Saying that Zach Johnson’s victory at St. Andrews was historic could be the understatement of the year. As part of an epic playoff finale that capped off the longest British Open tournament in history, Johnson showed that a strong mental outlook is just as important as a great physical game at the highest levels of competition. With this in mind, let’s spend a few minutes talking about some of the lessons learned from this event, as well as how you can put these tips and tricks to good use the next time you slip on your golf socks and shoes.
Endurance Is Essential
As Derek Lawrenson of the Daily Mail points out, one of the crucial factors in Johnson’s triumphant rise to the top revolved around making the most of a grueling tournament. Amid weather delays and a three-way playoff that determined the victor, this year’s British Open was a grinding, plodding affair. Thanks to a strong training regimen that ensured his body could withstand this extended time of play – and a mindset that kept him zeroed in on one hole at a time – Johnson continued to knock off strokes and end up at the top of the leaderboard. Finding a strong blend of both of these attributes can help you find yourself in a similar position should you ever face down a particularly tough tournament.
The Weather Won’t Always Cooperate
Speaking of tough, there’s few words that can do a better job describing the weather at this year’s British Open. From heavy rains to pounding gusts of wind, play conditions were far from ideal for Johnson and the other golfers at St. Andrews. However, any seasoned veteran knows that that the weather is simply another factor to consider as he or she navigates the event. Whether you’re forced into dealing with a weather delay or playing through slightly less obtrusive conditions, preparing yourself – and your equipment – for these occurrences can go a long way toward making the most out of uncooperative weather.
Tough Conditions Require an Excellent Short Game
As far as Johnson’s short game goes, this portion of his game may have been the most vital piece of the puzzle. While others struggled with the grinding and inclement conditions laid out before them, the PGA’s Doug Ferguson explains that Johnson took this opportunity to let his short game shine. Specifically, Johnson sunk a 30-foot birdie putt on the final hole of regulation to secure his spot in the playoff.
The moral of the story, according to Ferguson, is clear: Even in this era of the long ball and big drivers, being competent with a putter or a wedge can still help a player capture some of the biggest tournaments around. Naturally, you might never find yourself playing for the title at St. Andrews like Zach Johnson, but at least understanding this concept – and the rest of what you’ve learned here today – can help keep you on course and heading for success the next time you slip on your golf socks and shoes.
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