What We Can Learn From Lucas Glover US Open Champion

Congratulations Lucas Glover, US Open Champion. Most of us thought he would falter, but he proved us wrong. To fend off the chasing pack and pick up his first major win in golf’s most mentally demanding tournament, will no doubt be a catalyst for future success. It proves to himself and the world that he has the game and mental toughness to compete on golf’s biggest stage. His former coach, the late Dick Harmon, always told him he was good enough to be one of the best and this week he confirmed it.

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The State of Mind of a Champion

Glover’s demeanor and composure when the pressure was at its most intense is an example to us all. He said himself that the mental grind was the hardest part about this US Open. But developing the state of mind to be the US Open champion does not happen over night. Throughout his first few years on the PGA Tour he battled against the frustration of having huge potential but not always seeing the results.

To realize this potential, he needed to change his mental approach. In so doing, it paid off in a big way. In yesterday’s final round, Glover was able to find inner peace and calm when he needed it most. He said:

“I was too hard on myself and just had a bad attitude when it wasn’t going right…the patience issues and the bad attitude was expectations through the roof and not getting results.”

Whether you are a PGA Tour player or a club golfer, we can all work towards a better mental approach. We all know how good we are capable of playing, it’s lowering your expectations and being able to bounce back from (the inevitable) poor shots that will make us better. Never expect anything.

In golf, no matter how good you are, you never have complete control over what is going to happen and that is what we have to learn to enjoy in order to improve. The US Open is a great example of this (think about Duval bouncing back into contention after the triple bogey on the third). We will all hit shots that get us into trouble, but erasing them from our thoughts and getting back into the correct mind-set is the best thing we can do.

The only thing we have control over is being optimally prepared for the shot at hand. Whether you are on for your best score in the club medal or needing to make a par to win the US Open, you have to stay focused in the present and put everything into the shot you are about to play. Thinking about the past or future will only affect the execution of the shot you are about to play.

With a 2 shot lead with one to play, Glover could have easily let his mind race to the future, and start thinking about lifting the trophy. But he remained focused, stayed in the present and gave each of his last four shots his very best effort. The rest is for the history books.

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David MacKenzie

is a golf coach and golf publisher and lives in Washington DC. He is the founder of Golf State of Mind a teaching program designed to help golfers eliminate negative mental interference and play with confidence.

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