Golf Psychology - How Tiger Learned Golf's Mental Game

Joe Culverhouse
  • Author: Joseph Culverhouse
  • Manager - GLT Content and Communications
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Tiger and Brunza


Following his incredible scrambling performance at the 2018 PGA Championship, Tiger Woods was asked how he was able to shoot three under despite missing 7 of 9 fairways on the front 9. His response gave yet another bit of insight into the powerful mental game of golf he possesses. But, when and how did Tiger begin his quest to mastering golf psychology? The answer to those questions can be summed up in two words, or one name, if you will: Jay Brunza.

“Purge failure and recall success,” Jay Brunza advised a promising young golfer by the name of Tiger Woods. It’s fantastic advise, but if you think it’s just a catchy slogan, think again.

GLT's free PDF Quickstart Guide of Golf's Mental Game is available here.

Jay Brunza began working with Tiger when the golfer was just 13, following a round of golfer with the future legend and his father, Earl. Brunza and Earl Woods began their relationship while both served in the United States Navy.

While in the Navy, Brunza worked with cadets at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. His work there, along with his work in pediatric oncology, gave Brunza unique insight and experience in guiding young minds through traumatic and stressful experiences.

After their initial meeting – six months after, to be exact – Brunza began officially working with Tiger. The primary area of focus for the duo was in area to which most golfers can relate: playing well under pressure. Brunza coached young Tiger through the process of dealing with stressful situations by focusing entirely on the moment, not the fear, not the environment, just the moment. By removing aspects beyond his control, Brunza taught Tiger to focus on the process, and to simply let his mind and body preform the tasks they were trained to perform.

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Brunza described Tiger Woods as a sponge, quickly and easily absorbing everything he could in order to hone his mental golf game. Brunza’s teachings – developing a process focus, reimagining success, letting go of failure – all lead to Tiger Woods being considered one of the strongest players of golf’s mental game in the history of the sport.

To see how you can further develop your mental golf game, follow along as Team GLT continues to dive deeper into golf’s mental game, and be sure to check out the first article in the series, What Is Golf’s Mental Game? Next in the series, we’ll introduce you to a little friend we like to call The Inner Chimp.


Jay Brunza Tiger Woods