Michael Thompson's positive attitude might be his greatest asset. (Ehrmann/Getty Images)
By Gregg Steinberg, Special to PGATOUR.COM
The Honda Classic had a major championship atmosphere.
The best in the world were playing. The conditions were extremely difficult and par was a great score. In fact, only five players broke par during the final round at PGA National.
For Michael Thompson, the eventual champion, this PGA TOUR event played to his strengths. While Thompson has many strengths such as his calm demeanor and his impeccable short game, these tough conditions fit his greatest strength: His positive attitude.
Thompson has stated that he wants to have the best attitude on the course. This is an essential strength to have when the tournament is playing very difficult. In fact, this strength suited very him well in the past in tough playing conditions as he tied for second in the 2012 U.S. Open.
The good news is that Thompson’s strength of having a great attitude can be your greatest strength as well.
But let’s be honest. While having a great attitude is an essential ingredient to your success on the course, it is as fickle as an 8 year-old boy at a candy store. Good shots create a sweet air of invincibility. A couple of bad shots can instantly sour your attitude, particularly under tough conditions like everyone experienced at this year’s Honda Classic.
One of the toughest mental game skills to acquire is to remain confident in your ability and keep a positive attitude when your game takes the train south to bogey land. However, no matter how poorly you are playing or how many bad breaks come your way, you can always choose to have a good attitude like Thompson.
Centuries ago, the renowned philosopher Rene Descartes wrote that we have the capacity to think whatever we choose. Your attitude is always a choice and your confidence is always within your control. If you make the correct choice, the chances are much greater that you will become a better player who shoots much better scores under pressure.
Dr. Gregg Steinberg is the author of the best selling golf psychology book, MentalRules for Golf. He is a regular guest every Tuesday on “Talk of the Tour” heard on the Sirius/XM PGA TOUR radio. Dr. Gregg is a tenured professor of sports psychology and has been the mental game coach for many PGA TOUR players. You can see more about him at www.drgreggsteinberg.com, and you can e-mail him at email@example.com.
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- Despite a bevy of major champions giving chase, Michael Thompson never wavered Sunday at The Honda Classic.
Thompson shot a final-round 69 on a breezy, blustery afternoon at PGA National to get his first career win. He finished just ahead of Geoff Ogilv, who put on a late charge but came up two strokes short.
"I wanted to just stick to a game plan just like I've been saying all week," Thompson said. "This week was magical, just find a groove, keep believing."
On a day when only four others broke par, it certainly was that for Thompson.
After an up-and-down front nine that included an eagle, two birdies and three bogeys, Thompson, who finished second in last year's U.S. Open, played it like one with six straight pars to open the back nine.
His only hiccup came on the par-4 16th, where he thre-putted for bogey. Thompson's lead shrunk to just one, but he parred the difficult par-3 17th and added one more birdie on the par-5 finishing hole to secure the win.
The victory earns Thompson 500 FedExCup points and moves him to 11th in the standings.
He also becomes the third player in his 20s to win on TOUR this year and the second first-time winer.
Luke Guthrie, who began the day tied with Thompson, finished solo third for his best finish on TOUR.
Five others -- David Lynn, Lucas Glover, Erik Compton, Keegan Bradley and Justin Rose -- tied for fourth at 3 under, six strokes back. For Compton, a two-time heart transplant recipient, it's his highest career finish on TOUR.
Michael Thompson finished off an impressive week on Sunday by winning The Honda Classic for his first career PGA TOUR victory.
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