During the early 2000s Tiger Woods mental game was the strongest on Tour. That’s when his confidence, tempo and positive thinking blend perfectly together. Those are the tournaments when he sets the bar for his competitors, being the one to beat.
Attitude and your mental game are as important as your swing. Tiger Woods reeks confidence when he’s on top of his game.
When Tiger Woods is in a tournament, he has one of three mindsets.
- Cold – avoid losing
- Warm – playing to win
- Hot – knowing he’s going to win
Lately, Tiger Woods has been hot as he regained his #1 position among the world class players. Since Tiger Woods hasn’t won a master’s since 2008, he was probably playing to win at the U.S. Open in Merion. But finishing at 13 above par, you’ve got to wonder if he went cold later in the tournament.
Some pros on the tour may go cold when Tiger Woods is on the roster. That’s when they run the risk of subconsciously conceding their game before they even tee off. Entertaining negative “losing thoughts” chips away at your confidence, causing your game to suffer.
Tiger Woods Mental Game
Tiger Woods plays to win. You know he’s not holding anything back. He had plenty of good shots, but didn’t consistently connect them at Merion. This put him in the position of catching up with 20 bogeys, a triple bogey and a disappointing short game. Trying to catch up disrupts your focus. And that’s when too many good shots are given away.
When Tiger Woods is hot, knowing that he’s going to win, then he’s in a category all his own. There’s a presence that he commands, keeping him focused on one shot at a time. Even the difficult shots don’t throw him off. He has an uncanny way of picking the right target. He pulls from previous experience to confidently follow a hunch on difficult shots.
Here’s how you can connect the dots to improve your confidence and your mental game. First choose from one of the three approaches. The secret to being hot and knowing that you’re going to win is to set your own challenges for the game. You’ll have more control this way.
Before you hit the greens choose two challenges:
- An action challenge i.e. grip, follow through, putting.
- An attitude challenge i.e. maintaining your tempo under pressure or focusing on the shot before you.
Consistently choosing personal challenges takes you from cold, to warm, to hot. Positive thinking, looking for the opportunities, and releasing judgment improves your game. The more you practice, the better you’ll become. The trick is to begin slowly. As you develop this new skill your confidence will build. As your confidence grows, you’ll begin to see how much of an advantage Tiger Woods has due to the edge his mental game gives him.
Photo by Keith Allison