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Why Did I Do That? - Part 2

Photo Credit: The Sydney Morning Herald

Here's another one I hear and see from players after an untimely 3-putt: I have no idea where my head was!

Raise your hand if you've been there and done that (Should be everyone reading).

Now that that's out the way, let's take a look at a segment from this Rory McIlroy press conference and see what we can learn.

If you missed Part 1 of this series click HERE to check it out. You should watch the interview with Rory below in its entirety, but if you can't let's pick a couple pieces from the press conference. 

Mental State 3-Putt: The Waiting Game

"I can vividly remember starting to feel a little uncomfortable waiting for my second putt on 16."

As for my take on the first quote, I have to ask my players why does this happen? Why am I uncomfortable over a short putt?

When you are playing the waiting game, filling that space with something productive can be incredibly helpful. This is why I am a big advocate of establishing baselines and foundational decision making.

As part of establishing those baselines, we can pinpiont if a root cause of that discomfort is the decision making or the type of putt. If so, we need to refocus our areas of practice and preparation.

Do we have training protocols in place to identify if we have a bias on a particular green speed or direction of break? If we can answer that, we will be one step closer to solving the discomfort.

Mental State 3-Putt: The Environment

"Thinking back maybe I was a little too aware of where Bryson was and what he was doing... The way the course flowed, it just made me aware of what he was doing at the same time. It sort of got me out of my own little world a bit."

Regarding getting out of your own game based on the performance of others, this goes back to the foundation. From a very objective standpoint, there is a best read and speed with some margins based on the player to hole every putt. If the foundation and ability to access both the decision making and answer are available to the player, he/she can likely avoid discomfort because we made a decision that boils down to "this is the way."

I strongly believe that players can build that foundation to have a fallback in these high leverage situations.

If you know that you struggle with your mental state and handling environmental factors and situations like this, let me make a couple of referrals for you. Dr. Bhrett McCabe and Paul Dewland both come to mind for professional help in this area. I do not want to blur the lines and suggest that I am the best person to have an in depth discussion on this particular area, but know from a practical application and implementation of information stand point, this discussion will help you.

The Speed Decision 3-Putt

Ah, our 4th type of 3 putt in this series...

"The putt on the last was a really tricky putt and I was aware of where Bryson was off the tee, so, I knew I had to hit it really soft. If the one back didn't matter, I would have hit it firmer, but because I was sort of in two minds, I didn't know if Bryson was going to make a par or not. It was one of those ones where I just had to make sure if the putt didn't go in that it wasn't going ten feet by..."

I'll start. This comment is a complete mess. You thought the Mets could make a mess of things? Rory just said hold my beer. And before you jump all over me, I'm a long time Mets fan and have paid my dues to take a poke at them if the occasion calls for it.

Now back to putting. There are VERY FEW instances where I would green light a player to change their baseline strategy to a faster capture speed based on a circumstances. First, you need to meet a performance threshold. We have to have worked together enough on building stable baselines and demonstrating an ability to do manage capture speed and start line well to even have the conversation.

Coach's Note: World ranking points do not exempt you into this category. Someone with world ranking points is at the bottom of the strokes gained putting stat and it's for a reason. Just because you won your club championship doesn't mean you can stop reading.

Next, there are specific putts that I would avoid changing the capture speed at all costs. Unfortunately for Rory, the very putt he faced is that scenario: Fast greens/putts with severe slopes like 3% or greater.

As the slope and green speed increases, the demands to be more precise increase as well. With those smaller margins, I'd like to reduce variability and build all of my decision making around a consistent capture speed. In this moment, I feel like Rory did not have that foundation at the forefront of his decision making and ended up crossed up between patterns. His commentary coupled with the environmental factors certainly reflect that.

What do you believe in when you have a short, fast, breaking putt? Do you take the break out? Do you feather it in there? Does it depend if you're leading? Just think about it.

The Wrap Up

"Take those tough moments and turn them into great things."

This part. Be like Rory for this part.

We all need to find something to do with the worst moment's in our game. If you want to do something with your worst moments, download The Putting Plan! The first 2 sessions will dive into this capture speed concept and really help you understand how to create it and matcha read to that speed as well.

Check it out and join this great and budding community!


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