Helen Pidd reporting from the North of England and speaking to Jonathan Pyle, the Birley Wood’s head professional who used to play against Danny Willett.
Nature or nurture?
Helen’s headline reads, “Danny Willett 'wasn't especially good', say shocked former clubmates,” and I as someone who started playing golf at an early age and watched in wonder as my “wasn’t so good” peers progressed. I have to ask myself what was the difference that made the difference? And have to say that if there is one simple answer based on my observations is that a wee bit of cockiness comes in very handy and that my more successful peers did appear to be born with this mental attribute.
How champions think
Over at The Wall Street Journal, James Zug is reviewing Bob Rotella’s recent book How Champions Think and writes.
“Writing months before Jordan Spieth’s runaway victory at the 2015 Masters, Mr. Rotella points out Mr. Spieth’s unusual mental strength.
“If you stood behind him and a dozen other young stars on the practice range and you didn’t know who he was, you’d probably not select him as the best of the bunch,” Mr. Rotella writes. But Mr. Spieth has an “excellent mental game”: He talks about being “indifferent to what his competitors were doing. . . . He didn’t fall into the trap of thinking much about where he stood in the tournament and trying to force things.”
Given Jordan’s 2016 Masters’ experience some may suggest Rotella got it wrong but not so. Spieth displayed unusual mental strength by competing to the very end in spite of his catastrophic 12th hole and the fact that he was far from his best ball-striking form.
In conclusion and on cockiness
Helen Ridd quotes Jonathan Pyle, “I remember playing against him (Danny Willett) at the British Open qualifiers and hearing him yapping and yapping, bouncing around on the putting green, going on about how he was going to win and thinking: ‘you really think so?’ Then of course he did win.”
And I really think this level of cockiness comes hard wired within you when you’re born.
Link to Helen Pidd and James Zug
Quote of the Day
“What impressed me so much is that when he (Danny Willett) realised he was in a position to win he finished it, and that’s the mark of a champion.” - Jack Nicklaus