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May 30 2013

2:16 PM

On the Mark: Manage adversity

Boo Weekley worked through injuries to get back into top form. (Halleran/Getty Images)

By Mark Immelman, Special to PGATOUR.COM

Fort Worth, Texas, is the home of one of golf's favorite sons, Ben Hogan. It has also been one of the PGA TOUR’s favorite stops. The host venue, Colonial Country Club, is certainly a popular course, and it serves as a shrine to the aforementioned Hall of Famer.

If one had to design a course to fit the indomitable Hogan, then Colonial would be the blueprint. The par-70 layout presents a selection of tight holes that dogleg in both directions. It demands savvy strategy and precise placement of tee shots to offer the best angles to the small greens. Indeed, I can quite imagine Hogan standing on any of the tees and shaping a low, penetrating drive into the perfect spot on the narrow fairways and then clipping a crisp iron shot toward the green.

The Champions Honor Roll at Colonial very much reflects players of the Hogan ilk – players who are good ball-strikers and who are accurate from tee to green. And a number of accurate ball-strikers vied for the 2013 title and plaid coat. In the end, it was Boo Weekley, who put together a near flawless final round of 66, who bested the ever-consistent 54-hole leader, Matt Kuchar.

In terms of lessons to learn from the champion and the runner-up, I could certainly recommend emulating their styles of play.  Never, ever will you see either player make violent swings. Both always make swings that are balanced, unhurried, disciplined and poised, but there is an intangible lesson we can learn from watching Weekley return to the winner’s enclosure for the first time in five years.

Weekley's previous victory was at the 2008 Verizon Heritage, and his consistent play earned him a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team that competed at Valhalla. Weekley’s manner, game and personality made him one of the favorites of the U.S. squad, and for all intents and purposes, it appeared likely that he would become a dominant force on the PGA TOUR. He seemed to have it all at his fingertips. Then a shoulder injury resulted in a severe drop in his play. Three subsequent surgeries led to him tumbling out of the spotlight as he endured a few very lean years.

Entering 2013, a reinvigorated Weekley started to show promise. He remained patient as he gradually climbed the leaderboards every week, and his breakout performance came at the Tampa Bay Championship presented by EverBank.  Weekley shot a final-round 63 around the very tough Innisbrook Copperhead course to finish second. He then had another very solid outing at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans and he referenced the fact that he was beginning to feel good about his game.

Weekley just kept playing one shot at a time, one round at a time and one tournament at a time, comforted by the fact that he was doing the right things. Finally his investments bore fruit with his emphatic victory at Hogan’s Alley.

The lesson we can learn from the likeable Weekley is about your mindset and attitude. It's the saying, "This too shall pass." I can only imagine how Weekley must have felt when he was injured, in pain and fighting his game. I am sure that competition on the PGA TOUR must have lost its luster and turned into a weekly grind and every swing he made must have been laced with doubt and disappointment.

If you are going through such an ebb in your game, do take heart and remind yourself of, what to me are, the most important four words in life and in golf.  Words I learned from the great writer, Og Mandino: "This too shall pass."

Say that simple phrase to yourself and then know that if you are doing the right things and are remaining positive that your momentum is likely to change at any time.

Too often, too many slumping golfers get mired and they begin to lose faith in themselves and their game. As soon as that happens, the slump has every chance of perpetuating itself and going on for longer than necessary.

Momentum is switched and slumps are ended with a conscious righting of your outlook and your attitude as those have a direct effect on the performance of your body. So always remind yourself that whatever the situation, “This too shall pass,” and then make an effort to look on the bright side and maintain a positive and upbeat attitude. I promise you will notice a change in your fortune.

Good luck.
/mi

Mark Immelman, the brother of PGA TOUR professional Trevor Immelman, is a well-respected golf instructor and head coach of the Columbus State University (Ga.) golf team. For more information about Mark and his instruction, visit his web site, markimmelman.com or follow him on Twitter @mark_immelman or “Like” Mark Immelman Golf Instruction on Facebook. He also has a golf instruction e-book called “Consistently Straight Shots – The Simple Solution” available on iTunes/iBooks.

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