By Dr. Gregg Steinberg, Special to PGATOUR.COM
When Ryan Moore stepped up to his four-foot putt on the 18th hole to win the playoff against Gary Woodland at the CIMB Classic, he backed off. He was visually disturbed. He looked at his putter, wiped the face and started his routine over. Then, Ryan got into his putting stance and sank that pressure-packed putt for his third win on the PGA TOUR.
Afterwards, Moore admitted to his nerves and stated that he felt uncomfortable when he first got over that putt to win. Importantly, Ryan proclaimed that any time he feels unsure, he will back off his putt and start his routine over again. Starting over allowed him to reset his mind and greatly contributed to his sinking that winning putt at the Kuala Lumpur Golf & CC.
Unfortunately, many amateur golfers do the opposite. When they feel a bit uncomfortable over a putt, they usually do not back off. They are thinking about their playing partners and what they may think of them, and, how silly they may look if they don’t putt this ball right now. In turn, they just go ahead and make the stroke, usually leading to a poor stroke and a poorer result.
To improve your mental game and make more putts under pressure, follow Ryan Moore’s lead.
Here are some mental game recommendations:
1) At times the nerves will get to you, especially if it is an important putt. When those nerves come, back off the putt. Take some deep breathes and roll your shoulders to shake out those butterflies.
2) Like Ryan Moore, hit the restart button. Don’t just jump into your stroke--restart your routine from the beginning.
3) Stop worrying about what your playing partners will think of you if you begin your putting routine over again. Once you start making more putts under pressure, they will only complain that you are taking their money!
When we observe and listen to what the best golfers in the world do under pressure, then we will understand what really works under pressure. Follow Ryan Moore’s putting strategies to boost your success on the course!
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. Dr. Gregg is the author of the best selling golf psychology book, MentalRules for Golf, and you can get coaching advice and your autographed copy at www.drgreggsteinberg.com