Johnson Wagner found his game and finished T2 at The Greenbrier Classic (Trotman/Getty Images)
By Dr. Gregg Steinberg, Special to PGATOUR.COM
We have all been there -- a slump. When you fall into one, it feels like your swing is out of sequence with too many moving parts, your grip feels completely wrong, and the hole is the size of a pea. Nothing seems to be working right. Even if you have played all your life, you can still feel like a beginner.
Since April, Johnson Wagner had found himself in a major slump. Wagner has missed six cuts in a row with a WD thrown in the mix. However, times change rapidly, and Wagner finished a very respectable T2 at The Greenbrier Classic.
I tell players to think of your golf game like a roller coaster ride. There will be times during a season in which you will be playing stellar and other times when you will be a real stinker. That is normal and part of the human sporting experience.
However, and most importantly, you must stay resilient and confident during bad times. If you do, your game will swing out of a slump naturally (in most cases). But if you begin to lose your confidence and want to change every little thing in your game, you can fall deeper into a slumping pattern that can last a lot longer.
As Charles Dickens once wrote, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times ...” Your golf game mimics life. Realize that the nature of events includes slumps. Stay confident and your game will find the best of times once again.
Dr. Gregg Steinberg is a regular guest every Tuesday on “Talk of the TOUR” heard on the Sirius/XM PGA TOUR radio. He is a tenured professor of sports psychology and has been the mental game coach for many PGA TOUR players as well as top collegiate and junior golfer. Dr. Gregg is the author of the best selling golf psychology book, MentalRules for Golf, and you can get your autographed copy at drgreggsteinberg.com.
Tom Watson, 63, carded a final-round 67 and tied for 38th at The Greenbrier Classic.
By Fred Albers, PGATOUR.COM Correspondent
Jonas Blixt’s game is built around his putting stroke.
Blixt can be inconsistent in his ball-striking; ranking 147th in driving accuracy and 173rd in greens in regulation this year. When you combine those numbers with an average drive of 286.3 yards, you can understand why Blixt must putt well. He usually does just that.
Blixt ranked second in strokes gained-putting last year, trailing only Brandt Snedeker. This year, Blixt ranks 67th on TOUR in putting. Those metrics all changed this week. He led the tournament in putts per green and was second strokes gained-putting.
Blixt is a left-hand low putter, which he says not only levels his shoulders; it also levels his sightline allowing for a better read. Blixt’s game rises and falls with his putter. It rose to the top this week.
Small steps: I saw Johnson Wagner hit his drive on the 18th hole at AT&T National during last week’s Pro-Am and he launched it so far right they still haven’t found the ball. When I asked about the state of his game, Johnson optimistically told me “I’m really close.” Turns out, he was right. Wagner hadn’t made a cut since April. He was so frustrated following a missed cut at the Travelers Championship he scheduled an emergency lesson before the AT&T National, and then missed another cut. Wagner says it took a couple weeks for the swing changes to take effect. He did not quite close the way he wanted but Johnson’s game has come a long way in the last two weeks.
XXL: Jimmy Walker can take it deep when he wants to. It’s as if the Texan can coax another 20 yards out of his driver on command. He is 15th on TOUR this year in driving distance at 299.5 yards. This week, Walker averaged 307 to rank T10 in the tournament. At the 427-yard third hole, he cranked a 297-yard drive followed by a 139-yard sand wedge that went over the green. He also cranked a 347-yard drive in the final round. That distance may have seduced Walker. He attempted a couple 190-yard 8-irons that came up short of the target.
Conditions: The final round was one of constant adjustment for players. Usually, the green speed on Sunday is the quickest of the week but rain totally changed the putting surfaces. Those slower greens also allowed for quicker play. Golfers are inevitably faced with 4-foot par putts on fast greens which take time to read and stroke, but when the putting surfaces are slower the run-out past the cup is always significantly shorter. The rain delayed the final round but it also slowed the greens, which increased the pace of play.
Veterans: Let’s salute the veterans this week. Tom Watson had a final-round 67 and took just 22 putts. Kenny Perry left the Champions Tour for a week and finished a very respectable 3 under with an eagle on the 12th and Davis Love III finished T8 and led the tournament in greens in regulation, hitting including 17 of 18 in the opening round.
Fred Albers is a course reporter for SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio. For more information on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio, click here
Jonas Blixt captured his second career PGA TOUR victory on Sunday at The Greenbrier Classic.
By PGATOUR.COM staff
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. -- Jonas Blixt wasn't having the best of seasons. He entered The Greenbrier Classic with just eight cuts made in 16 events.
How fortunes can change.
Blixt, 29, carded a final-round, 3-under 67 to make up a four-shot deficit over the final 18 holes to win The Greenbrier Classic by two strokes on Sunday, just minutes before the sun set behind the West Virginia mountains.
Blixt, who won for the first time on the PGA TOUR at last year's Frys.com Open, holed a key birdie on the 16th and two-putted from 45 feet on the par-3 18th for his second career victory. Blixt finished at 13 under and picked up 500 FedExCup points and earned an invitation to the Masters with his victory.
"Just so many dreams come true," he told CBS afterward. "Just one week and the whole year kind of turns around."
Afternoon thunderstroms delayed play for more than 3 hours Sunday afternoon. While the leaders didn't tee off until after 5 p.m. ET, the tournament was completed.
Jimmy Walker (71), Johnson Wagner (73), Matt Jones (68) and Steven Bowditch (68) tied for second place at 11 under.
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. -- Jonas Blixt just drained a 6-footer for birdie at the 16th hole to take sole possession of the lead at The Greenbrier Classic at 13 under.
Minutes later, Johnson Wagner bogeyed the 15th hole, his third on the back nine, and suddenly Blixt's lead is two strokes. Joining Wagner at 11 under are his playing partner Jimmy Walker and Steven Bowditch, who has played 17 holes.
Wagner's tee shot on the par 3 landed in the rough beside the greenside bunker, he chipped long to 33 feet and missed the putt for par.
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. -- Jonas Blixt and Johnson Wagner remain tied for the lead midway through the back nine at The Old White TPC.
Blixt has only made one par in five holes on the back nine. He birdied Nos. 10 and 12 but bogeyed Nos. 11 and 13. Wagner, who made the turn in even par, has made two bogeys in his first four holes on the back.
So he and Blixt are deadlocked at 12 under, one stroke head of Steven Bowditch, who has completed 16 holes, and Jimmy Walker, who is playing with Wagner.
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. -- He didn't find the fairway with either of his first two shots on the par-5 12th.
But Jonas Blixt hit a stellar wedge to 5 feet for the birdie that pulled him into a tie for the lead with Johnson Wagner at 13 under.
Wagner, meanwhile, was having his issues at the 11th hole -- missing the fairway well right, coming up short of the green and failing to convert a 10-footer to save par.