11/15/2013

If you were to ask any rookie on their first day on the PGA Tour “Would you be happy making $13M in your career,” I am sure most of them would say yes. If you followed it up with the disclaimer that winning that much also meant playing in 365 tournaments without a win, I think their response might change. That is exactly what Briny Baird has endured; 365 PGA Tour events, 115 missed cuts and six 2nd place finishes (and $13M in career earnings). Briny is the quintessential journeyman who has won more money on the PGA Tour than any other player, without ever winning a tournament. This past weekend at the McGladrey Classic he let another one slip away, on the 72nd hole.

Tied with Chris Kirk going into the 18th hole, Baird pulled his tee shot and was left with a bunker shot that definitely gave him some concern. Prior to hitting the shot, his body language and facial expressions were indicating his discomfort with the situation. As a result, he hit a knuckle ball into the water, finished the hole with a bogey and lost to Chris Kirk by one stroke.

In his post round interview he was referencing the shot he put in the water by saying “I didn’t feel good with my swing, wasn’t comfortable and you mix that with nerves, it’s a recipe for disaster.” Then when he was asked “What were your positives and what can you learn from this moving forward” Briny’s response was “I put myself right there in a great position, and (chuckling to himself) I don’t know what else I learned, that’s it.”

After listening to his post round interview, it was clear that his communication about his game is lacking. What he should have learned was that he was not prepared to perform when it counted most. He was admittedly nervous and focused on everything but his target. Body language says so much about what a player is thinking, and it was easy to see that Briny was thinking about the wrong things such as potentially losing (again), what his opponent was doing, the awful situation he found himself in, etc.

I teach all of my students to have a Strategy when they practice and when they play competitively. A Strategy is a high level thought process that keeps you focused, calm and engaged whether you are playing your worst, or playing your best. If Briny’s Strategy on Sunday was “Hit My Target on EVERY Shot,” he would have been focused on what mattered most and hit the required shots he needed.

To learn how you think about your game, take a few minutes to complete the Tour Pro Mind questionnaire. This brief activity is very enlightening and includes a FREE 15 minute evaluation from The HEAD Coach. Here is a link to get started now – Tour Pro Mind questionnaire.

Greg Liberto

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