Golf Psychology - Pre-Shot Routine - Process v Outcome
In today's instalment of the GLT golf psychology series, The Mental Game of Golf, we'll take a look at how being process versus outcome focused during a pre-shot routine can be beneficial for golfers, using the recent play of Tiger Woods to exemplify.
With a sixth place finish in the 2018 British Open, Tiger Woods rose from 71 to 50 in the OWGR, meaning he would be in the field for the WGC Bridgestone Invitational when the event begins its final round at Akron’s Firestone Country Club in early August.
More Importantly, for Tiger Woods, it not only meant an opportunity to send off an event he’s won 8 times, more than an other golfer in the event’s history, it meant the culmination of a month’s long test of his golf mental game.
Following the 2018 edition of The Players Championship, Tiger said the following:
“One of my goals is to get into Akron one last time before we leave there. I’ve won there 8 times and I’d love to get there with one more chance. Hopefully I can put together one good event.”
A little over two months later, Mission Accomplished.
Less than one year ago, Tiger was not ranked among the top 1000 golfers in the world. Suddenly, he’s playing like Tiger again and is becoming more and more of a threat with each passing week. So what changed for Tiger? What lead to this resurgence? Improving and healing physically have certainly played a role, but at GLT, we believe something larger has been in play. We believe Tiger Woods has recaptured a bit of the focus and drive that lead to one of the greatest mental games the sport has ever seen.
While practically every sports outlet on the planet has dissected Tiger’s game recently, few have focused on the mental aspect of his game. At GLT, we regularly preach the importance of a strong mental golf game. Seeing Tiger’s resurgence hasn’t surprised us at all. Why? His post-Players quote told us volumes. Tiger was no longer focused on outcomes, he was focused on a clear goal. While he can't control how other’s play, he can control his own thoughts and feelings and recently his focus has been directed towards having fun. Tiger’s golf game, is at such an elite level that so long as he simply focused on what he could control, such as having fun, body language and his self-talk, the swing and the result would take care of itself.
This is simply due to a reduction in the body’s stress levels. The body becomes more relaxed and is able to better do what it’s been trained to do when the stresses created by trying to control aspects beyond its reach are not as strong. In essence, and at the risk of oversimplifying, Tiger played his best in years recently due to focusing on 1.) a goal and 2.) simply completing the task at hand.
We know, it’s not as easy for the average golfer. We’re sure it wasn’t nearly as easy for Tiger as we’re making it sound, either. If golf’s mental game were easy to master, we’d all have a closet full of Green Jackets. But don’t worry, at GLT, we’re here to help.
With our next entry in the Mental Game of Golf golf psychology series, we'll discuss the OSVEA pre-shot routine process developed by GLT's own Iain Highfield.