"Breaking the slump": how famous golfers overcame a stretch of failure - part 1

With Scott Verplank, it was the right elbow ache that lost him 70% arm strength. He was later diagnosed to have osteochondritis dissecans, which means the cartilage lost blood supply and bone dead. With David Duval, it was the back-pain issue because he had 4 inches longer back than average, and it was hyper flexible. Ben Crenshaw on the other hand suffered a thyroid problem. ow the slump happens. In the text below, I summarize several key learning from these interesting cases so you may use it to improve your game.


How golfers break the slump


1. The slump can happen to anyone, at any time

After winning the 1967 US Open, Jack Nicklaus had a stretch of twelve consecutive majors without winning. It happened again to Nicklaus in 1979 when he dropped to 71 on the money list and first time outside the top ten.


Greg Norman had 10 PGA win, and 48 other wins around the world and he was considered the biggest golf star on 1986. In 1991, Greg suffered 2 years without win anywhere. Another example is Ben Crenshaw, who was a golf hall of fame. By 56 years old, Ben did not win any individual tournament in 13 years. He had quite a few slumps throughout his career.


In 1998, Justin Rose was a sensational amateur who finished tied 4th in the British Open. After this, Justin was heavily expected by people and media to be the next golf superstar. This led to a damage in his confidence and learning phase. Instead of thinking about the shot, he thought about making cuts and suffered 11 months missing cut from 1998 to 1999.


how to get over a mental block
Greg Norman


2. The slump could be caused by a physical body issue

For Paul Azinger, it was the shoulder pain and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. This led to a 1.5 years chemotherapy to recover.


With Scott Verplank, it was the right elbow ache that lost him 70% arm strength. He was later diagnosed to have osteochondritis dissecans, which means the cartilage lost blood supply and bone dead. With David Duval, it was the back-pain issue because he had 4 inches longer back than average, and it was hyperflexible. Ben Crenshaw on the other hand suffered a thyroid problem.


golf psychologists help eliminate self doubt
Paul Azinger


3. Life issues can screw up your golf game

Phil Mickelson was on top of his game until his wife suffered a difficulty pregnancy. She was labored for 5 months and went through a life-threatening operation that lasted whole day. His child tore a 6 inches hole in the mom’s uterus and did not breath for 7 minutes. With this level of complication, Phil had no mental energy left to focus on golf in a while. In Davis Love III’s case, it was the brother in law who stole his money and then committed suicide.

Steve Stricker’s wife who usually was his caddy could not travel more due to having a baby. Losing his caddy and home sick caused Steve to feel and play crappy. Paul Azinger lost his manager and good friend Payne Stewart in a plane accident.


Johny Miller was burnt out and complacent when he won competition, so he ended up spending time and money to renovate real estate. Upon coming back to golf a few months later, he had more muscular in upper body which improved his driving but affected negatively his chipping games.

Another famous example of life issue affected the golf game is Hal Sutton. He won many competitions easily early on. He then became complacent and distracted. He married and divorce 3 times. During this time, he also bought fast car, house, and an airplane.



how to stop worrying about what others think
Phil Mickelson

4. Changing equipment can cause trouble

Paul Azinger switched to Callaways due to a commercial deal. He performed badly and claimed that his equipment was not up to tour standard. He ended up switching back to old irons.

Johny Miller changed his equipment and sponsor to Wilson and suffered a similar drop in form due to inferior equipment.


Please continue reading part 2 in the next post.

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