Memories of Great Players

Memories of Great Players

            Much can be learned about great golfers’ mindsets from the memories they keep and the memories they forget.  Strong similarity exists in this area among the greatest to ever play.  In fact, memories golfers hold onto greatly contribute to their abilities to recover from times of struggle.  Remember, every player in the game encounters periods of struggle at one time or another; this is just the nature of golf.  Golf is a cyclical game where every player experiences countless times of both struggle and success.  The memories players hold onto contribute to the depth, length, and recovery from the periods of struggle.   These memories are one reason why many great golfers recover from periods of the deepest struggle, and unfortunately why some have not.

Players who recover remember moments of success while forgetting moments of struggle.  I have witnessed this countless times throughout my years with the game.  I have seen evidence in everything from new conferences, interviews, books, and articles.  I now realize how powerful memory is in the mindsets of the game’s best.

Unfortunately in the game, golfers deal with entities which bring negative moments to the forefronts of their minds.  One of these entities is the media.  Unfortunately in the game of golf, big episodes of disappointment are as interesting to audiences as moments of success.  If you follow the world of golf, you definitely hear about and see many great losses, such as collapses in significant tournaments.  You often hear about players who never recover from periods of deep struggle, players such as Seve Ballesteros, Ian Baker Finch, David Duval, John Daly, and many more.  I have seen highlights, replays, and media coverage from many periods of struggle, often on television and in print.  They are stories many people find interesting, and therefore, something golf media outlets give great attention towards.

I now want you to think about players who encountered periods of struggle but recovered from them, even with the attention towards the struggles from media coverage.  These players include Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, and Greg Norman to name a few.  In fact, they include many of the game’s best.  I can’t tell you how many times I hear individuals swear some golfers will never recover from periods of the greatest struggle.  I hear this every year about golfers on the world’s biggest tours.  I find it sad.  This being said, I’m often interested in learning what differs from golfers who recover compared to ones who don’t.  I firmly believe the biggest reasons are their mindsets and memories.

The players who recover refuse to give attention or meaning to periods or occasions of struggle.  They literally throw these memories out of their minds, they truly do.  I often see these players quickly dodge questions about losses or struggles from media members.  They often blow off these questions in seconds, giving them no thought at all.  I have come to realize over the years, the greatest players are experts at forgetting the negative and remembering the positive.  These players remember periods of success with the most vivid details.  This is how the memory of a top golfer works.  This is the mindset of players who recover from periods of struggle; it is as powerful as it is real.

Let’s talk about the past struggles of Michele Wie.  When Michele was younger, around the age of 13, she was touted as the next golf phenom, the next Tiger Woods.  She was given similar worldwide media coverage to Tiger for a time span.  A few years later, Michele began to experience a period of great struggle, struggle for multiple years.  There were hundreds of individuals who swore she would never recover, that her career was over.  Guess what, it wasn’t.  Michele eventually recovered and won multiple tournaments on the LPGA Tour.  Who knows how great her career will be when it’s over, as she is still young.  A great reason she recovered was her ability to tune out the negative from her mind, even while so many constantly brought up negative moments.  An example was seen in an interview from Golf Digest during the year 2007.  I remember reading the interview, as it came out just when her game was beginning to rebound.  The interviewer kept trying to ask Michele questions about her previous years of struggle and about what changed.  He brought the subject up in numerous questions.  I found it fascinating how Michele refused to acknowledge those questions throughout the interview.  She blew off the questions with the most indirect replies and answers.  She quickly directed the questions back to her current moments of success.  After reading that interview, I felt success would continue in her future.

I have seen this countless times in interviews, new conferences, and articles involving both Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus.  Over the last few years, hundreds of media members and players have highlighted Tigers struggles, coverage heard all over the world.  I heard many individuals say Tiger Woods will never reach the level of play seen in his past.  I don’t believe this for one second.  Why, not because his return will stem from his athletic ability, but because it will stem from his mindset and mental strength.  I know from seeing his interviews and press conferences that his mindset has not changed, even with so much media coverage focusing upon his recent struggles.  If you watch closely, you will see Tiger dodging questions in the same manner Michele did, you will see him blowing off negative and reinforcing current achievements.  For this reason, I have no doubt Tiger will come back and finish off the most successful career in the history of the game.

Jack Nicklaus’s mindset and memories worked in the same manner.  So do the most successful champions in the game, throughout all levels of competition.  Keep your eyes and ears open for these traits, you will see them for yourself.  I want you to develop the same type of mindset and memory recognition pattern for yourself.  Quickly forget moments of struggle, give them zero attention and power.  At the same time, remember and reinforce success, give it full attention, think about it as much as possible.  Positive memories will help you develop high self belief in yourself and in your abilities.  Do not let anyone bring you down.  Pay zero attention to negative thoughts and opinions.  If you can do this, you will do for yourself what many champions have done for themselves.  It is a huge reasons they achieved the success they did.

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