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The Tour Report

August 11 2012

10:21 PM

On the Mark: Stay mentally tough

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Tiger Woods stayed mentally strong during his second round in the strong wind at Kiawah.
ON THE MARK ARCHIVE: Tips from Mark Immelman By Mark Immelman, Special to PGATOUR.COM It was a tale of two days over the first two rounds at The PGA Championship. The seaside venue brought benign conditions on Day 1 and 44 players took advantage and shot under par. Day 2 was a very, very different proposition. The conditions changed from sublime to ridiculous; the winds off the ocean kicked up and gusted up to 30 miles an hour at times. The average score ballooned to 78.1 and only five players shot under par. In short, arguably the strongest field assembled in the 2012 major championship season was not only challenged physically by the tough golf course, but they were tested emotionally and mentally by the severe conditions.
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To that point I have two lessons we can learn from the play at The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island -- one of those physical and the other mental. To hit good shots in the wind two things are necessary: Ball and club contact must be flush and ball-spin must be reduced. There are a few adjustments you can make to ensure the aforementioned: -- Widen your stance a little and position the ball around the middle of the stance; -- Select an extra club (or more if necessary) and grip down the handle; -- Make a shorter backswing and deliver a sweeping strike into a shorter but balanced follow-through. -- Remember and apply the following key -- "Swing easy when it's breezy." On the mental front, Tiger Woods gave the spectators and the TV viewership a wonderful lesson in discipline and mental control in the high winds on Friday. Woods did not attempt any shot that he did not have the most confidence in during the second round. The entire day he hit either his "stinger" low-ball or his hard fade shot. As far as I was aware, he did not once attempt to hold a draw against the wind; instead he remained disciplined and controlled as he stayed true to his cut-shot. So remember, "swing easy when it's breezy" and, like Tiger, "go with what you know" when the conditions are trying. 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.