It is true that more Major Championships are lost than won, and the 2012 Open Championship demonstrated that axiom.
Confidence is something you have to have, but you cannot buy it. It can both be gained and lost in a millisecond. There is no formula for obtaining it or keeping it.
Doubt is the enemy of confidence. Given a chance, doubt will fill any void left by a shortage or even a wane in confidence.
Ernie Els never had any doubt in his ability to execute. There were many people who thought that Els would never win again. After not being invited to the Masters this year, Els still believed.
Even though he was not the best putter, his ball striking was remarkably consistent and aggressive.
Adam Scott had very little doubt before 15 in the fourth round. Missing a short putt on 16 set up a poor second at 17. Driving it into a bunker on 18 set him up for his fourth straight bogey. You could see the change in his facial expression as he suddenly realized that he could lose. A five shot swing over the final four holes can erode your confidence.
It seemed that one second he had a hand on the Claret Jug and the next second he was battling to get into a playoff. Such is the fickleness of confidence and doubt.
A flat-line personality is an asset in keeping doubt from creeping in. "The Big Easy" is the epitome of that personality. You cannot live and die on each shot. You have to take the same approach on each shot regardless of circumstance. You have to keep your mind on the goal and not the obstacles.
Paul Azinger stated, "Some players learn from the experience and others never recover from it."
Will Adam Scott learn from this collapse or be forever scarred by the experience?
Brandt Snedeker also has some questions to answer. After the second round I saw a feature on him about his failure in the last round of the 2008 Masters. It was my opinion beginning the third round that Snedeker learned from that experience and was determined to finish the job this time. That was not the case.
Snedeker went 40 holes without a bogey before bogeying his 41st hole. Then he made bogeys on 6 of the next 10 holes. Birdies on two of the final three holes kept him in contention. Snedeker had come from behind in every one of his three tour wins.
Finishing with a 73 and 74 kept him from winning, even though he did finish tied for third. While a fine player, Snedeker may not have the demeanor to be a major championship winner.
Tiger Woods used to exude confidence to the point that he had a status as the Alpha-Male of the golf world. Just as in the animal kingdom, when the Alpha-Male fades, those below him do not allow him to get back up.
I think now it is official: Tiger Woods is no longer the Alpha-Male.
Proof: a guy named Thorbjorn Olesen matched Tiger shot-for-shot playing with him in the third round. Brandt Snedeker did the same thing in the final round.
Ernie Els and Adam Scott both use long, anchored putters. Els winning means that three of the last four major winners utilized these putters in their victories. Previously, Keegan Bradley in the 2011 PGA Championship and Webb Simpson in this year's US Open employed anchored type putters in their victories.
Long putters will gain some attention from the ruling bodies. With the recent success of players with anchored type putters, it will be no surprise that the USGA and the R&A will review the style for legality. The question is, is there an advantage when one end of the club is held or anchored against the body? This is true whether it is the long "Belly" Putter or the longer "Broomstick" Putter.
There is precedence for this. Sam Snead had a severe problem with the "yips," or nervous failure on short putts. For a time, he cured this problem utilizing a "croquet" method, straddling the line of the putt facing the hole. The USGA and R&A ruled in 1967 that this technique did not fit the definition of a golf stroke. "On the putting green a player shall not make a stroke from astride, or with either foot touching the line of the putt, or an extension of that line behind the ball." In fact, even to tap a short putt in, you cannot put your foot on or over the line behind the ball without penalty.
The same fate may be in the offing only for tournament players. The anchored techniques do make the game more enjoyable for amateurs, especially older players. As we age, our nerves can get a bit shaky. These techniques help steady the nerves allowing us to hole putts Maybe that is all that needs to be said as to the advantage of anchored putters.
As an aside, Els becomes only the sixth player to win a Major Championship in three different decades: the 90s, 00s and 10s. The others are Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino and Raymond Floyd in the 60s, 70s and 80s with Gary Player and Billy Casper in the 50s, 60s and 70s.
A very confident group.
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