore!” and a ball slammed into his back.

Soon, the golfer who had hit the ball was on the scene to offer his apologies. When the priest assured him that he wasn’t hurt, the man smiled.

“Thank goodness, Father!” he exclaimed.

“I’ve been playing this game for 40 years, and now I can finally tell my friends that I’ve hit my first holy one.”

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